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Bass, Crappie, Bluegill and Catfish – Guntersville’s Got It All with Captain Buddy Golden

Guntersville Has Got More than Just Bass and Plenty of ‘Em

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: You can get pulled out of the boat when you bass fish Lake Guntersville by the oversized bass that take your bait. Mark Menendez of Paducah, Kentucky, a bass fishing pro on the BASS Elite Series circuit, recently finished sixth at the BASS Elite Series Southern Pro Challenge held on Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Alabama. “Every day I fished there, I’d catch from 60 to 100 bass per day weighing 4-pounds each or more,” Menendez said. “Each day, I’d throw back five-fish limits, weighing 20 pounds or more. This is a phenomenal lake, and right now is the best time to fish it.” After hearing Menendez talk about the huge numbers of big bass at Lake Guntersville, I called my long-time friend Captain Dallas “Buddy” Golden, a guide at Lake Guntersville and professional-tournament fisherman, and requested a bass fishing trip. Golden, who’s fished Guntersville since the early 1980s and knows where to find the fish, promised not only to guide me to numbers of bass, but also to plenty of crappie, bluegills and catfish.

Phillips’ Question: Buddy, what’s an average day of bass fishing for you here on Lake Guntersville?
Golden: In an average day, we’ll catch and release 40 bass, and on a great day, we’ll catch about 100 bass. On Lake Guntersville, catching a 4- or a 5-pound bass isn’t difficult. Occasionally, you’ll catch a bonus Click to enlargebass weighing from 6- to 10-pounds each.

Phillips’ Question: How many days do you have to fish to catch a bass weighing from 6 to 10 pounds?
Golden: I’ve had a number of clients catch a 6 pounder on their first fishing trip to Guntersville. But if you fish the lake for one week, you should be able to catch a 6- to a 10-pound bass.

Phillips’ Question: How many crappie fishermen fish with you?
Golden: I get a lot of crappie fishermen. When the crappie are biting really good, we easily can catch a limit of big crappie. We often will catch 3-pound-plus crappie. I know there must be a state-record crappie swimming in Guntersville because there’s so much for them to eat.

Phillips’ Question: Guntersville isn’t known as a crappie lake, is it?
Golden: The local fishermen don’t think that because they wear the crappie out every year.Click to enlargeGuntersville has received a lot of publicity about the big bass holding in the lake, and a number of national bass tournaments are held here. So, the crappie fishing has been somewhat overlooked here. You need to be at some of these good crappie spots at 2:00 am, or someone else may get there before you and claim the spot. In some sections of the lake, the crappie fishing is phenomenal.

Phillips’ Question: What about the catfish in the lake?
Golden: The catfish are overshadowed by the number of large bass in the lake. Some lakes get a reputation for having one species of fish, so every one forgets about the other species of fish in the lake. A classic example is Weiss Lake on the Alabama-Georgia border. Weiss is known as the Crappie Fishing Capital of the World, and most people don’t know that Weiss Lake scores high in bass production every year and generally is ranked one of the top-10 bass fishing lakes in Alabama. Guntersville is known as one of the best big-bass lakes in the nation, and people don’t want to hear about how many crappie, catfish and bluegills come out of the lake. The lake’s reputation has been built on bass, but I know for certainClick to enlarge that it’s one of the best crappie, catfish and bluegill lakes anywhere. Many times we forget that crappie, catfish and even bluegills feed on some of the same bait as the bass. Therefore, if there’s plenty of bait in the lake to grow big bass, you can bet there’s plenty of bait in the lake to grow crappie, catfish and bluegills.

Phillips’ Question: What type of catfish do you catch here?
Golden: We catch 8- to 10-pound channel cats and 20-pound-plus yellow cats, as well as a number of blue cats. In an average day of fishing for catfish, you can fill-up a live well and be forced to leave the lake because you don’t have any room for more catfish. Catfishing is best at Guntersville at night during the summer months. Depending on how long you stay and how well the catfish are biting, you almost can fill up a 48-quart cooler any night.

To view a detailed description of my fishing trip at Guntersville, check out my Twitter page at If you want to see more pictures of the fish we caught at Guntersville, go to my Facebook page at To fish with Buddy Golden, call him at 256-603-9943, email, or visit

Tomorrow: Guntersville’s Got the Bass – Plenty of ‘Em and Big Ones, Too

Check back each day this week for more about "Bass, Crappie, Bluegill and Catfish – Guntersville’s Got It All with Captain Buddy Golden"

Day 1: Catching Fish from the Bank
Day 2: Dodging the GPS Pirates
Day 3: Guntersville Has Got More than Just Bass and Plenty of ‘Em
Day 4: Guntersville’s Got the Bass – Plenty of ‘Em and Big Ones, Too
Day 5: New Spot, New Bait, More Bass


Entry 510, Day 3