UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Cumberland

Reel Chat with ALVIN SHAW

Reel Chat with ALVIN SHAW
Alvin Shaw landed the win with a two-day, final-round total of 10 bass weighing 24 pounds, 8 ounces. He was the only pro to catch a five-bass limit Saturday.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
Hello, FLW fishing fans. Welcome to FLW Live Reel Chat, the latest interactive feature on FLWOutdoors.com.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
Joining us today is Alvin Shaw, who won the Wal-Mart FLW Tour event at Wheeler Lake on Saturday. Shaw, as you may know, is regarded as one of the most consistent pro anglers on tour.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
He has qualified for the tour championship every year since 1996 except one, 2001, and has made three top-10 finishes in a row this season. Wheeler, however, was Shaw's first long-awaited tour title.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
Fresh off the high of his big win, Shaw is here to chat about last week's tournament, life on tour and just about anything else you might want to ask him.

- MODERATOR COMMENT -
So fire away, fishing fans. Alvin looks forward to hearing from you.

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Editor's Note: FLWOutdoors.com moderators retain editorial control over Live Reel Chat discussions and choose the most relevant questions for guests and hosts.

Q: Hello Alvin and congratulations. As I saw on TV at Beaver Lake, if you did not hook the bass in the mouth you had to release it. How does that affect you in a tournament, and did it happen to you? Was that rule in effect at Wheeler? Thank you and good luck.
-- Robby (Morgan City , LA)
A: Robby, the rule was in effect at Wheeler. A lot of the guys were actually looking at the fish, in what we call sight-fishing, which is more related to that rule. I was bed-fishing, but I wasn't actually sight-fishing. I was pitching into holes in the weeds, and all my fish were actually hooked in the mouth anyway. So it wasn't really an issue.

Q: First, a big congrats on the win. I just want to say that I admire your professionalism and love for the sport that you exhibit at all the tournaments I see you fishing. What is your favorite hook for bed-fishing with plastics?
-- Tommy (Abilene, TX)
A: Tommy, my favorite hook is anywhere from a 2-aught to a 5-aught offshank Gamakatsu.

Q: Why do you think this chain of lakes -- Wheeler, Guntersville, etc. -- along the Tennessee River has become such a mecca of bass fishing?
-- Tim Brogan (Arpin, WI)
A: Well, it looked to me like it was the grass it has. My main pattern was fishing milfoil, and a lot of guys were fishing hydrilla. That just goes to show that the grass is being controlled there, and it keeps the fishery in a great state.

Q: If you were fishing up on Guntersville, what happens if you go to your first spot and they are not biting? How long do you stay?
-- Corey Bradley (Chattanooga, TN)
A: Corey, it's just a judgment call you've got to make when you're out on the water. With the locking time, you've got anywhere from three to five and a half hours to fish on the day of the tournament. You've got to put that in your game plan. What I like to do is separate my areas and how much time I can spend on each. Of course, depending on if I get to an area and they're biting, I may just stay.

Q: How does a pro run over a 150 miles without running out of gas in the boat?
-- Michael (Lafayette , GA)
A: That's a good question. I had to do research and find a marina with a gas pump that sold gas to the public. The area I was fishing had a marina with a gas pump in it. That bought some extra time to be able to put some fuel in and make the run.

Q: My question is, what was the size limit for the tournament since they can lock through at either end and have different size limits?
-- Robert Young (Huntsville, AL)
A: Robert, the rule here was that they set the size limit that would be legal in all lakes obtainable in Wilson, Wheeler and Guntersville. Guntersville has a 15-inch size limit. That was what we had to adhere to. Actually, on the second day of the tournament, I was stopped by a wildlife officer who checked to see if I was adhering to the size limit.

Q: How deep were you fishing in the milfoil in Goose Pond? And what made you choose this area?
-- Larry Armstrong (Hamilton, AL)
A: I was fishing right at exactly 3 1/2 feet, maybe varying 2 1/2 to 4 feet maximum. That just seemed to be the key depth that the fish were bedding in. But there were still some bedding shallower, but I plum got off of that pattern. When I first got to Guntersville, I was looking at water temperatures, and the farther I went upstream, the water temperatures were dropping. The farther I went upstream, I figured the cooler the water temperatures, then the more the fish would be bedding.

Q: I saw in the pictures your custom-made sight-fishing deck. Do you think that helped you to win?
-- Randell (Branson, MO)
A: Randell, on the first day of the tournament when I was forced into the pattern I was fishing, I kept saying I wished I had a sight-fishing deck. Actually, I just used it on the second day. It definitely gave me a better bird's-eye view of what I was doing, and it probably did play a small percentage in my win.

Q (MODERATOR): Did you get any grief for using that?
A: I guess I did get a little grief that I didn't actually hear, but the guys that commended me for it gave me credit for ingenuity. Some people said they wished they had done it. I think if I had done it all four days, I could have done even better.

Q: Congratulations on your first win. What is your take on the Hot Shot spinnerbaits that you use, and what gave you the idea for the fishing platform that you used?
-- Tracy Simpson (N.Wilkesboro, NC)
A: Tracy, about the Hot Shot lures, they're one of the best I've used. They use all quality parts and components. They're more of a custom-built bait like you want it, so it's no problem getting exactly what you need for any particular body of water. I've actually had the platform for three years now. This is only the second time that it has come into use. The idea to do it just came from the necessity. You've seen guys trying to stand up on the trolling motor, or falling around on a little stepstool or a cooler. I thought, why not just build something to do that.

Q: What was your main bait for catching fish during the Wheeler tournament? What type of area did you fish, and what kind of structure did it have in it?
-- Jamie Roy (Hartselle, AL)
A: Jamie, my main bait for the whole tournament was a Zoom green-pumpkin brush hog. I rigged it on 16-pound Gama fluorocarbon with a 5/16 bullet weight and a 5-aught Gamakatsu offshank, livewire hook. My equipment was an MBR 844 IMX G. Loomis with a TDX 103 Daiwa reel. And a pair of Solar Bat sunglasses was a crucial part of the equipment. You had to be able to see what you were doing out there. The structure was just a flat, sandy point with lots of milfoil. Of course, the cover is the milfoil itself. To get a precise reading on the depth, the milfoil was so deep, I would stick my rod tip down deep to see what depth I was in. At the same time, I could tell whether it was a hard bottom. That definitely was a key to my success.

Q: What is your favorite lake to fish, and what is your favorite type of fishing? Thanks.
-- Jerry (Murfreesboro, TN)
A: Jerry, I've probably got two lakes I like to fish, and they're two totally different types of fishing. Lake Champlain in upstate New York and Kentucky Lake. The fishing at Champlain can be from topwater to tubes, mainly bed-fishing or sight-fishing. Kentucky, my favorite type of fishing, is anyway I can catch them on a jig-and-pig.

Q: Do you use clips on crankbaits, and if so, what size and kind do you use to easily change out baits?
-- Tom Evins Jr. (Baton Rouge, LA)
A: Tom, I never have used clips. I did use them, but I found that a lot of times they'll straighten out and you can lose your crankbait. I just always tie directly to a split-ring.

Q: Congratulations on your victory. What kind of impact will the $100,000 victory have on your fishing career now? Will you still fish the same, or will you change tactics for future tournaments? Thanks.
-- Ricky Roten (Milllers Creek, NC)
A: I'll tell you what, Ricky. The money will be used, but probably not for any kind of fishing. My wife, Lucy, will probably spend it all on shopping. As far as fishing, I'll probably just try and keep up my present style and keep going on this tear. It'd be pretty tough to change now.

Q: I understand that you and several others are using a new line. What is it, and why have you switched?
-- Tim Francis (Reston, VA)
A: Yeah, I've been using this new stuff called Gamma fluorocarbon. It's a new product that's just now getting out, and a few of us choice pros have been able to use it out here in the field, testing it. It's a fluorocarbon that's as close to using a monofilament that I've ever used. The great thing about it is the feel. With that Gamma fluorocarbon, you're able to detect that bite so much easier. Plus, it's invisible. I don't think the fish even know it's there. So you can get by with even heavier test. I think it's the perfect line, really.

Q: I have been fishing as a co-angler for four years and have had some good tournaments and some bad ones. My question is, how should a co-angler fish used water?
-- Doug Fraser (Ashland City , TN)
A: Doug, the best thing I can tell you to do is what I tell my co-anglers, because in our FLW format we're always with a co-angler. What I usually tell them to do is fish with something different. That gives them something different to look at and a different style. If the pro's throwing a jig, throw something like a spinnerbait, or vice versa. Not just change colors. If all else fails, use the Hoot Gibson technique, the shaky-head worm. He was notorious for just whacking the guys in the front of the boat with it. He was a good fisherman and a good man.

Q: In your opinion, what are the toughest conditions to deal with during a tournament?
-- Jon Pageler (New York, NY)
A: You know, there are a lot of tough conditions. It depends on what style of fishing you're trying to achieve. This last tournament, a lot of guys were trying to sight-fish. When the wind and rain came, they weren't able to see. So that made it tough for those guys. But you can use the tough conditions to your advantage if you know what techniques to switch to. Usually, no matter what the conditions are, somebody usually figures them out.

Q (MODERATOR): What exactly did you do on Saturday that you caught a limit and no one else did? Did you make any changes?
A: I started off changing at the very start of the morning without any avail. Then I decided that I needed to go to my main area. On the way over, I decided to throw a spinnerbait on a river ledge and caught one good keeper fish. Then I proceeded to move on to my main area that was well protected from the wind. The bay I was fishing necked way down to a little entrance to it, so I wasn't getting the rollers off the main lake. I still had the wind in there, but I was still able to see the holes in the grass to present my bait. It was still a lot tougher. I just had the four bites there, and the one on the ledge. It proved to be enough.

Q: On FLWOutdoors.com, I read that nine of 10 finalists headed to Guntersville. What did Guntersville offer that was so much better than Wheeler Lake?
-- Elsa (Boynton Beach, FL)
A: Well, it just had more fish. And better-quality fish. We were able to achieve a good-size limit in a short time. The reason I think it's a better fishery is that it has a lot more grass, and the grass supports the whole food chain. Everywhere we go that has grass, it seems like it's always a good fishery. I want to really commend the Alabama Wildlife crew for keeping it the good fishery that it is.

Q: Did you have any problems with the locks going to Guntersville?
-- Pete Anderson (Gastonia, NC)
A: Pete, I never really had any problems, but there were some real nervous times. We had to stay in constant contact with the lockmaster. The reason for that was the barge traffic had priority over any other vessels in the area. On the second day, I hadn't called until a quarter to 1 p.m., and we were supposed to lock at 2 o'clock. The lockmaster said there's a barge on the way, we're going to lock at 1 o'clock. So I had 15 minutes to go 25 miles, but my Evinrude and the Ranger Z-boat performed flawlessly and I got there just in time.

Q: With three top-10s in a row on the FLW Tour now under your belt, how does this year compare to past years in your overall career?
-- Sid Krandel (Wagoner, OK)
A: Sid, this has just been a phenomenal go this year. As far as previous years, I've just kind of fished consistently, whereas this year I've excelled, definitely on the last three tournaments. A lot of guys are referring to it as a "tear." When I make the next top-10, they're going to have to come up with a new word. It hasn't ever been done.

Q: Who do you think is going to win the 2005 FLW Tour's Angler of the Year award? How difficult is that to pull off?
-- Bob (Spokane, WA)
A: I tell you what, Bob, it looked like it was sort of cut and dried between J.T. Kenney and Bobby Lane, but there's really been a shakeup now, and it's going to be close. It's going to be hard to call. The very first of the year, I was picking Lefebre, but right now I think Hackney is sort of poised to take it.

Q: Now that you won your first event, do you play it safe on the Potomac and get enough points to guarantee a place in the championship, or do you go for a tournament win right off the bat?
-- Tim Halverson (Boulder, CO)
A: I tell you what, Tim, in the last three tournaments, I really tried to fish a hard game. I played hard. That's the way I plan on doing it at the Potomac. I'm going all out. No holding back.

Q: Great job on the win, Alvin. Have you ever fished the Potomac River, and what might your game plan be there?
-- David Black (Baytown, TX)
A: I fished the Potomac probably 10 to 12 years ago in a BFL. That river changes from year to year, with the hurricanes and the grass moving around and whatever. I'm going to wait and see what the conditions are and then determine my game plan. I never go to a body of water with a preconceived notion of what I'm going to do. I always evaluate the situation and see what I can do from there.

Q: Alvin, what would it mean to you to win the FLW Championship this year?
-- Fred Roloston (Tulsa, OK)
A: Gosh, that'd just be astronomical to go through this season with what I've achieved so far. Then to go on to win the championship, I'd be well above any kind of expectations. I've been knocking at that door because I've made so many championships. A win there would be just great. I'm usually knocking at the top five or top 10, so a win would be really nice. And a half-million dollars would be nothing to sneeze at. It would definitely put me in a higher tax bracket.

Q (MODERATOR): Alvin, thanks for your participation. We really appreciate your stopping by to chat. And thank you, everyone, for the great questions.
A: I've had a lot fun with it. This has been great. I love explaning what's going on, what my thinking is and everything. Thank you, everyone, for the chance to chat. Just like one of my friends said, I've come back from the grave and now I'm kind of going on a tear. Hopefully, I can keep it going.

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