Grigsby aided by cheaters, bananas and beef jerky at stingy Wheeler Lake

The dashboard of Shaw Grigsby’s boat looked like an optometrist’s office got tangled up with a produce counter prior to Day One launch at the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Wheeler Lake.

While most anglers are highly superstitious about bad luck believed to precipitate from having bananas on a fishing boat – Grigsby had two on his boat’s dashboard, plus two inexpensive pairs of reading glasses, often referred to as ‘cheaters.’

“Hey there’s no point in spending money on pricey glasses to toss around and maybe lose out here on the water, but they sure do help me see to tie knots easier,” grins the always cheerful pro.

“That whole thing about bananas being bad luck on a boat is all superstition,” says Grigsby. “To be real honest, I center my fate on something way higher than superstition and bananas, but it does make for pretty good fun, especially around saltwater captains. Man, those guys completely freak out when I take a banana onboard,” adds Grigsby.

“A lot of times I’ll keep a banana hidden aboard a saltwater boat until we catch a really good tuna or whatever, then I’ll bust it out to prove my point– and man it just drives those captains nuts,” laughed the Florida pro.

They’ll be no tuna on Wheeler. In fact, according to Grigsby, bass will be tougher than ever to come by on the Tennessee River impoundment. “This place is typically an amazing shallow water fishery, with a great off shore bite too, but right now it’s tougher than I can ever remember to get bit shallow or deep,” says Grigsby.

“The water level is down far enough that there is very little habitat to pitch into shallow, so you try going out deeper to look for post-spawners on a hump or ledge, and they’re just not out there real good yet,” he adds.

An array of five Quantum baitcasters, complimented by two Quantum spinning reels decorated with lipless crankbaits, willow leaf spinnerbaits, plastic tubes, topwater frogs, shaky heads and drop shots indicated Grigsby is ready to mix it up to do whatever it takes to get a bite.

“I’ll start shallow and hope to get a limit, then probably have to go join the crowd on the deeper stuff,” says Grigsby, nibbling on beef jerky prior to sunrise.

Whatever the case, he won’t run out of fuel.

“Ken Hoover (a sports nutrition guru) taught me how to eat out here,” says Grigsby. “Man, I used to eat one big sandwich per day, and after I was done eating it, I’d just crash mentally and get really tired. “Now I’m constantly fueling with everything from jerky to Ensure, and those Honey Stinger Vitamin C packs I’ve got laying on the dash.”

Grigsby notched a Top 12 in 2008 at the Bassmaster Elite on Wheeler. But fishing was easier then, it was early June, and bass were schooled-up offshore. This week will be way tougher, but Grigsby is ready, fueled by beef jerky, good luck bananas, and ample cheap reading glasses to assure his knots are tied properly.   

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