MANY, La. --
Shaw Grigsby sits beached on a sandy shore in the pre-dawn hours of Day One at the Bassmaster Elite Series event at famed Toledo Bend Reservoir. A pile of rods and reels to rig with the day's lures sit in front of him. Behind him ... amazingly clear memories.
When it's mentioned that he did well here in the B.A.S.S. Louisiana Showdown in February of 2003, he begins remembering every detail of his $14,000 haul here on the Texas-Louisiana border like it was last week instead of eight years ago.
"Yep, that was a really special week. The water level was high. The aquatic vegetation was lush and green. I found one really special underwater point that I caught most of my 48 pounds of bass from that week," said Shaw who is off to a great start in 2011. He's currently fourth in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.
"I figured the bass would be spawning, so I went looking shallow in a bay, but they weren't there, so I slid back out to where my boat was in 8 feet of water and found that magical point leading into the bay. They were stacked on that point, and I hammered 'em every morning with a football jig. I wish we had Power-Poles back then -- they'd have made sitting on that point even easier," said the upbeat Grigsby, now in his 27th season as a pro.
When asked how he's able to recall the details of a tournament from eight years ago, he responds, "Oh man, it's scary. I can come to a reservoir like this and remember a single stump I fished a decade ago. In fact, I was talking to my buddy Steve Daniel the other day about a log we caught fish off of in a tournament on Lake Lanier in 1983 or 1984," Grigsby said.
Then he drifts even further back in time.
"In 1972, I fished my very first tournament. I was 16 years old, and I remember being scared to death because the man I drew as my partner that day made the statement early in the morning that he didn't want to tell me what he did for a living, fearing that he'd scare me. All day long I was nervous thinking maybe he was a part of some really creepy profession. Finally, at the very end of the day he told me he was a high school principal.
"Then I'm thinking, 'Big deal! I've never been in trouble at school in my life, yet he had me worried all day that he was somebody to be scared of,'" laughed Shaw, as he strapped down the rods and readied for take-off 39 years later.
Every memory since then clearly in his mind as he idled out ... possibly toward that magical point.