It’d be difficult to dispute that any angler in the history of pro fishing has cashed more paychecks from catching spawning bass than Shaw Grigsby. He’s won nine B.A.S.S. events and nearly all of those victories were related to sight fishing for fat spawners.
So perhaps it’s the confidence derived from 30 years of sight fishing success that found him unrattled to begin the Elite Series event on Toledo Bend—despite weather that shifted from light winds and warm sunshine during practice—to a break-out-the-jackets cold front with temps in the 40s at the start of competition.
If a 25-degree dip in temperature wasn’t enough to rattle the nerves of less experienced anglers, how about the raging northwest winds that had been blowing during the night to muddy-up the shallow waters Shaw may have planned on fishing?
Still, no worries. Grigsby’s got a plan. And we can all learn something from it.
First, mark a lot of spots
“I have nearly 200 waypoints saved from spawning bed locations I found in practice,” Grigsby said. “The wind doesn’t bother me because there’s always somewhere to get out of the wind, and I worked hard enough in practice to find a ton of beds, so I’ve got plenty to choose from that are not in the wind.”
“Now, 200 beds might sound like a crazy number. But you have to realize, just because I found that many, doesn’t mean they translate to catchable fish in the tournament.
“So even if you’re fishing a single day local tournament, I can’t stress how important it is to try and get out to scout a day or two before your tournament to identify as many beds as you possibly can.”
Let things heat up
“It’s critical to not get in a hurry on mornings like this when cold fronts roll through during the spawn, because let’s face it, 43 degrees is not real conducive to making shallow spawners active at sunrise.
“I’m going to go check one bed I found right away because it’s got an 8-pounder on it. But after that, I’ll focus on the deeper-water pattern I found nearby while it’s cold this morning, until the sun gets higher and things start to heat up in the shallows.”
Hard rains are far worse than winds
“I’ll take strong winds any day over hard rains, because again, if I’ve done my homework, I’ll likely have beds located that weren’t affected by wind,” Grigsby said. “But if it rains hard, that’s a big-time problem, because it doesn’t discriminate. Hard rains tend to trash out everything, and if that’s the case, you’re better of fishing a little faster rather than struggling to see spawners.”
Luckily, rain won’t be an issue at Toledo Bend. Forecasts call for sunny skies and temps near 80 degrees with lighter winds, which is just about perfect for knowledgeable bed fishing anglers like Grigsby to heat up the leaderboard.