PARIS, Tenn. — Luckily for a marshal who stuck two hooks of a crankbait treble hook deep into his leg Friday afternoon, Shaw Grigsby was close by and on call for such emergencies.
After a tournament official located the Florida angler, Grigsby cut a couple of feet of strong fishing line from one of his reels, then wrapped the line around the hook shanks.
Making sure that he jerked the hooks straight out the puncture holes, Grigsby then gave the line a sharp tug and out came the hooks. The operation elicited only a short "Ouch!" from the wounded but grateful observer.
For Grigsby, it was all in a day's work. Because he spends much of his down-time saltwater fishing for species that tend to misbehave badly when they come in a boat, Grigsby is used to removing hooks from the arms and legs of himself and his buddies.
Paul Elias has outfitted his Triton with just about every gadget available, but if he had his way the available equipment would be much more rudimentary.
"GPS is the worst thing that ever happened to this sport," said the old kneel-and-reeler, who won a Bassmaster Classic on a crankbait when this week's leader, Bobby Lane, was still in grade school. "You used to have to work really hard to find offshore structure and it took a lot of time, but now with the electronics available anyone can find them. It's really hard to keep any spots sacred."
"I'm kind of pulling for him. He's a good guy." — Kevin VanDam, on Bobby Lane
"I went way north. I need to win this thing just to break even on gas." — Jeff Kriet
"This lake is the best structure lake in the country." — Paul Elias
"I'm a plug junkie." — Gerald Swindle, who cranked his way into the top 12 cut.
"I want to make up some ground, but Skeet and VanDam don't ever slip. Most anglers slip up once in a while, but those two don't." — Aaron Martens