Congrats to Jeff Derrick for winning this week’s Bass Fishing Trivia Contest! To find out the answer, read on!
Since he first started fishing B.A.S.S. events in the late 70s, Shaw Grigsby has amassed nine victories. The most recent came in 2011 on the Harris Chain, one of five first place trophies he’s earned in his home state of Florida. Three others came at big Sam Rayburn in Texas. The only one not in Florida or Texas was the 1997 Top 100 on Lake Sinclair.
The first of those nine victories was at Rayburn, in the March 1988 Texas Invitational where he outlasted 298 other competitors in a tough event. He beat runner-up Zell Rowland by nearly six pounds on his way to $33,000 in cash and merchandise.
Do you remember what it was about that tournament that made it historically significant and how Grigsby reacted to the circumstances presented to him?
Here’s the answer.
The affable Floridian, then in his early thirties, caught a limit that weighed well over 20 pounds the first day of competition to take the lead. In fact, with that weight alone he would have finished in the top ten overall at the end of competition. While he was happy to be in first place, he was also a mite disappointed. As he wrote in his book Bass Master Shaw Grigsby: Notes on Fishing and Life: “During my pre-fishing days, I found the mother lode of bass. I was catching 8- and 9-pounders, and even saw a 13-pounder. I was stunned. I thought I could break the weight record for seven fish and do it with only five fish. I thought that when the tournament started, I would catch a 40-pound stringer.”
Day Two proved tougher. His catch weighed only less than half of what he’d tallied on Day One, but others couldn’t make up the ground and he went to bed with a lead of well over five pounds.
When he woke up, he knew things had changed: “I awakened and didn’t have to look out the window to know the weather was lousy,” he wrote. “It was bitterly cold, and the wind was blowing from the North at more than 25 miles an hour. Five-foot waves were rolling through the protected waters of the marina. A bass boat couldn’t have survived out on the open waters of the lake.”
“Until then it was a given that a tournament continued no matter how bad the weather,” he continued. “And it was a given that a B.A.S.S. tournament lasted three days. For the first time in history, B.A.S.S. called a tournament because of weather. After only two days, this tournament was over.”
It wasn’t Grigsby’s first major win – he’d won the Red Man All-American a few years earlier – but he wrote that he “didn’t feel too good about it. I didn’t want to face the other contestants, not after winning this way. I wanted to win the way fishermen had always won. I wanted to prove I could catch fish under those extreme conditions. I wanted to prove I would have caught enough fish to win the tournament. I wanted to prove I would have caught enough fish to win if the tournament had gone the third day.”
So what did he do?
He launched his boat onto Rayburn’s nasty water. Max Branyon of the Orlando Sentinel wrote, “So, while other contestants were huddling indoors awaiting the awards ceremony, Grigsby bounced his bass boat up and down the 5-foot waves on Sam Rayburn Reservoir.” At this point there’s a slight disconnect about what happened. Branyon reported that Shaw caught two bass in the first five minutes. Grigsby wrote that he caught a 2 ½ pound on the second bush he fished and then left. Either way, he was convinced that he could have caught a limit and headed in.
“[T]he win is a little hollow,” he told Branyon.
“Since then, there have a been a few times when I was leading on the second day and saw a cloud on the horizon, and I asked the tournament director to call the tournament early,” Grigsby wrote.