Greico’s Gamble Pays Off
LEESBURG, Fla. – Success in tournament bass fishing is a mix of having a solid game plan, trusting your instincts and maybe a bit of luck, and when they all come together special things can happen.
Case in point, Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me rookie Christian Greico at Bass Boat Technologies Stop 2 on the Harris Chain of Lakes Presented by Frogg Toggs. The Tampa, Florida, pro knew exactly what he wanted to do when he saw the Harris Chain on the schedule and he executed it flawlessly.
“I liked the timeframe of this event a lot because I knew it gave those fish an opportunity to move to some postspawn areas that maybe some of the other guys wouldn’t really know about or key in on,” Greico said. “So in practice, I hit a few shell bars and saw they were out there, then I knew a lot could happen and I could have a really good shot (at winning).”
Greico spent the first three days of the event running around Lake Harris fishing shell bars with mixed results. Though he caught 15 pounds, 11 ounces and 22-5 over the first two days, the young pro quickly realized his shell bite was fading.
“The first three days I really leaned on those shell bars,” said the 23-year-old pro. “I caught a 5-pounder the second day flipping a Kissimmee grass line, but primarily I was just on those shell bars.
“After yesterday, that bite was just deteriorating on me. I wasn’t getting near as many bites as I had been the past few days.”
To pluck fish schooled up on shell bars in 10 to 12 feet of water, Greico relied solely on a Carolina rig. His setup was a 7-foot, 6-inch, heavy-power 13 Fishing Muse Black rod with an 8.3:1 gear ratio 13 Fishing Concept C2 reel spooled with 20-pound-test fluorocarbon. On the business end, a ¾-ounce weight pulled around either a Googan Baits Slim Shake or a Googan Baits Dart. But after scraping together just 11-4 on Day 3 to barely slide into the Top 10, Greico knew he had to make a change.
“I looked at the weather last night and the weather looked like it would set up good for (Lake) Apopka I thought,” Greico said. “Especially for where I wanted to fish down on the south end because the wind was going to be blowing out of the south and all that stuff wasn’t going to get blown out.
“I decided to start on the shell again this morning just to see if by any chance they were biting and once I drug through there for about 10 or 15 minutes and didn’t get a bite I knew it probably wasn’t going to happen out there.”
That’s when trusting his instincts and local savvy took over.
“I needed to make the decision to run down (to Apopka),” Greico explained. “It took me about 5 minutes before I got my first bite and that’s when I knew it could happen.”
Getting the ball rolling with some 2-pounders, Greico was happy he was getting bites flipping a Googan Baits Nuke Punch on a ¾-ounce weight, but knew that caliber of fish wasn’t going to get the job done.
“I knew with all those fish biting it was only a matter of time before I caught a few big ones,” he said. “Flipping is what I love doing and have the most confidence in, so I knew if I could keep that flipping stick in my hand all day and I was getting bites, it’d only be a matter of time to get some big bites.”
Call it luck. Call it fate. Call it perfect timing, or a combination of it all, but Greico finally came across a big bite with minutes to spare in his day.
“I caught (the 6-pounder) at about 1:30 and I told myself the latest I had to leave Apopka was going to be 1:45,” he said. “So I caught that fish, threw it in the ‘well and started heading back because I knew I had a good bag – I didn’t know it was the winning bag – but I knew it was a good bag.”
That kicker bumped his total weight for the day up over 18 pounds, which turned out to be more than enough to give him the biggest win of his career. It proved all the hard work on the water, along with time and money spent fishing local derbies, Phoenix Bass Fishing League and Toyota Series events, has paid off.
“It means a lot to win,” Greico said. “It’s crazy how fast everything happened, from qualifying to fish the Pro Circuit and now here we are at the second tournament taking home the win. It’s crazy how fast it happened, and I couldn’t be more excited about it.
“It’s a huge confidence booster that this is where I’m meant to be and where I can have my career bass fishing. Going toe-to-toe with some of the best guys is an honor to compete against them and I just love catching bass.”
Outside of fishing the Pro Circuit, Greico is all-in on his YouTube channel, which only further proves his love for the sport of fishing. Given the fact he just won $100,000 and doesn’t have to go to work tomorrow, the young pro plans on taking the responsible way to celebrate the W.
“I’ll probably just drive home and go to bed pretty early tonight,” laughed Greico. “I’ve been at it for a while here. I’ll just put the money in the bank, save it up, because it gets expensive chasing around these bass.”
Top 10 Pros
1. Christian Greico – 18 – 05 (5) – $100,000
2. Andrew Loberg – 16 – 13 (5) – $30,000
3. Shonn Goodwin – 16 – 00 (5) – $25,000
4. Corey Neece – 15 – 01 (5) – $20,000
5. Mark Rose – 14 – 14 (5) – $20,300
6. Jason Reyes – 14 – 14 (5) – $18,000
7. Grae Buck – 11 – 08 (5) – $17,000
8. Grant Galloway – 10 – 14 (5) – $16,000
9. Jeff Reynolds – 10 – 11 (4) – $15,000
10. Michael Neal – 9 – 12 (5) – $14,000
Tampa Rookie Christian Greico Wins Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Stop 2
LEESBURG, Fla.– The last time Major League Fishing had held an event on the Harris Chain of Lakes – the AAA-level 2021 Toyota Series – 22-year-old Tampa, Florida, angler Christian Greico landed “Jim Thomas,” a 9-pound, 12-ounce giant largemouth that had been tagged by the Friends of Lake Apopka and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as part of the Lake Apopka Fish Tag Challenge. Greico was awarded the top prize of $5,000 for catching that bass, and used those winnings as part of his deposit to compete in his rookie season against the pros on the 2022 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me.
Wednesday, it all came full circle for the Florida rookie. Greico weighed in a five-bass limit totaling 18 pounds, 5 ounces, to win the four-day Bass Boat Technologies Stop 2 at the Harris Chain of Lakes Presented by Frogg Toggs in Leesburg, Florida. Greico edged the second-place pro Andrew Loberg of Rocklin, California, by 1-pound, 8-ounces, and earned the top payout of $100,000.
Link to Photo of Bass Boat Technologies Stop 2 Winner Christian Greico
Link to Video of Day 4 Championship Weigh-In from Bass Boat Technologies Stop 2
Link to Video of Fish Catch Highlights from Day 4 of Bass Boat Technologies Stop 2
“I really can’t believe how this week turned out,” Greico said. “Coming back to the ramp with only 18 pounds today – I thought for sure that someone had busted a 20-plus-pound bag. I was thrilled to just be in the Top 10 and standing there on the final day with (MLF emcee) Chris Jones. To get it done today – man, I’ve had a blessed week. All glory to God on this one.”
After targeting offshore shell beds in Lake Harris with a Carolina-rigged Googan Slim Shake and a Googan Dart on the first three days of competition, Greico pivoted on the final day and scrapped his shell bed pattern to run to Lake Apopka and flip a jig for the day.
“I could tell yesterday that the shell bite was deteriorating on me,” Greico said. “I decided to start on the pattern first thing this morning, but once I drug through there for 10 to 15 minutes and didn’t get a bite, I knew it probably wasn’t going to happen in Lake Harris. So, I made the decision to run to Apopka and put the flipping stick in my hand. I knew if those fish were biting, it was only a matter of time until I caught a few big ones.
“It took me about five minutes before I got my first bite, and that’s when I knew it could happen,” the 23-year-old pro said.
Greico’s flipping fish came on a Googan Nuke Punch, with a ¾-ounce weight.
Despite the fast start to his career, Greico plans to play it conservative and ensure he remains in the sport for the long haul.
“The money is great, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not out here for the money,” Greico said. “I do this because I love it, and to earn these trophies. This is a huge confidence booster – this is where I’m meant to be. I can have a career as a pro bass fisherman and go toe-to-toe against the best guys. It’s an honor to even be out here competing against them. To win, in just my second event – it blows my mind.
“I’m probably going to bed early tonight, and I’m putting this money in the bank and saving it. It can get pretty expensive chasing around these bass.”
The Top 10 pros at the Bass Boat Technologies Stop 2 on the Harris Chain of Lakes finished:
- 1st: Christian Greico, Tampa, Fla., five bass, 18-5
- 2nd: Andrew Loberg, Rocklin, Calif., five bass, 16-13
- 3rd: Shonn Goodwin, Moore, Okla., five bass, 16-0
- 4th: Corey Neece, Bristol, Tenn., five bass, 15-1
- 5th: Jason Reyes, Huffman, Texas, five bass, 14-14
- 6th: Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., five bass, 14-14
- 7th: Grae Buck, Green Lane, Pa., five bass, 11-8
- 8th: Grant Galloway, Houlka, Miss., five bass, 10-14
- 9th: Jeff Reynolds, Calera, Okla., four bass, 10-11
- 10th: Michael Neal, Dayton, Tenn., five bass, 9-12
For a full list of results visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.
Overall, there were 49 bass weighing 138 pounds, 12 ounces caught by the final 10 pros Wednesday. Nine of the final 10 pros weighed in a five-bass limit.
The four-day MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Bass Boat Technologies Stop 2 on the Harris Chain of Lakes Presented by Frogg Toggs was hosted by Visit Lake County. The event will premiere on the CBS Sports Network on Saturday, July 16 from 7-9 a.m. ET.
In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit competition, the full field of anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Sunday and Monday. The Top 50 pros based on their two-day cumulative weight advanced to Tuesday, then only the Top 10 pros based on cumulative weight from the first three days continued competition on Championship Wednesday, where weights were zeroed and the winner was determined by the heaviest weight from the final day of competition.
The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Bass Boat Technologies Stop 2 on the Harris Chain of Lakes Presented by Frogg Toggs marked the second regular-season event of the year for the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me. The next event for Pro Circuit anglers will be the Lithium Pros Stop 3 at Pickwick Lake Presented by Covercraft, April 21-24 in Counce, Tennessee.
Throughout the season, anglers are also vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the 2022 Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit TITLE Presented by Mercury, the Pro Circuit Championship, where they will compete for up to $235,000. The 2022 TITLE will be on the St. Lawrence River in Massena, New York, on Aug. 16-21, and is hosted by the Town of Massena.
Proud sponsors of the 2022 MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Presented by Fuel Me include: 4WP, 13 Fishing, Abu Garcia, A.R.E. Truck Caps, B&W Trailer Hitches, Berkley, Black Rifle Coffee, E3, Epic Baits, Favorite Fishing, Gary Yamamoto Baits, General Tire, Lew’s, Lowrance, Lucas Oil, Mercury, Mossy Oak, Onyx, Phoenix, Polaris, Power-Pole, Strike King, Tackle Warehouse, T-H Marine, Toyota, Wiley X and YETI.
For complete details and updated information visit MajorLeagueFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit on the MLF5 social media outlets at Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Republished Direct from MLF