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Bass Fishing Day 1: Grigsby and Klein 'dial in' to lead

By Craig Lamb
Great Outdoor Games staff

ROSEVILLE, Calif. — If there was a dynamic duo in bass fishing the dream team would arguably be made up of Shaw Grigsby and Gary Klein. For more than two decades, the veterans have been acquaintances on the pro tour and frequent partners on the tournament trail.

Not surprisingly, when the two heavyweights share a boat the sparks fly.

Shaw Grigsby & Gary Klein
Shaw Grigsby and Gary Klein are in position for Great Outdoor Games gold.
Friday was no exception when they joined forces on Folsom Lake to catch more than double the weight of the nearest team in the Bass Fishing event of the ESPN Great Outdoor Games.

Klein and Grigsby's limit of seven bass weighed 17 pounds, 9 ounces, compared to the second place weight of 8 pounds, 9 ounces caught by the team of Peter Thliveros and Ron Shuffield. The team's bag of two bass included the 4 pound, 8 ounce big fish of the day.

The anglers in this team event are the cream of the bass-fishing crop. Grigsby struck bass-fishing gold last year at Lake Placid and Klein has won the silver medal twice. Thliveros is a two-time gold medalist and Shuffield has equally as much medal weight from the pro bass fishing tour.

Clark Wendlandt and Davy Hite have third place with a score of 7-9, Rick Clunn and Denny Brauer are fourth with 5-1, and Zell Rowland and amateur partner Jerry Shawver II are fifth with 3-4.

As their peers looked on with envy, Grigsby and Klein recounted a day where everything went as planned.

"Last night before the tournament began we laid out our strategy, cast by cast and fish by fish," Klein said. "And today went exactly like we wrote the game plan."

"We had great execution this morning with six key hits, missing two and catching four of those fish," added Grigsby. "The key is that we just fish so well together. Everything went flawlessly."

To say the day was flawless is an understatement of gross proportions. The dream team's limit consisted of all three bass species found in Folsom (spotted bass, largemouth and smallmouth); their fish came from both shallow and deep water; and they had an early and late morning strategy.

"I love fishing out here-it's California fishing," summed up Klein.

He should. Klein grew up in the neighborhood fishing deep, clear lakes like Folsom. He carried that experience with him and some two decades after joining the pro tour still remains a threat in deep water.

As for the strategy itself, Klein said he "dialed in" the fish by keying on baitfish instead of structure.

"These fish are always on the move during summertime so it doesn't make sense to commit to habitat."

Grigsby, a shallow water guru, and Klein, a deepwater expert, combined their respective talents to orchestrate the perfect game plan. Beginning with the 5:30 a.m. start of competition they went topwater fishing, locating schools of baitfish suspended over sloping points with the aid of their Triton Boat's electronics.

When the baitfish were tracked the anglers backed off the point, making long casts and working the lure back to the boat.

As the sun peaked over the surrounding hillside they stashed the topwaters and fished identical areas with a drop shot, a western-born rig that consists of a tiny plastic worm fished on an equally diminutive-size hook.

The rig gets its name from a sinker that is attached to a short piece of monofilament tied to the main line. When ready for action, the sinker hangs forward and below the hook to keep it suspended off the bottom.

Grigsby no doubt wants to strike gold a second time but for different reasons.

"I'm not thinking about the repeat," he said. "Gary's won the silver twice and I'd really like to see him win it. And anything I can do to help make that happen I'll do it."

Saturday that should be no problem if there is a repeat of Friday's action.

Action continues on Saturday when the anglers return to California's Folsom Lake for the final round. The weigh-in will take place at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno at 3 p.m. (PT).

Day One Results — Bass Fishing

1. Shaw Grigsby, Gary Klein, 7 bass, 17-9 pounds
2. Peter Thliveros, Ron Shuffield, 2 bass, 8-2
3. Davy Hite, Clark Wendlandt, 4 bass, 7-9
4. Rick Clunn, Denny Brauer 2 bass, 5-1
5. Zell Rowland, Jerry Shawver, 2 bass, 3-4