I was like, "What's the name of that deal?" And he's all, "The Title?" And I'm like, "Yeah, what's the name of the Title?" And he's like, "Yeah that's the name." And I'm like, "THAT is the name?" And he said, "Yeah." I said, "That." He was like, "Is the name."
HAHAHA! Big congrats to a dude who's been a-knockin' on the door big-time the last couple years. Here's 5 with him and some fishin' info – deal went down at the St Lawrence River:
1. What was more important in winning this one – it was time for you to win, or you had the winning spot?
> "I would have to go with a combo of them. It was definitely time and I had a good area too – it wasn't really a spot.
> "I'll just say it was time...finally time for everything to line up and me to win."
2. How do you think you'll do with the catch 'em all format next year?
> "That's right up my alley. That is my deal. 100%. That's exactly the way I fish. That just fits my style 100%.
> "I'm not a guy who just likes to catch the 5 biggest ones in a lake...it's, Let's try to catch every bass that I can. I do good with the best 5...just that I go through so many fish, it's a numbers thing for me.
> "I love getting bit, I love reeling 'em in, I love catching as many as possible in a day, and I've always been that way."
3. You've done real well since getting back in the saddle in 2020 – any reason for that?
> "I think it was just maturing, really, in my fishing. That 4 years off I still made my living fishing, but I did it around here locally. I just really found out who I was in that 4 years.
> "Having to provide for yourself and your family, and doing it at a local level on the same 5-10 lakes, you really learn a lot about yourself and your decision-making.... Just one of those deals where I learned how to make the right decisions because I was fishing the same lakes over and over again.
> "I always tell people to fish as many lakes as possible because it helps you grow. But I already had that background because I fished 10 years previously: 6 as a co-angler and 4 as a pro. I took 4 years off to refine everything I learned all over the US on my bodies of water here.
> "I learned how to make the right decisions the next weekend after making the wrong decisions the weekend before. I fixed every mistake I'd ever made on the water – breakoffs, lost fish because of certain hooks...that 4 years gave me the opportunity to fix all of those mistakes on bodies of water I knew every inch of.
4. Is it true your dad [past pro/legend Ron Shuffield] told you when you were growing up that if he ever caught you fishing deep he'd take away your units and give you a flasher? 😁
> "No, that's false because I was raised on a flasher, and heck I would have no problem if they took away all our graphs and gave us a flasher. That's how I was taught to fish.
> "My uncle probably taught me to fish more than my dad did because [his dad] was gone all the time....
> "We used Carolina rigs and 3/4-oz football jigs to find rocks...count til it hit the bottom...strictly fished by feel. That's the way I was raised. ...just growing with the technology coming out and dad did too."
[I said that lots of folks might not remember that Ron was fishing light-line stuff too.]
> "My team partner when I graduated high school moved out here from CA and [taught him finesse stuff]. So I introduced lighter-line stuff and the Megabass jerkbait to my dad....
> "He was one of the main reasons that the Megabass [Vision 110] got out. He got a 2nd at Beaver and a 2nd at Table Rock on it – he was catching them everywhere on it. I'm not saying he's taking credit for that jerkbait, I'm just saying you never heard about it at all really til my dad started making top 5s and it got out...."
5. You won this deal on soft-plastics but I know you're a hard bait guy – what's your favorite hard bait to throw?
> "It'd be a jerkbait and a lipless, 100%. I'm more on the Hardcore side of the Yo-Zuri deal but my favorite hard baits are the Yo-Zuri 110 Deep Jerkbait and the Yo-Zuri Rattlin' Vibe. I love 'em. I've won so much money on those 2 baits, out on tour and here locally. By far they're my favorite hard baits ever."
Innerestin' on those baits. Gonna get some deets from him sometime soon. Here's some juice from his Title win:
> Area: "Where I caught most of my fish was a very featureless grassline except for 2 little places on that grassline where the shelf stuck out 10' further than the rest of the shelf. A little shelf came out 15'...outside grass where it dropped off to the channel, but there were a couple places where it came out 25' and there were a couple scattered boulders on those outcroppings... 25-40 yard little stretches. ...had everything they needed: a sharp drop, a flat and grass.