Guntersville Offers Big Bass through Various Patterns

Published on 10-07-2021

Guntersville Offers Big Bass through Various Patterns

By Pete Robbins

As anglers descend upon Alabama’s Lake Guntersville for the upcoming Big Bass Tour event, unanimous wisdom tells us that it will take a big fish to win not just the overall first prize, but hourly top honors as well. After all, this is one of America’s most famous tournament venues for good reason – despite heavy pressure, the abundance of grass and great bass genetics mean that this lake is just about always on fire. What people don’t agree about is how to catch them.

Veteran tour pro Justin Lucas, who moved from California to Guntersville’s shores as part of a mass migration of top level anglers, said he’d have three rods on the deck: One for flipping, one for frogging, and one for some sort of big swimbait or glide bait.

“I’d need something big to get the attention of a single big bass,” he explained, but noted that he’d expect anywhere along a 25 mile stretch of lake, from the dam to the BB Comer Bridge, to be capable of producing the winner. “The frogging and flipping would be grass related, anywhere you can find good milfoil and hydrilla. For the big swimbait bite, I’d look to clearer areas off the main river in a creek.”

He noted that prime areas will likely be crowded with other anglers for good reason, so he’d work in practice to find smaller stretches that produce multiple bites. Then he’d maximize his time during the competition days on those areas. “Cover water and try to keep your bait in fresh water,” he said.

While he doesn’t know exactly where he’d flip, he knows what bait he’d be punching: A Berkley MaxScent Creature Hawg in Green Pumpkin or Black and Blue, with a 1 ounce or even up to a 1 ½ ounce weight. His favorite flipping rod these days is an Abu-Garcia 7’11” extra-heavy Fantasista X, paired with a Revo Rocket spooled up with 65lb. test Berkley X9 Braid.

The past four years’ BBT fall events on Guntersville have been remarkably consistent in terms of weights. Only once has a bass smaller than 6 pounds squeaked into the overall top ten. Only once has a fish under 8 pounds taken overall top honors, and then it was a still-hefty 7.66. Paying attention to the Live Leaderboard is critical because hundreds or even thousands of dollars depend on good decision-making Lucas said that even if he was just aiming for an hourly prize, which might take a 4 or 5 pounder to accomplish, he’d still use the same techniques in the same area. 

Local hammer Lonnie Cochran likewise believes that a frog could play a huge role at the top of the BBT leaderboard. Accordingly, he’d spend a lot of time idling around key grass lines looking for “mats with blow holes in them.” He also might spend some time with an Alabama Rig. His ultimate big fish producer, however, is the Berkley Frittside Crankbait, including the smallest versions.

“All of the bait they’re feeding on is little,” he said. “That’s why on the A-Rig we’re using 3-inch Berkley swimbaits. But the best thing right now for matching the hatch is the Berkley Frittside Jr. I throw it on 15 lb. test X9 Braid with a 10 lb. test fluorocarbon leader. Morning Dawn has been really good for us, but the Kentucky Blue pattern is the deal, one of the best they’ve ever made.” He said that the reason the Frittside, in all of its permutations, is so good is because it fishes like a balsa bait, just with more consistency.

“It has a tight wiggle but doesn’t float up really fast,” he added. “It doesn’t suspend. It floats up real slow. Crank it down, sweep your rod, and that’ll create a pause. Eighty five percent of the strikes come on the pause.”

The varied presentations in play should spread the competition out and provide a wide swath of anglers with a chance to win. Just be sure to bring your “A Game” to this one, because no matter how generous she’s being, The Big G will still require big weights to take home top prizes.