John's Journal...


Click to enlargeTurning The Tables at Table Rock

Editor'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.

Leaving Guntersville, Swindle headed for Arkansas' Table Rock Lake, a lake he'd never even seen before and had very little idea of how and where to fish. The night before the first day of the tournament, a huge rainstorm rolled onto the lake, and the rain came down in torrents. "During practice, I found a few fish, but I really didn't have anything fancy," Swindle says. "I was rooming with Marty Stone, another competitor, and as we laid in the beds and listened to the rain, Marty Click to enlargekept asking me, 'What are you going to do tomorrow, Gerald, and how are you going to fish?' I gave Marty my standard answer, 'Buddy, I don't know. The water and weather conditions are constantly changing as we speak. So, I don't have any idea of what I'm going to do tomorrow. I assume that with this warm water coming into the lake, the bass will move out of the deep water and up into some shallow-water runoffs. But I don't know where I'll find those places to fish. I don't even have a clue as to where to look for a place to fish.' "

The next morning, as Gerald Swindle walked toward the boathouse Click to enlargewhere he had his boat, he noticed that the boathouse walkway had flooded. He saw a big mat of leaves, sticks, brush and what looked like sawdust inside the boathouse and realized that much debris in the boathouse meant that somewhere close to the boathouse runoff water was coming into the lake. Swindle got into his boat and headed for the takeoff site before daylight, all the time wondering the origin of that runoff water. When the tournament started, instead of racing up and down the lake, Swindle turned his boat around and headed back to the boathouse where he kept his boat parked, less than 1/8-mile from the takeoff site.

"That first morning, I caught a 3-1/2-pound and a 2-1/2-pound largemouth in the little runoff above the boathouse," Swindle remembers. "The second day I followed the same pattern and caught two more bass in the little runoff above the boathouse. The third day of the tournament I caught a 7-1/2-pound largemouth fishing that same runoff. Each day after catching nice bass behind the boathouse, I'd search for runoffs and fish them. I caught all my bass using a Wiggle Click to enlargeWort crankbait and an Arkie Jig and fishing those runoffs just as I had at Smith Lake."

At the end of the Table Rock tournament, Swindle picked up a check for third place and became the leader in the 2004 Angler-of-the-Year race. "When I learned I was leading in the points championship, I said to myself, 'Oh, I can't believe you're leading the points championship and in first place for Angler of the Year.' I still couldn't think about winning Angler of the Year."

From Table Rock Swindle returned to his home state and fished Lake Eufaula where once again his instincts proved reliable.



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 2