Like many early to mid-fall fishing derbies across the southern U.S., the bass catching action this week at the Major League Fishing Challenge Cup on Lake Eufaula may be a bit on the tough side.
A number of pros heading out for competition have said so, including well known Gainesville, Fla. resident Shaw Grigsby.
Why the tough angling forecast for the 45,181-acre Alabama/Georgia border lake?
Grigsby said that the transition of bass from their deep-water summertime lairs to where they’ll spend time feeding as fall water temperatures cool down has likely got the big lake’s fish scattered and tough to find.
Add in the fact that the likelihood of a recent fall turnover has probably put the bass into somewhat of a feeding funk and the popular mustachioed Florida angler is anticipating a grind-it-out fishing experience this week.
But then again, he’s more than ok with that.
“I hate whackfests,” grinned Grigsby, a three-time Championship Day finalist in his nine MLF Cup competitions.
“I’d rather have a grind,” he added. “The thing with a grind kind of event is that you’re always in it. If it’s a whackfest, you can get out of it quick and you can’t catch back up.”
With a resume of vast experience – which includes nine B.A.S.S. wins, 16 Bassmaster Classic appearances and four FLW Tour Forrest Wood Cup championship entries – Grigsby knows what he is talking about.
Especially on how to handle the ongoing pressure of MLF’s game changing SCORETRACKER LIVE! leaderboard, a source of inspiration to some, a source of irritation to others.
Depending on where those MLF anglers are currently sitting in the day’s standings, of course.
For Grigsby, he says that he tries to ignore SCORETRACKER LIVE! early on.
“I just want to pay attention to catching fish,” said Grigsby. “That’s all I want to concentrate on.
“The key is to figure out what the fish are saying with the first bite, to try and figure out what they are doing and then try to put together a pattern,” he added.
“That SCORETRACKER, what it tells me is if I can go with the dink-fest, can I sit there and try to catch little ones and stay in the game, or do I need to go big (and try to catch some really good fish). That’s what it really tells you.
“So you just have to get on track and catch some fish.”
And after that early day strategy? Once Grigsby gets on the board and gets a game plan going, he will then use the ongoing stream of SCORETRACKER LIVE! leaderboard information to let him know where he stands against the field and what he needs to do as the day keeps unfolding.
But he does admit that sometimes, what a MLF pro thinks the SCORETRACKER LIVE! leaderboard is telling him isn’t always the case.
“We do that every time,” laughed Grigsby. “Every time someone else goes to catching them, we go ‘Yeah, he’s probably doing this’ and we really don’t have a clue.
“Everybody does so many (different) things so good these days, there’s never really a time when you know what you think you know,” he added.
“You think someone else is doing good because they are (probably) flipping, because they are (probably) throwing a jerkbait, etc., and as it turns out, they are doing something else.”
Which is why Grigsby tries to block SCORETRACKER LIVE! out of his mind as much as possible, trying to avoid a mental meltdown and spinout on the water.
“You’ve just got to go and get on them,” he said. “And don’t think about it too much. Just go get on them and keep working on it (all).”
Part of that strategy is because of the wealth of knowledge Grigsby has gleaned since the early days of the MLF format when it began on Texas’ Lake Amistad.
“MLF is kind of like a big NASCAR race,” he said. “Early on, you’ll watch a guy just get on them and just wear them out in the first period.
“But in the second period, he just can’t seem to catch a fish and that’s notorious for happening to me.
“But then in the third period, he’ll come back a little more (and get on them again).
“If you could ever put three (good) periods together and just stay on them the whole time, you’ll just destroy them.”
Perhaps even winning a MLF Challenge Cup, one of the top bass fishing titles that someone can capture in the angling world.
And that’s something that Grigsby plans on doing this week, even if the fishing happens to be a little bit on the tough side of things.
Because someone is going to win the big silver MLF championship trophy and in Grigsby’s mind, it might as well be him.