“The Highs and Lows of The Elites” by Bruce Callis
What a wild weekend of fishing at The Evan Williams Bourbon Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River. The highs of leading on day 1 to not making the cut on day 2, harassment, and a first back-to-back winner in the 10 year history of the Elite Series, all making for some head scratching, charges being filed, and a victory for Edwin Evers. What some had predicted to be a victory with over 100 pounds fell short by over 20 pounds.
Shaw Grigsby was a surprise leader on day with 22.15 pounds, but as surprised as he was, day 2 had him scratching his head. He was on fish, plenty of them, but could not get them to cooperate. Breaking off multiple times, short strikes, changing line, changing lures, anything he could think of, had Shaw scratching his head. All he could manage was 2 fish for 3.13 pounds, dropping him to 76th place and a long ride home. A man that just experienced the highs of the Reel American Heroes Foundations wounded warrior’s tournament and a day 1 lead is left to drive home wondering what went wrong. I feel his pain as each of us do. We have had days we would rather forget, left wishing we had done this instead of that, and left guessing ourselves. Some days it’s best to just plain forget them, as we really have no answer for what happened. This is the type of day Shaw just needs to forget totally.
On day 2, Mark Menendez had to suffer through an angry lakeside landowner harassing him. The man told Mark there was a big fish under his dock and that he could not fish for it. He, the man, finally got into his own boat and started doing circles around Mark’s boat. Luckily, the marshal in Mark’s boat was able to film and get photographs of the boat’s hull identification numbers and most of the incident. After he weighed in 19.8 pounds, placing him in 43rd place, making the cut to fish day 3, he said that he was pressing charges against the man. New York and most other states have laws that protect anglers on the water and their right to fish.
Edwin Evers used a 2nd day catch of 22.9 to go with his day one total of 21.3 pound to move from 5th place into the lead. A lead he kept on day 3 with a 16.6 pound limit, barely holding on by a little over a pound and 2nd place Josh Betrand. On the final day, he caught a nice 17.8 pound limit, securing his victory with almost 4 pounds over Alton Jones. Greg Hackney finished 3rd almost 5 pounds back, with Brandon Card, 4th, and Skeet Reese rounding out the top 5. Edwin used well over 10 different baits to land his limits all 4 days, using as many as 20 rods daily. He does credit the Megabass Spark Shad swimbait in ayu as the bait that often created his ability to catch them on his wacky rigged Zoom Fluke Stick in a green pumpkin color.
We all face difficult decisions each time we go out on the water. How much bait is too much, should I bring this color, will one 10 pack of this worm be enough for the day, do I have enough rods rigged are all questions we must answer correctly before we even put the boat in the water. And then we pray we made the right decision. Granted, the Elites get to practice and pre-fish for the event, but does it make it easier? For some, maybe yes, but the conditions change so often and so quickly. Some days we make all the right choices and land fish at will, while on others, we can’t buy a bite. On our worse days, we are like Shaw, where we need to be, getting the bites, but unable to land them. Then we are left wondering, was it me, or what did I do wrong? When it is all said and done, forget about it, we had fun being out in God’s creation, we weren’t stuck inside wishing we were fishing.