With his ninth career B.A.S.S. victory this past weekend on the Harris Chain of Lakes, affable Florida pro Shaw Grigsby moves into even more rarified air.
A couple of years back in a column, I dubbed Grigsby the best angler who never won a major championship (Bassmaster Classic or Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title). Now his résumé is even stronger.
Let's start with his AOY finishes. Eleven times he's placed in the top 25. That's impressive, but not nearly unprecedented (Rick Clunn has done it 29 times).
What's more impressive is that out of those 11 times, he's been in the top 10 for nine of them. Five of those seasons, he was in the top four, and twice (1991 and 1994) he was second. Two other times (1992 and 1995), he was third.
No one has as many top five or top 10 finishes without winning AOY at least once.
How about Shaw's close calls at the Classic? He'll fish his 14th championship in 2012 (having just qualified with the Elite win). In the 13 appearances, he's been in the top 10 three times and the top five twice. His best finish was second in 1993; he was also third in 2000.
Shaw also ranks high on the all-time money list (he's seventh with $1,841,723.23) and sixth on the all-time wins list with nine.
There's absolutely nothing missing from his stellar résumé except a Classic championship and an AOY. Now, he's atop the AOY standings, and just maybe he'll win the Classic in 2012 on the Red River (he was 19th there in 2009). He'd certainly be a great champion.
But this article is titled "Shaw's redemption," and that's because he'd gone quite a few years between B.A.S.S. wins. In fact, it was 11 years and 15 days — the eighth longest gap in B.A.S.S. history (Woo Daves leads the way with 16 years, 6 months and 8 days).
Shaw also has the sixth longest spread between his first career win and his latest victory — 22 years, 11 months and 23 days — proving he has considerable staying power.
For now, let's enjoy his time atop the AOY rankings and as the latest Elite champion.
Shaw Grigsby is great for our sport.