By Alan McGuckin
Shaw Grigsby entered the final regular season Bassmaster Elite Series event at Oneida Lake seeming safely qualified for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic in Tulsa next February.
But after a mediocre Day One, the ‘happiest pro on tour’ fell four places in the Angler of the Year points yesterday, and suddenly Day Two at Oneida is full of increased pressure like an elastic waist line soon after four slices of NY style thin crust.
Still, there was Grigsby, getting the number for Santangelo’s Italian restaurant from a PR guy so that he can take his wife Polly on an anniversary date after weigh-in tonight, and providing lures to his competitor Gerald Swindle, who had run out of a certain color.
Pressure won’t drown-out the personable Florida pro’s penchant for kindness. “Swindle sent me a text last night and asked if I had a certain color of lure,” explained Shaw. “I told him I did, and he texted back that he’d be sure to hunt me down at launch this morning. There’s a lot – I mean a lot – of really good guys out here. Gerald is one of ‘em, and he’d do the same for me if I ever needed him to return the favor,” said Grigsby.
Moments later, as if he’d heard Grigsby speak of good guys and mutual generosity, Kevin VanDam pulled up and tossed a few jerkbaits amongst a stack of Quantum rods and reels stacked on the Florida pro’s front deck. “See what I mean?” asked Grigsby. “That was totally unsolicited. Kevin had a few of the new Strike King lures, and obviously he wanted to make sure I had them too.”
Speaking of generous hearts, Grigsby then pulled out his cell phone and showed photos of the newborn wild pigs his 25-year-old son Shaw recently rescued. The photos dripped with ironic humor given the fact the elder Grigsby is an avid hunter with a history of doing his part to scale back America’s epidemic wild pig overpopulation.
“It’s the age old question of when and if you should interrupt Mother Nature. I’d rather my son rescue a whitetail fawn, but nope, instead, I got baby wild pigs living at my house,” grinned Grigsby from beneath his signature mustache.
“They’re bottle feeding them. And they named one of them BBQ,” said Shaw. “The problem with pigs is that they’re so dang smart. So what’ll happen is my son will get attached to them … and then what?”
He can worry about whether pigs stay or go once he gets home to Florida. For now, it’s time to focus his thoughts on keeping his place firmly on the list of 2013 Bassmaster Classic qualifiers.