Swindle Predicts Cooldown Will Lead to Hotter Fishing on Guntersville

Published on 10-06-2020

Swindle Predicts Cooldown Will Lead to Hotter Fishing on Guntersville

By Pete Robbins

During the recently-completed Elite Series event, Alabama’s storied Lake Guntersville confounded even some of the savviest longtime pros. Nevertheless, Alabama stalwart Gerald Swindle, a two-time Angler of the Year who finished 38th believes that the lake is primed to get much, much better in time for the Big Bass Tour event from October 16-18.

“With two full weeks to cool off, that’ll help a lot,” he said. “Cooler water will make the fishing much better. We were flirting with water temperatures in the seventies, as low as 72 in the morning. When it gets down to 65 or 67 in the morning, that’s when it should really get good.”

Historically, it has taken at least a 6-pounder to get into the overall top 10 in BBT events on Guntersville, and only one year in the last five has gone by without at least one 8-pounder brought to the scales. This is, after all, the Big G, and giants live here. In the fall, of course, tournaments don’t always lead to the big weights that show up in the spring, but Swindles said that’s good for those who haven’t spent as much time on the lake: “If you’re from out of town, you don’t necessarily want a whackfest,” he explained.

He believes that while anglers who look for a road map to success in the efforts of the Elites’ top ten may not be going down the right path. Lots of the best catches came from up the lake, including in the river sections. Swindle fished down the lake, and while it didn’t lead him to the winner’s circle, he feels that he might just have been a bit too early.

“One section that didn’t get fished as much is the grass in Brown’s Creek, Seibold and Town Creek,” He said. “Those areas will turn on at some point, and a lot of big fish live in that section of the lake. When they get right, you can pull into one mat and catch five fish for twenty-five pounds. You’re not going to do that up the river.”

Of course, key stretches will get heavy pressure, and under the strain of this year’s pandemic Guntersville has received even mor than usual, so Swindle believes that you’re “looking for five or ten bites a day.” He’d find key mats in a five-mile section of the lake and rotate among them until he found which ones were active on that particular day. He’d look and listen for sounds of life, and then bear down.

“I’d start off with a Plopper and a white buzzbait in the morning, and a brown and black frog in case I see one eat something back in the mat,” he said. “Then I’d spend the rest of the day flipping.” He’d likely rely on a black and blue Zoom Z-Craw Junior, with a 1 ¼ ounce tungsten weight pegged in front of it. Why such a small bait when he’d be looking for one big bite? The answer is simple. “It penetrates the grass better.” Anything bulkier and he’d have to go to a bigger sinker, which might decrease his hook up ratio.

While it’s not Swindle’s preferred way to fish, one oddball strategy that competitors might employ is a large glide bait any place they can find clearer water with sparser grass and while the giants might not show up in the same numbers that appear in February and March, Swindle has no doubt that they’re there to be caught.

“It may be hard to catch eights and nines this time of year, but they live here,” he said. “A seven might be a really big fish. We had one 8-pounder weighed in over the four days of our tournament.” Still, this is Guntersville – it pays to listen to the live leaderboard so you don’t squander a money-winning fish during the wrong hour.