Shaw’s 10 rules of sight fishing

If there’s a better angler than Shaw Grigsby at catching bass off beds, he’s hiding under a rock somewhere. Use these tips from the sight fishing master to up your odds this spring. View the entire March issue online via Digital Bassmaster.

It’s no coincidence that all nine of Shaw Grigsby’s career Bassmaster tournament wins have come during early January through mid-March. That’s the spawning season on Deep South lakes, and no one is better at picking off bedding bass than the veteran Florida pro.

Certainly, there are times when an inexperienced angler can catch a spawning largemouth, but not every fish is fooled so easily.

As a rule, tricking a big spawner into biting your lure will test your patience, if not your nerves. There’s an art to it, one which Grigsby has refined over the years. “There are days when the bass will thump anything you drop in the nest,” he says. “But more often than not, especially when several other anglers are targeting spawners, there is a small margin for error.”

Here are Grigsby’s best tips for stacking the odds in your favor when the bed bite is on.

1. Be patient

 “This is the No. 1 factor in sight fishing, because sometimes it takes awhile to get a fish to eat,” he explains. “Sometimes you have to keep changing baits and trying different things to figure out the exact formula that will trigger a fish’s reaction. Most people don’t have enough patience.”

2. Keep your distance

It’s easier to catch fish that aren’t aware of your presence. Grigsby has caught 10-pounders that were within the shadow of his boat, but those experiences are rare.

“There’s a tendency for anglers to get close so they can see the bass better, but that can hinder you,” he says. “If you know where the bed is and can make out the outline of a fish, you’re better off staying back than looking the fish in the eye.”

Of course, polarized sunglasses make a huge difference, but so does boat position. Keep the sun to your back and set up where you have optimum view into the water and can see the bottom. A slight angular adjustment to either side can make a difference, too.

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