UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Q&A with the Circuit Breaker cast

Season 2 of FLW's hit online series "Circuit Breaker" follows veteran pros and good buddies Chad Grigsby and JT Kenney as they travel the country on the Walmart FLW Tour. In case you haven't yet seen the first two episodes, which are available at FLWOutdoors.com and FLW's YouTube channel, Grigsby and Kenney spend about as much time picking on each other as they do the fish.

To find out what it's like to have cameras following their every move, we sat down for a Q&A with reality bass fishing's new poster boys. Here's what they had to say.

How'd you get hooked up with the "Circuit Breaker" gig?
Chad:
FLW sent me an email or something to see if I would be interested, and I think that is how we got here.

JT: FLW called and asked me to do it.


OK, good answers. What's been the reaction from sponsors and other people in the industry?
JT:
It seems to me like everybody likes it. I can't say like a percentage of positive to negative comments, but to me all press is good press. It's ok with me, especially if they're posting [online] about it. That's free advertising. I think that's great. All my sponsors think it's great. They really like it.

Chad: All good. I sent the episodes to all my sponsors, and they loved it. A couple responses were single words, like "awesome." The very first episode, I watched with one of the guys from Halo Rods, and he wanted more. He was like, "I can't believe it's that short." He wanted to watch more.


In the first episode, Chad got his truck stuck in someone's yard. How bad was the damage?
JT:
Did you see the video? He tore the lawn up pretty bad. They wouldn't let him help pay for it or anything. They got it fixed, and it's all good now. I haven't been there since, though. People were fired up about it, but I think part of that was because they don't understand the relationship we have with the homeowners.

Chad: It wasn't good. It was all tore up, and I felt awful about it. What you didn't see on the show was that I offered multiple times to get it fixed, and they wouldn't hear of it. We have stayed with them for years, and they are just really great people.


Chad, is that kind of situation a regular occurrence for you?
Chad:
I wouldn't say that it's regular, but it wasn't the first time my truck has been stuck. I got it stuck in mud at a rest area one time at 1 in the morning, and I had the camper and the boat. I wasn't able to turn around because there wasn't enough room, so I got stuck. I had to get a tow truck to pull me out.

The tow truck driver showed up around1:30, and he pulled the truck out then the camper and then the trailer. As luck would have it, one mile down the road I found a service area that had a ton of parking that was all concrete, so I was able to pull in and finally go to sleep.


You also went gigging for tilapia with fellow pro George Kapiton in the first episode. Who speared the most, and how was the fish fry?
JT:
George definitely got the most. Chad second. Me last. The fish fry was awesome. Tilapia is probably one of the best freshwater eating fish. It is only second to cold-water crappie and cold-water walleye, as far as freshwater fish go. And I'm not very good at a lot of things in my life, but eating fish is one of them, and I feel like I can talk about stuff like that. Tilapia would be the No. 3 best-eating freshwater fish.

Chad: George got one on his first throw, but it got off. On my first throw I got one. JT was awful. He couldn't hit the broad side of a barn. I don't think he'd ever been spearing before. I guess George and I tied, but between JT and I, I won. I got one, and he got zero. I think that was the last day - Sunday, before we left. We didn't actually eat the tilapia until the next tournament at Hartwell, and they were delicious.


So, you guys ham it up pretty much nonstop on the show. That's how you really act?
JT:
We aren't doing anything different than we would at any other tournament. Chad and I will sometimes call each other about something, and we will go into some rhetoric when the other one answers the phone, to the point that 10 minutes will go by and we forget what the initial call was about. We have to call back later when we remember.

There was some chatter that we did things different after the first episode, but anybody who knows us knows that's how we are. I've just been like that my whole life. I don't know if I'm using levity to battle inner demons I have or something, but that's how I've always been. Don't take life too seriously, or you'll never get out alive.


What's the hardest part about having the film crew follow you around?
Chad:
The hardest part is hooking up with them. They always want to do some shots in the morning before blastoff and stuff like that. At Hartwell, we were staying on the opposite side of the lake. They were on the west side of the lake. We were on the east side. And we had to put in at designated launch sites and then go across by boat, and you know how bad the weather was. I got there early and still sat there for an hour waiting to launch. So I had 10 minutes to go pick up my co-angler, and they still wanted to do some stuff. Once you get miked up and everything's set and they're following you around and you can do whatever you want, then it's pretty easy.


Does being on camera add any pressure to the tournaments?
JT:
Not at all because the end result is going to be the same anyway. Whether somebody follows me around on the water during the day or just looks at the results at the end of that day, they're going to see if I finished seventh or 67th. It doesn't make any difference.

Chad: No. Not any more pressure than normal. This is just the worst year I've ever had, and it happened to be caught on film. They're only filming for an hour or two while you're out fishing. Then the crew catches up with us at weigh-in, and by that point I've already caught them or not.



JT, in the last episode about Lake Hartwell you were complaining about the lake, and FLW Staff Writer Kyle Wood called you a crybaby. Any response to that?
JT:
I was. Yeah, I was being a crybaby. I was mad. I was venting. I was crying about not doing well. I should have caught more bass. But still, everything I said is exactly the way I felt. Even Chad said, "You didn't cry about it last year because you made the cut last year." Yeah, exactly, but I didn't this year, so now I hate it ... but not as bad as I hate Beaver Lake. If they thought I was crying about Hartwell, wait until you see the Beaver Lake show.


Chad, what was your take?
Chad:
He is a crybaby. I'm getting tired of him. George and I had a little talk with him. He's like a grouchy old man, and he's only 40. He mopes around, "Hmm, I'm not catching them." That's fishing. You don't always catch them.


Ok, so you guys take shots at each other a lot, but you're also really good friends. How did you two end up becoming buddies?
JT:
I think we just started [fishing the Tour] at exactly the same time, and we're kind of the same age. We both like to hunt, fish and have a good time. It was kind of a natural progression.

Chad: Yeah, basically we like to fish and goof around when we aren't fishing. We are very similar, and that is what it boils down to. You know how when you meet guys, you're like, "Oh, I could hang out with that dude." It was like that. He was from Maryland. I'm from Michigan. We obviously went to the exact same lakes to fish, so we were going to bump into each other every month. We just got along, and we like to do stupid stuff. So we started rooming together.

I camped. I always had a camper. Actually, he and his dad would travel together, and they would stay in my camper. It was a little pop-up, and he and I decided to just get a fifth-wheel so we would have a better place to stay. It's a cost-saver too. The last place we stayed for a week. It only cost us $115, and we split it.
He and I both like to cook, so we'll grill or smoke stuff or have fish fries. He'll bring saltwater fish, and I'll bring venison. And now he's gotten into hog hunting, so he'll bring pork.

In a week where most guys would be spending $700 or $800 between groceries and the room, I'd say we spent 150 bucks. And we probably ate better than all those other guys who had to go out to dinner.


Do you guys compete heavily with each other?
JT:
No. You know what, and I know this is some cliche thing that people say, but I really don't think, "Man, I want to beat this guy," or "Man, I want to beat that guy." When I first started I was like that, for sure. But now, dude, it's a job. It's paying the bills.

Chad: We're pulling for each other. We work together. We know what the other one is going through.


You both like to hunt, so do you get to spend much time together hunting in the off-season?
Chad:
Not in the off-season much. We always start out at the Rayovac at Okeechobee and the Tour on Okeechobee. I always fish that Rayovac because it's nice to get the boat down there and get the bugs worked out, and so in between those two tournaments this season I had a flight out on a Monday, and with the Rayovac done on a Saturday, JT and I were able to go hog hunting for a day. We've done that two or three times.

He wants to get into duck hunting, and I've been duck hunting a long time. I've got a couple buddies who have duck camps, one in Arkansas and one in southern Illinois. So we might go do that.


In the Lake Hartwell episode, you both talked about how hard it is to make it on Tour. And JT, you talked about winning your first-ever Tour event. What did that do for your career?
JT:
The first thing I thought for about a month until I got to the second Tour event is that this was going to be easy. I was wrong. I won the very first one, and over the next five events I never got a check. With that $110,000 that I won, I paid the taxes, bought a new truck - the truck I was driving had 335,000 miles on it at the time - and basically paid for the rest of my year. The rest of it was spent on gas, entry fees, food and travel expenses. And at the end of that year I was broke again. After that I started getting a little more consistent and started doing better.

You think $110,000 is life-changing, but I never bought anything that didn't have to do with fishing. It goes to show you how expensive this sport is. It also makes you think about these guys who don't do very well. How do they keep doing it?

I've been pretty consistent, but I'm still just trying to get by.


What's the best part about being on the show?
Chad:
I guess just showing people that don't tournament fish, or people that do tournament fish, how hard it is to make a living at this. And to show them the stuff that goes on behind the scenes - how much hard work goes into it. I don't even know if they show how hard we work. You don't just sign up to go to the lake and start fishing the tournament. There's a lot more to it than just putting your boat in and then going fishing.


When you signed up to do the "Circuit Breaker," did they make you swear in blood that you wouldn't reveal what was going to happen on the show before it comes out?
JT:
Yes.


So will you give us a sneak peek at the next episode anyway?
JT:
Yeah. Let's see, what would the next one be ... Sam Rayburn. There are guns involved. There are Benellis and Remingtons involved. I can tell you that.

Check out the latest episode of "Circuit Breaker" here or at FLW's YouTube channel.



/tips/2016-07-23-1000-islands-day-3-midday-update

1000 Islands Day 3 Midday Update

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-22-1000-islands-midday-update-day-2

1000 Islands Midday Update Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands got started on a slightly different note this morning when FLW’s tournament directors declared Lake Ontario off limits due to hazardous conditions. The change threw a few of the top pros off their primary plans, but regardless the 137-boat field will be cut down to the top 10 after today, so adjustments need to be made in order to qualify to fish the weekend. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-19-flw-podcast-126-icast

FLW Podcast 126 - ICAST

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-14-2017-walmart-flw-tour-schedule

2017 Walmart FLW Tour Schedule

In what has become an annual tradition at FLW, the 2017 Walmart FLW Tour schedule was announced at a press conference and industry gathering held Thursday on the show floor at ICAST in Orlando, Fla. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-12-si-se-puede-yes-we-can

Si Se Puede ... Yes We Can

Mexico’s Lake Zimapan is different in many ways from the lakes to the north such as Florida’s Lake Okeechobee and California’s Clear Lake, but one element it has in common with those famous fisheries is big bass. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-11-5-rookie-lessons-learned

5 Rookie Lessons Learned

People have asked me what my first year on the Walmart FLW Tour was like. Well, it was like running headfirst into a hurricane for a few months. I came out the other side a little battered, bruised and smelling like fish. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-11-flw-podcast-125-scott-martin

FLW Podcast 125 - Scott Martin

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-review-lew-s-custom-speed-stick-lite

Review: Lew’s Custom Speed Stick Lite

Recently I had the opportunity to try one model in particular – the 7-foot, 4-inch Magnum Pitchin’ rod. After fishing with it several times, I’ve concluded that it performs as advertised, is sensitive and lightweight, and is well worth the money. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-reunited-and-it-feels-so-good

Reunited, and it Feels so Good

This year I really had a reunion with finesse fishing. Most of my better tournaments came from fishing some type of finesse presentation. Finesse tactics seemed to always give me a certain confidence about the day. While finesse tactics are nothing new to the game of bass fishing, this year I regained the confidence and joy of catching bass on smaller offerings. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-2016-icast-preview

2016 ICAST Preview

The doors to ICAST don’t open until next week, when everyone gets out on the showroom floor in Orlando, Fla., but there are already plenty of snippets of information available. FLW’s media crew will be there in full force to bring you coverage of the hottest new products, as well as the annual New Product Showcase awards. For now, take a gander at some of the early birds. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-07-flw-canada-kicks-off-at-tri-lakes

FLW Canada Kicks Off at Tri-Lakes

Among these Canadian all-stars was the eventual winning team of Chris Vandermeer of Peterborough and Jeff Slute of Millbrook. Capitalizing on a strong day one shallow-water smallmouth pattern, the duo took advantage of the slick-calm conditions using a silver-hued topwater popping plug to agitate the lake’s bronzebacks into attack. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-30-flw-tour-pro-cooksey-recovering-after-accident

FLW Tour Pro Cooksey Recovering After Accident

Walmart FLW Tour sophomore Dalton Cooksey of New Concord, Ky., is recovering at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee following a single-car accident that took place Wednesday afternoon. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-30-flw-podcast-124-jeremy-lawyer

FLW Podcast 124 - Jeremy Lawyer

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-29-stetson-blaylock-s-recipe-for-a-wacky-rig

Stetson Blaylock’s Recipe for a Wacky Rig

From March until the end of the fishing season I’m going to have a wacky rig on deck. It’s a really effective way to fish anytime the fishing is tough, or if the fish are up cruising banks. Anytime fish are about 5 feet deep or less, I can catch them on the wacky rig. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-28-morgan-claims-third-flw-tour-angler-of-the-year-title

Morgan Claims third FLW Tour Angler of the Year Title

MINNEAPOLIS – Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tennessee, added to his incredible fishing resume by winning his third Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year title Saturday at the FLW Tour's final 2016 regular-season event on Lake Champlain.... READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-24-three-things-by-dd-kentucky-lake

Three Things by DD: Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake did not go the way I intended. I was pumped and ready to rock out a top-20 finish. I had great expectations of myself, but nothing seemed to come together. Practice was dicey, but I thought for sure I could put something together to make the cut. That was until day one came, and the whole vibe of my day instantly went from eager to agitated. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-23-how-to-catch-smallmouths-with-hair-jigs

How to Catch Smallmouths with Hair Jigs

The “right” hair jig for smallmouths is a small 1/16- to 1/8-ounce marabou jig with a round or mushroom-shaped head. The jig is similar to marabou jigs used by crappie fishermen, but bass models will often have a larger, stronger hook and possibly a longer or thicker skirt. Naturally, anglers have their favorites, and there are subtle differences in jigs that make some better than others. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-22-two-exciting-events-to-look-forward-to

Two Exciting Events to Look Forward To

We are in the last stretch of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour. Awaiting us is the Lake Champlain tournament in just a few days. A couple of things will be settled there: the pro field for the Forrest Wood Cup and the Angler of the Year. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-21-tagging-along-with-sprague-in-kentucky

Tagging Along with Sprague in Kentucky

Through the first four events of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour season, Jeff Sprague finished inside the top 20 every time and challenged for the win at Beaver Lake. After stop No. 4 on Pickwick, Sprague took over the lead in the Angler of the Year race. This is the story of his first tournament as the AOY leader – stop No. 5 on Kentucky Lake. Currently, Sprague is preparing for the finale on Lake Champlain. He’s in second place in the AOY standings. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-19-waunakee-hs-wins-wi-title

Waunakee HS Wins WI Title

The Waunakee High School duo of Colin Steck and Nathan Lorenz brought a five-bass limit to the scale Sunday weighing 13 pounds, 3 ounces, to win the 2016 TBF/FLW High School Fishing Wisconsin State Championship on the Minocqua Chain of Lakes. The win earned the team trophies, the title of state champions and advanced the team to the High School Fishing Central Conference championship on the Ohio River in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, on September 23-24. READ MORE »