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

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

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, when’s the best time to catch the bluegills and the shellcrackers here at Guntersville?
Golden: Generally about 2 or 3 days on either side of the full moon from May until August Click to enlargewhen the bluegill and the shellcrackers start spawning is the most-productive time to catch them. Many of the pockets and the flats here on Guntersville have gravel beds, and that’s where these fish like to hold. We primarily catch shellcrackers on the pea- gravel beds and bluegills on the bottom pockets.

Phillips’ Question: You’re a tournament bass fisherman, too, aren’t you? How have you done here at Guntersville?
Golden: I’ve done really well over the years. I’ve had four, top-five finishes, and four top-10 finishes, and finished third in a Red Man Tournament here on the lake. I’ve had opportunities to win in every tournament I’ve fished, but I’ve had bad luck. The big ones always seem to get away from me during a tournament. When I wasn’t fishing a tournament, I caught two, 10-1/2-pounders. Several times I’ve had bigger bass on my line, but couldn’t bring them to the boat. I guess the reason the bass get so big here is because hooking them isn’t difficult, but landing them can be a really irritating proposition.

Phillips: After we finished bluegill fishing, Buddy and I went to fish some flats not 200 yards Click to enlargefrom where we fished for bluegills. Golden put down his Heddon Zara Spook and started fishing with a Strike King spinner bait. The day was overcast. Although we startedfishing this flat at about 10:30 am, I thought the bass still would hit a Zara Spook. So, I picked up Buddy’s Zara Spook and started fishing. I hadn’t made more than 25 casts when I caught a 5-1/2-pounder. About 10 minutes later, I caught a 4-1/2-pounder. “Gimme that Zara Spook back; I need to be throwing it,” Buddy said laughing. “Okay,” I told him. “I was about to ask you for that Strike King spinner bait anyway,” So, Buddy started casting the Zara Spook and I began fishing the spinner bait. Within 10 minutes of the swap, I caught a 4-1/2-pounder on the spinner bait after reeling the lure through the grass slowly and letting it tick the top of the milfoil. Buddy caught a 4 pounder on the Zara Spook, and for about 1-1/2- to 2 hours, we caught five to 10 largemouth in the 4-pound range on these two baits.

“I’ve got a new Strike King Wake Shad,” I told Buddy. “I’ve never had the chance to fish it, but it swims right on top of the water. It’s a big bait, and I believe it will catch big bass. So,Click to enlarge I’ll give it a try.” When Buddy saw the Wake Shad swimming just above the grass at Guntersville, he said, “I know that bait will catch bass. I’m sure you won’t be taking that lurehome but instead will be leaving that it with me.” Four casts later, I caught another 4-1/2-pound largemouth on the Wake Shad, and after catching two more bass on the same lure, Buddy said, “Here, John, you fish the spinner bait, and I’ll fish the Wake Shad.” I grinned, gave-up the bait and watched Buddy catch a couple of nice-sized bass. For 2 or 3 hours, we caught really-nice-size bass on a flat in front of a marina, fishing the Strike King Wake Shad, the Heddon Zara Spook and the Strike King spinner bait. Then four or five other boats moved onto the flat where we fished and started catching bass. “Since there are a number of people fishing here, let’s go to my other hot spot,” Buddy said. I agreed. Buddy cranked up the boat, and we went looking for bass.

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: New Spot, New Bait, More Bass

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 4