Swindle Says Go Big For Guntersville Giant
Published on 10-06-2022
Lake Guntersville, the gem of Alabama and perhaps the most consistent big bass lake in the country, is in a time of transition said former Bassmaster Angler of the Year Gerald Swindle. Catching fish won’t be a problem for the anglers competing in the upcoming Big Bass Tour event, but sacking one of the giants might be. The coming cooler nighttime temperatures should accelerate the process, and should allow for a lot of different ways to get earn a check – or a boat.
“The wind is starting to break up the mats,” he said. “That should help the frog fishing improve. There’s simply not as much to cover, and frogging is one way to get paid.”
He’d also look to exploit an oversized topwater walking bait on the grass edges and in between the mats. While eelgrass has taken over sections of the lake, he’d focus on areas with hydrilla and milfoil, ideally a mix of the two, which provides the most distinct and gaping canopies. Narrowing it down further, he’d keep his boat between the center of the lake and the BB Comer bridge, a region that he feels has the greatest big fish potential. The key is to find sections that have life. When you hear bluegill popping, or see birds diving, that’s where you want to be. There are vast dead sections – when you get in one, and it doesn’t produce quickly, it's time to pull up stakes and head to somewhere with more bait and more activity. The best mats could be a foot deep or substantially deeper, but they’ll all share the common characteristic of being full of other members of the food chain.
“If you’re just trying to win the boat – and you don’t care as much about the hourly checks – I’d throw a big glide bait, something that represents a gizzard shad. Commit to it. You won’t get many bites during the day, but your chances of catching a really big fish go way up.”
Of course, there are plenty of other solid patterns on this grass-laden and structure-rich impoundment. Swindle said that the heavy line flippers can get their tungsten and creature baits ready and rely upon them all day. It’s a technique that he excels at, but would not necessarily rely upon this week, simply because it’s “tough to target big fish.” For the same reason, he’d avoid smaller crankbaits and vibrating jigs. They’ll produce bass, but it’s hard to ensure that you won’t be sorting through smaller specimens.
As the cooler nights persist, schooling action should start to pick up. Swindle said he’s already seen some of it, but he expects it to intensify in the near term. While these schools will occasionally feature some true big bass candidates, generally they will be full of smaller to midsize specimens. Anglers in search of an hourly prize can have a blast chasing them, but those exclusively focused on making the overall top ten should go with other patterns. “It’s easy to get distracted by them,” he said.
Swindle and his nephew have been jackpotting standalone night tournaments on the Big G in recent months, and he said it has consistently taken about 6 ¾ pounds to win the big fish prize. With the full field at Guntersville, expect it to take a bit more than that. In the history of the BBT there, it has never taken less than 7.37 pounds to win the boat. On the flip side of that, we haven’t seen a 9-pounder since 2015. While 8-pounders show up nearly every year, there will be lots of jockeying at the 7-pound mark to make the top 10. Focus on fish 6 pounds and above to earn the big money, but assume that a 4-pounder can get you something back.
To discover what baits are hot on Guntersville right now, tap this link: https://www.berkley-fishing.com/pages/lake-guntersville
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