UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Potomac River

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Going Shallow with Grigsby on Ouachita

Going Shallow with Grigsby on Ouachita

After a phenomenal ending to the 2018 FLW Tour regular season on Lake St. Clair where Chad Grigsby smashed giant smallmouths to claim the big payday, the Minnesota pro will be making his fifth FLW Cup appearance this week on Lake Ouachita – which was also an added bonus of his St. Clair victory since it earned him enough points to climb the Angler of the Year standings to punch his ticket to the Cup.  

It’s been eight years since Grigsby fished in the big show and it is his second championship stop in Arkansas. Back in 2005, Grigsby finished second on Lake Hamilton (located just down the road from Ouachita) so you can assume he’s looking for a little redemption in The Natural State this time around.

Since Grigsby’s got the hot hand, I figured it’d be nice to jump in the boat with him for day two of practice to see what his Ouachita game plan is.

 

We meet at Mountain Harbor Resort a little before 6 a.m. where Grigsby already has the boat splashed and ready to rock. The sun is barely starting to creep up over the horizon as we idle out of the no-wake zone and Grigsby gives me the scoop on the day.

“I’m going to fish shallow for most of the day,” says the 15-year Tour veteran. “That’s what I’ve got the most confidence in and if you look at the forecast for the tournament I think the conditions should be perfect for fishing a topwater with some rain and clouds.”

With that he throws the Ranger on plane and we make a short run down the lake to a small pocket.

 

The pocket we stop at has a few crappie boats out in the middle tied up to some timber, but otherwise we are the only bass boat in sight. Grigsby throws the trolling motor down, grabs a topwater and goes to work.

“I wanted to check this pocket out yesterday but there were ski boats and jet skis running around and it had the water all dirtied up, so I figured this morning would be a good time to check it.”

Indeed, it is. It’s a gorgeous summer morning and the pocket looks promising. There’s not a breath of wind and despite some mugginess to the air it is actually quite pleasant feeling.

 

After a few hundred yards of bank with nothing to show, Grigsby readies a shaky head.

“I don’t really want to throw this, but I figure I need to keep them honest on some of these points if they won’t hit the topwater.”

He makes a cast or two with it, but with no nibbles he pulls the trolling motor to make a move.

 

We run down a few pockets from where we started and Grigsby picks the topwater back up.

It doesn’t take long for a short bass to roll up on the bait, giving Grigsby the first clue of the day. He would have likely caught the fish during the tournament, but for practice he has his hooks bent in or removed (depending on what he’s tossing) so that he can avoid sticking fish until it matters.

“I know that doing this shallow thing isn’t a way to get 50 bites like the guys fishing out deep can do,” Grigsby explains. “I just feel like when you get bit up shallow they are a little better size and I’m fine with going all day for five or six of those bites.”

 

While we rip down the bank it’s impossible to not notice the millions of tiny shad flickering around on the surface. Every other point seems to have a blue heron on it waiting patiently to grab a snack and on practically every cast Grigsby’s bait pushes shad out of the way causing them to jump in its wake.

Local reports say that Ouachita is healthier than ever and it’s no wonder why with so much food in the system.

 

Grigsby fishes for several hundred more yards without a blow up, so it’s time to make a move.

The sun is starting to poke up over the trees now that it is a little past 8 o’clock and Grigsby takes time to apply sunscreen before any more fishing occurs.

 

Our next stop is more mid-lake where there is a nice breeze welcoming us.

We take some time to reflect a little on his season while he burns shoreline.

“I’m pretty happy with how the season went, other than my two bad finishes early in the season. Winning on St. Clair was awesome and to also make the Cup because of that was even better.

“But I’m not happy with just being here. I want to win. I was close on Hamilton in 2005 and I want to win this thing bad.”

Grigsby fishes two points, but doesn’t like what he sees, so he cranks the Mercury and we’re off.

 

As we idle our way back through some standing timber to get the next stretch of bank, I can’t help but ask about the hen wood duck decoy that has been riding along under the console the whole morning.

“That’s Griffin,” Grigsby says with a chuckle. “I found him tangled in some lily pads and grass on Lake Griffin during practice at the Harris Chain. I saved him basically. He’s been riding right there ever since. I only missed one check since I found him and it was the next tournament after Harris. I just figured we hadn’t bonded yet and that’s why I didn’t cash a check on Lanier because ever since then he’s been my good luck.”

I didn’t want to mess up any mojo between him and Griffin so I didn’t bring up the fact the decoy is a female, yet he calls it a male…maybe next time.

 

Back on the fishing side of things, Grigsby has a decent little lure pile going from the first day of practice. A few different buzzbaits, some swimbaits and a tube from his St. Clair win sit neatly tucked on cooler of the Ranger.

He’s really only thrown two rods all morning, though he has a few extras out in case any schoolers come up. That’s where the spy bait and swimbait come into play – but he hasn’t caught any fish on either bait since he’s been on Ouachita.

 

It’s nearing 11:30 and since we are close to the ramp I decide to get dropped off so Grigsby can run more of the lake and not have to worry about bringing me all the way back. Which is just fine, because the sun is really starting to heat things up and air conditioning sounds amazing.

While it wasn’t a crazy morning of practice, Grigsby seems like he has his mind in the right place for making the shallow bite happen. He didn’t come down to pre-practice or do very much research at all because he likes to figure out what is happening now, not what happened years or even months ago. Read the lake and what the fish are telling him, that’s his strategy this week.

As he idles back out to tackle more of Ouachita there’s no doubt he’s got plenty of time to fine tune the shallow bite to know where to go, or not go, come game time.

Good luck, Chad.

 

Tags: kyle-wood  pre-tournament  2018-08-10-forrest-wood-cup- 

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 2

Table Rock Midday Update – Day 2

Fishing pressure and a cold front have shut down the bite at Table Rock Lake for stop No. 2 of the Costa FLW Series Central Division season. The lake's largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass are not coming easy. READ MORE »

Spawn in Full Bloom on Table Rock

Spawn in Full Bloom on Table Rock

Stop No. 2 of the Costa FLW Series Central Division should shape up to be quite the catchfest. Coming off of the division opener on Kentucky Lake, where pros were challenged with tough fishing, this week’s event, which is presented by Power-Pole and hosted by Explore Branson, should be stellar in terms of both numbers and quality of fish.  READ MORE »

Going Shallow with Lawyer

Going Shallow with Lawyer

Heading into the sixth stop of the year on Chickamauga, which is presented by Evinrude, Lawyer says he’s looking to go easy and make sure he’s on the road to Hot Springs this August for his third shot at a Cup title. With that in mind, I was happy to hop aboard and see the shallow side of Chickamauga. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Chickamauga

FLW Live Schedule for Chickamauga

FLW Live is back for 2019 FLW Tour stop No. 6 on the big-fish waters of Lake Chickamauga. The event, which is presented by Evinrude and hosted by Fish Dayton and the Rhea Economic & Tourism Council, runs Thursday, May 2 through Sunday, May 5. READ MORE »

Get to Know Lake Chickamauga

Get to Know Lake Chickamauga

The 2019 FLW Tour event at Lake Chickamauga, which is presented by Evinrude, is hitting the lake before the primary offshore migration has occurred, which means that some ledge fishing will take place, but a whole mess of other patterns should play as well. Here’s a look at where the anglers will be competing this week. READ MORE »

By the Numbers: Lake Chickamauga

By the Numbers: Lake Chickamauga

The FLW Tour’s sixth stop of the season is Lake Chickamauga in east Tennessee. One of the gems of the South for hunting monster bass, the Lake of the Giants promises big fish – and lots of them – and perhaps the best chance of seeing the century mark broken this season. READ MORE »

Hunting Offshore With Setzer

Hunting Offshore With Setzer

If Braxton Setzer wins the FLW Tour’s sixth stop of the season fishing offshore, he has a faulty trolling motor to thank for it. READ MORE »

2019 Lake Chickamauga Preview

2019 Lake Chickamauga Preview

Lake Chickamauga in east Tennessee is a big-bass playground where anglers regularly catch trophy fish that surpass 10 pounds. In early May, it'll host the FLW Tour for the third time in six years. Previous events were held in June, so this stop promises to offer a different look at the Chick. READ MORE »

Big Weights Expected at Santee Cooper

Big Weights Expected at Santee Cooper

The Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division finishes up its 2019 season at the Santee Cooper lakes, Marion and Moultrie, in South Carolina this week. Forty pros and co-anglers will qualify for the championship, and an Angler of the Year will be crowned as the field fishes for hefty postspawn largemouths. READ MORE »

FLW Live Schedule for Cherokee Lake

FLW Live Schedule for Cherokee Lake

FLW Live is back for 2019 FLW Tour stop No. 5 at beautiful Cherokee Lake. The event, which is presented by Lowrance and hosted by the Jefferson County Economic Development Alliance, runs Thursday, April 11 through Sunday, April 14. READ MORE »

Get to Know Cherokee Lake

Get to Know Cherokee Lake

The fifth stop of the FLW Tour is presented by Lowrance and sure to be fun if you like east Tennessee, smallmouths and good fishing (who doesn’t?). Cherokee Lake plays host and promises to both challenge and delight anglers. READ MORE »

Beavers Breaks Down Cherokee

Beavers Breaks Down Cherokee

Beavers started the year off about as badly as he could, finishing 121st at Rayburn, but he’s been on a tear ever since, finishing 54th at Toho before banking back-to-back top 10s at Seminole and Grand. READ MORE »

Scouting Cherokee with LeBrun

Scouting Cherokee with LeBrun

Now in the second half of the Tour season, LeBrun is up against another new lake, and sort of a new species. He says he’s never seen a smallmouth on a bed in his life, and has spent just two days on Cherokee in pre-practice. READ MORE »

2019 Cherokee Lake Preview

2019 Cherokee Lake Preview

Nestled in the hills of east Tennessee, Cherokee Lake is a TVA impoundment on the Holston River, and it sits roughly between Norris Lake (to the northwest) and Douglas Lake (to the southeast). READ MORE »

Prespawn Throwdown on Tap at KY Lake

Prespawn Throwdown on Tap at KY Lake

The Costa FLW Series Central Division hosts its season opener at Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley April 4-6. Instead of a postspawn ledge showdown, like is typical of major multi-day bass-fishing tournaments in the region, this derby should be a prespawn or spawn slugfest, with crankbaits, spinnerbaits, ChatterBaits, umbrella rigs, swimbait and jigs all playing a major role in the outcome. READ MORE »

Get to Know Grand Lake

Get to Know Grand Lake

The fourth stop of the 2019 FLW Tour is presented by Mercury at Grand Lake. Though the Tour last hit the big Oklahoma lake in 2013, Grand sees plenty of tournament action, especially in the spring, and it never fails to deliver drama. READ MORE »

Poking Around Grand with Cortiana

Poking Around Grand with Cortiana

Since starting to fish Costa FLW Series events in 2016, Kyle Cortiana has banked over $100,000 with FLW and finished in the top 10 of the Southwestern Division three times. On the FLW Tour, he’s been a bit less successful, with no top 10s and no FLW Cup qualifications … yet. This year, he’s sitting 35th in the points, with a good chance to go to the Cup, and the FLW Tour presented by Mercury on Grand Lake finally gives him a shot at a Tour event with home field advantage. READ MORE »

Day 1 Practice on Grand with Warren

Day 1 Practice on Grand with Warren

There’s a good crew of Oklahoma anglers on the FLW Tour, but of them, Chad Warren is definitely one of the favorites at Grand Lake. Stop No. 4 of the 2019 FLW Tour, which is presented by Mercury, heads to Grand in the early spring for a prespawn tournament that might feature really good fishing. READ MORE »

2019 Grand Lake Preview

2019 Grand Lake Preview

Grand Lake is situated in Northeast Oklahoma among the foothills of the Ozarks. The impoundment was created in 1940 when the Pensacola Dam was finished along the Grand River. The 46,500-surface-acre reservoir now hosts plenty of recreational opportunities, but more importantly, is also home to some of the best bass fishing in the country. READ MORE »

Setting Up a Slugfest at Chickamauga  

Setting Up a Slugfest at Chickamauga  

The second stop of the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division promises much better fishing than the first. Moving north from a cold front-plagued Florida swing, the field will visit Lake Chickamauga for the middle event of the season. The tournament, which is presented by T-H Marine, should feature excellent fishing, as the east Tennessee reservoir pretty much always kicks out giants. READ MORE »