Little Rock, Ark. — Shaw Grigsby failed to boat a keeper fish on the final day of the Bassmaster Legends presented by Goodyear. But he held the lead on Day Three and looked as if he might win.
"I started off the first day of practice in the next pool up from our original takeoff point. I started fishing and pulled into the first jetty and caught a 4-pounder on a Double Take buzzbait by Strike King. Then I started looking around and caught two more keepers on the bank with a crankbait. Then I caught another keeper flipping in a mat and shook off three or four more, and thought 'wow, this is better than what it's supposed to be.'
"The second day of practice I decided to go back to the same pool and expand my water. There were quite a few places that I didn't go that looked really nice. I went up the Little Maumelle Creek and started in it and it's just like loaded with mats. The first mat I come to I started flipping and drop in and shake one off there. I didn't go another 20 feet and shake one there, and I go a little bit further and another one eats me and I'm thinking, 'man, this is awesome.' I don't know how big these fish are, but you've got other boats around and I just didn't want to whack them. So I had a pretty good day up there, but didn't catch a single keeper.
"The third day I came down here and I spent the morning in the little stretch of two miles we have above the course, and in the afternoon I spent going over the two or three miles below the course. Again, I didn't catch a keeper but did have one jump off on a crankbait. I'm thinking this is tough because that was two days where I didn't have a keeper that I knew of, but I wasn't really trying to boat the 15-inchers anyway.
"So I knew it was going to be divine intervention just to catch a fish so the first day of the tournament I ran up to Little Maumelle because that's where I shook so many off. I started on that jetty where I caught the 4-pounder and didn't catch one. I ran some more and started flipping and got to my GPS mark. If I get a bite, shake one off, or even catch a fish during practice I will mark it with a way point on my GPS.
"So I come around to way point 11 and I catch a fish right on it, maybe a 3-pounder. I said 'that's cool because I've got a lot more way points.' I keep fishing through there and finally catch another one and then came back into this pool where I started and caught my third keeper. I was sitting in 12th place after Day One I think.
"The next day I ran back to Maumelle again. I flipped all of my good stuff, and I flipped some of the stuff I didn't have time for. Once you run down that creek you're pretty much committed because it's long and there is a seven to 10 minute idle zone. There are a lot of stumps and you can run it, but it's a little treacherous.
"So I was committed up there and I knew the good ones were in the water. I flipped and flipped, and it was 10:40 in the morning before I ever got a bite. When I got the bite I set the hook, and again it was another one of those 2-10 nice quality bass buried way back in the mat. I was flipping with a 1-ounce Penetrator Tungsten weight with a Wild Thing Junior.
"I only had one fish on that second day at this point and knew that I needed more than that to make the cut. It was kind of cool because I came back to this pool and pulled into the same spot that I had fished the first morning until I had to get in the locks, and then I fished it when I came back through the locks. It was just a little gap in rocks. So this morning I ran to go there but another boat had already pulled in that area so I couldn't fish it. When I got out of the locks later in the afternoon though, I fished it again and caught another keeper. That was a very crucial fish, only 1 pound and 10 ounces, but that was enough to get me into 12th place.
"Yesterday I went out there and from what I had seen of the course from the river was just bank grass, not a lot of flipping cover. I thought I was going to just have to do what I did in practice and crank the banks, and I thought I could catch them with a little Series One Strike King.
"So I was planning on cranking all day on Saturday, I didn't even have my flipping sticks out. I took off and ran down the side here, saw the bottom end of Hole 2, a piece of (Hole) 3, cut across a piece of (Hole) 4, a bit of (Hole) 5, and that's all I saw because I had been running north each day and hadn't been paying much attention.
"What I did notice is that I saw a whole lot of alligator weed, really good matted grass, and a couple of pockets. One just stood out and I thought, 'wow, that's it that's where I'm going to start.' It's just one of those things that hits you like a ton of bricks. I said to the heck with the rest of this cranking deal I'm going to pull out my flipping stick. I got back to the ramp and put my little Wild Thing on and started going.
"I whacked them in Hole 5. I caught three immediately there including the one that was 3-12 or 3-14. I fished the whole rest of the course and lost one good fish in Hole 6. I was pitching some mats that were around pilings there.
"Then I never had another keeper bite until Happy Hour when I went back to Hole 5 where I started. I fished the same bank and caught four fish and one was another 3-pound or so keeper. So basically I caught all of my fish on the same spot, one little stretch of the bank. I caught three in the morning and one in the evening.
"Today, I started back in the same hole. I fished the whole thing and never had a bite. I expanded my area and never got a bite. I kept going and going and going and finally got a bite, but he was a little one.
"Finally it started picking up in the afternoon, I was catching a bunch of fish but none of them were keepers. I kept expanding and came back to Hole 5 in happy hour and hit that bank again hoping there might be one good one, but it wasn't there.
"I ran out of time, and that was basically my zero for today. I pulled a Kevin VanDam, and I only say that because it makes me feel a little bit better.