John's Journal...


The Secret to Winning With Gerald Swindle-Part II

Dreading Lake Guntersville

Click to enlargeEditor's Note: Thirty-four-year-old Gerald Swindle of Hayden, Alabama, this year's BASS Angler of the Year, has lived the American dream in the last 12 years. As a $12,000-a-year carpenter, Swindle dreamed of earning a living as a professional bass fisherman. This year, Swindle already has earned more than $1/2-million in his chosen sport. If he stays on track, he may earn $1 million before December 31, 2004.

The next stop for Gerald Swindle in his quest for 2004 Angler-of-the-Year was Lake Guntersville in northeast Alabama. When most professional bass fishermen go to Lake Guntersville in northeast Alabama for a tournament, they head to the lake with a great deal of excitement and anticipation. Historically, Lake Guntersville has produced a large number of really-big bass for just about every major tournament that fishes there. Many anglers dream of fishing a tournament at Lake Guntersville because they know, even if they don't Click to enlargewin, that more than likely, they'll come in with a big bag of bass and look good going through the weigh-in. But Swindle didn't look forward to the Lake Guntersville Tournament at all. "I've always gotten my butt kicked at Guntersville," Swindle explains. "For some reason, some of the worst tournaments I've ever had have been on this lake. So, I really wasn't excited at all to be fishing at Guntersville."

On the first day of the tournament, Swindle caught 18 pounds of bass fishing a lipless crankbait and made the top 25. However, he admits, "I had a horrible day of fishing. I found a big school of big bass, but I lost every big fish that bit my bait. After the weigh-in, I was so frustrated that I couldn't get my mental concentration right to be prepared to fish the next day." On the second day, Swindle seemed to totally lose his bass-Click to enlargefishing ability. He couldn't find bass or catch them. None of his lures or strategies worked. He just couldn't pull his fishing together or this water in this weather condition.' However, that little voice kept telling me to find that bait, tie it on, and start casting it. I sat there in the boat for two or three minutes and argued with myself about that stupid crankbait. Finally, I said, 'I'll tie the bait on, make a few casts and then be done with it.' On the very first cast with that goofy-looking red crankbait, I caught an 8-pound largemouth. That one fish with the three other bass I had in the boat put me in 30th place for the tournament and kept me in the top 10 in the Angler-of-the-Year race.

"Yet I still wasn't thinking of the possibilities of winning Angler of the Year. At that time and at the end of that tournament, I was just hoping to fish well enough to be selected to fish in the Elite 50 Tournament circuit that BASS had introduced this year. I knew that if I could stay in the top Click to enlarge10 in the Angler-of-the-Year race, I'd have an opportunity to fish in that Elite 50 Tournament circuit. I believed that earning the right to compete with the Elite 50 was the very best I could do. This year was the first that BASS had picked 50-bass fishermen and announced to the world that these fishermen were the best in the nation. I really wanted to be one of those 50-best bass fishermen in the world, and there was some really-good prize money offered to the anglers who competed in that Elite 50 Tournament circuit. At the end of the Lake Guntersville tournament, I was happy that I might have a chance to compete with the best 50 bass fishermen in the nation."


Check back each day this week for more about The Secret to Winning With Gerald Swindle-Part II ...

Day 1 - Dreading Lake Guntersville
Day 2 - Turning The Tables at Table Rock
Day 3 - Betting On The Alabama Beds
Day 4 - Last Stop on the BASS Circuit-Santee Cooper
Day 5 - Gerald Swindle-2004 BASS Angler of the Year



Entry 260, Day 1