John's Journal...

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

New Spot, New Bait, More Bass

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: As we started into a new bay to fish, my guide and friend Captain Dallas “Buddy” Golden suggested we fish around a small island on the way into the bay. Knowing that Mark Menendez of Paducah, Kentucky, tournament bass fishermen, had caught a large number of bass on a Strike King Series 5 crankbait in the Sexy Shad color on Lake Guntersville in a recent BASS Elite Series tournament, I pulled out one of my Series 5 crankbaits in the Sexy Shad color and started casting it. Sexy Shad was the color of the wake bait both Buddy and I had success with early in the day. I saw no reason to change the color pattern just - because I’d changed the type of bait I was fishing. This crankbait will run 8- to 10-feet deep, but I was running it in the 6- to 8-foot-water depth when I got a bite. “I got one,” I told Buddy and I brought another 4-1/2-pound largemouth to the boat. Before he asked, I asked Buddy if he wanted to use my crankbait. He said, “No, I’ll stay with the Strike King Wake Shad in the Sexy Shad color.” We caught a couple more 4- to 5-pound largemouth in that creek and then returned to the area where we’d fished earlier.

Phillips’ Question: Buddy, how many bass could we have caught if we just fished for bass all day?Click to enlarge
Golden: We had a rainy, overcast day to start, and then the sun brightened, the temperatures warmed-up, and we had a pretty day to fish. We probably caught about 20 or 30 bass plus all the bluegills we wanted to catch, several nice-sized crappie, a white bass and a warmouth bream. Or, if we’d fished hard all day just for bass, I’m sure we easily could have caught 40 or 50. I usually can produce as many bass as a fisherman wants to catch every day he wants to fish at Guntersville. This lake is a phenomenal fishery, and 2009 is one of the best years we’ve had at Guntersville for bass fishing. Most people only know about the bass fishing here and don’t realize we have a productive crappie, bluegill, catfish and saltwater striper fishery. I like guiding on this lake because I usually can produce a variety of species of fish for an angler on any given day. That makes not only fishing fun, but guiding fun.

Phillips’ Question: From where do your bass fishermen generally come?
Golden: They come from all over the United States. We generally have a BASS Elite Series here, as well as an FLW tournament and a few other tournaments, like the Stren Series and the Red Man Series, about every year. So, the word’s out that Guntersville is a big-bass lake, and people from all over the nation come here to catch the bass of a lifetime. However, one of the problems and the blessings at Guntersville is the grass.Click to enlarge

Phillips’ Question: How is the grass a problem and a blessing?
Golden: Everywhere you look, you’ll find grass that should be holding bass. So, everywhere on the lake looks like it will be good site to catch bass, and most places are holding bass. But the people who catch the most bass on the lake either really know how to study maps and use a GPS receiver to mark locations where they find bass. Or, they hire a guide who knows the lake and understands where to find the bass throughout the year. The grass produces a number of baitfish and provides good cover for bass to grow to the larger sizes. We’ve found that without the grass, we don’t have nearly as many big bass as we have when the grass is growing and doing well. Guntersville is a phenomenal place to bass fish. The crappie fishing’s great, as well as the bluegill fishing and the catfishing. But most people come to Guntersville because the bass fishing here is world class. Mark Menendez says he’s never seen as many big bass caught outside of Texas or California than right here at Guntersville, and now Guntersville is starting to even challenge those big-bass lakes.

Phillips: After spending a day in the boat with Buddy, he delivered on every promise he made. Click to enlargeWe caught plenty of big bass weighing up to 5-1/2-pounds, fat crappie and chunky bluegills. If we’d just been bass fishing, we probably would have put a 6 pounder in the boat, but because I like to fish for a number of different types of fish and wanted to know the fishing potential of Guntersville, besides just its bass-fishing potential, we spent a good portion of the day catching bluegills and crappie, as well as bass. That’s the reason I like Lake Guntersville. If you’re a hard-core bass fisherman, you can wear-out the big bass. If you want to catch crappie, bluegills and catfish to eat, you can catch plenty of these species or all of them on what Buddy calls an “eater trip.”  I promise this won’t be my last trip to Guntersville this spring, summer or fall. Anytime I have a free day, I’ll be headed to Guntersville.

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

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 5