Veteran Florida pro Shaw Grigsby lands Bass Fishing gold
By Craig Lamb
Great Outdoor Games staff
The likely answer is a combination of both things. Launching his boat to scout the lake earlier in the week, curiosity got the best of one of bass fishing's top pros and led him to a tiny landmark on his lake map called Shaw Island.
"I'd never been here before and it looked like just as good place to start as anywhere else," he said. Just after he passed the island, the electronic depthfinder on Grigsby's boat lit up with a prime fishing location. In the textbook bass fishing, the spot ranks as a sure winner.
By 8:30 a.m. Grigsby's gold-medal winning catch of five bass weighing 12 pounds, 4 ounces was swimming safely inside the livewell of his Triton bass boat.
The rest of the day was spent doing a mental reality check of what would take place later in the afternoon at The Oval, a venue in downtown Lake Placid within full view of the Olympic Ice Arena where the U.S. men's hockey team pulled off the historical "miracle on ice" at the 1980 Olympic Games.
"This is just stunning," said Grigsby. "This whole week has been just amazing."
Other medallists included Texas bass pro Gary Klein, who won his second consecutive silver after weighing 9 pounds, 13 ounces. Fellow Texas pro Clark Wendlandt took the bronze medal with a closing score of 8 pounds, 12 ounces.
Defending gold medalist Peter Thliveros also caught 8-12 but was edged from a medal because his biggest fish weighed 2-6. Wendlandt had the bigger of the two, a bass weighing 2-8 that paid off with the bronze.
Grigsby's area is an offshore rocky peak on the Adirondack fishery rising from 16 feet on all sides up to a depth of eight feet at its shallowest point. The sharp depth break was the eye-catcher for Grigsby. But the sweet spot is the underwater ridgeline quickly tapering from eight feet to 18 feet. Covering this crest is a bed of aquatic grass where Grigsby went to work.
"I caught a three-pounder at the edge of the grass line just after I arrived and then kicked a marker buoy into the lake to mark the spot," he said. "That was a very good sign, I thought."
Grigsby filled his limit with a Strike King Denny Brauer Flipping Tube (watermelon and other colors) he threaded onto a 1/8-ounce weight Bite Me jig head featuring an offset hook. Grigsby fished the unique jig rig on 12-pound test green Stren monofilament fishing line spooled to a Quantum spinning reel on a 6 ½-foot rod.
"The exposed hook made a big difference today in this wind," he noted. "The offset hook definitely increased the odds of hook-sets since it allowed me to feel the bites in the waves."
To alter the presentation Grigsby fished the same Strike King plastic tube on a 3/0 size Eagle Claw HP Hook weighted with a 1/8-ounce Megaweight sinker. The rig was also fished on the Quantum spinning gear.
Grigsby's lure presentation involved casting the jig across the narrow finger of the ridgeline. As the lure dropped through the water column, he jigged and skipped it down the sloping sides of the eight- to 18-foot bottom contour. Most of the day, the fake bait was irresistible to the bass hovering around the underwater sanctuary.
Leaving the spot to return to the boat ramp for the return trip to the medal platform, all Grigsby could do was smile as he passed Shaw Island. In his mind, the island should be renamed. After all, Shaw Island to him is now a few yards away.