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Gerald Swindle is professional bass fishing’s funniest man, and one of only 11 men in history to win the prestigious Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points title more than once. Swindle is also a former 3-sport athlete from Locust Fork High School in Alabama, and he took time just before blast-off Friday morning to talk bass fishing and football.

   

 Q: As a professional angler, you’re your own head coach and quarterback on the water. What was your best ‘play call’ yesterday?

 Swindle: I’d say it was my decision to keep moving around as much as possible on this little 7,000-acre reservoir. Not staying in one spot very long.

 

Q: When it comes to rods, reels, and lures – who were your most valuable players on Day 1?

 Swindle: A Quantum Smoke HD baitcasting reel with a large spool full of 30-pound braided line to help me cast a Rapala topwater walking bait a long way, and a Shaky Head on a Quantum 6’ 10” Vapor spinning rod were my two star players yesterday.

 

Q: September is one of the toughest months of the year for bass anglers throughout much of the Southern U.S. – give fans some advice on how to beat bass fishing’s “September Blues.”

 Swindle: No matter how hot the weather may be during the day, just remember, the nights are getting cooler, and that means there’s always going to be a few more bass moving shallow each day. So don’t give up on the shallow bite, and also expect to take advantage of schooling fish with a topwater in September too.

 

Q: You started fishing about half-a-football field away from the official tournament launch ramp yesterday, will you start there again today?

 Swindle: Yep, because I know that a lot of local tournaments release bass from this ramp, so I’m not ashamed to fish for bass that have already been caught, I’m just putting myself in a high-percentage patch of water to start the day.

Q: What was your best position as a high school football player for the Locust Fork Hornets?

 Swindle: I played a little bit of everything, but cornerback was probably my best position.

  

Q: Will the Alabama Crimson Tide go undefeated this season, and win another National Championship?

 Swindle: Yes.

  

Q: Baker Mayfield helped the Cleveland Browns get their first win in 635 days last night. What do you think about that?

 Swindle: Yea, I saw that, but I’m still not a Mayfield fan.

 

  Alan McGuckin

Posted By Lisa Adams

Swindle says Lake Travis is full of fish

May 14, 2018 12:00:00 PM EDT

Gerald Swindle has no history with Lake Travis. He’d never seen the gorgeous 18,000 acre reservoir along the Colorado River in the Texas Hill Country until arriving for practice on Mother’s Day.

But after another long 12-hour day of practice, he likes what he sees.

“Well, I just saw a woman swim across the cove with her Larbradoodle, that was interesting. And they dang sure like to party on this lake, even on a Monday,” says the hilarious Team Toyota pro.

“It’s also full of fish. I think it’s gonna surprise people what we catch here this week. There’s a ton of bass swimming here. The challenge will be getting that big bite or two to separate yourself from the pack,” he explains.

Water temps are ranging 77 to 80. It’s full post-spawn mode, and how you choose to catch them is up to you. Swindle says most of the baitfish he saw on Lake Travis  were super tiny shoreline minnows.

“You name it – we’ll be throwing it this week,” says Swindle. “Drop shot, Ned Rig, a casting jig, Shaky head, spinnerbaits, swimbaits, deep cranking -- it’s all in play this week.”

Swindle piloted his Tundra roughly 14 hours to get to Austin after saying a brutally tough, heartbreaking goodbye to his dog Myrick, but Lake Travis has been reason to smile again for the highly accomplished Quantum pro.

“Grand Lake and Kentucky Lake, where we just came from, were places I’d been many times before, but bites were tough to come by,” says Swindle.

 “We weighed-in big bags, but bites were real tough to get. Coming here to Travis was a long drive, but kind of cool like getting a Christmas present. You’re excited to unwrap it, and see what you got, and so far, I like what we’ve got here.”

 “I think one of the reasons Lake Travis is good is because there’s not a lot of fishing pressure. Now look, there’s party pressure – if the bass bit Bud Light cans here they’d be in trouble, because these locals know how to party - especially with the weather being so hot this week – like hotter than Miranda Lambert in yoga pants,” he concluded. 

 

  Alan McGuckin

Posted By Lisa Adams

  

Team Toyota’s Gerald Swindle is very aware that the Fish Head Spin lure has a legendary reputation on Lake Hartwell, but don’t count on him throwing it. Instead he’ll dance with the girls that got him to his impressive 17th Bassmaster Classic, and he feels good about it.

 “I suck at throwing the Fish Head Spin, because any lure you gotta fish slower than I was at second grade math in 30 feet of water, is not a lure I need to be competing with during the biggest tournament in the world,” says Swindle.

 “An NFL team doesn’t make it to the Super Bowl, and then change their whole offense the night before the game, and I’m not going to either,” illustrates the 2-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year.

 Swindle’s also decided he’s not going into the lawn care business anytime soon either - mostly because he hates raking leaves – especially with his crankbait.

 “The water levels rose very slowly here at Hartwell, so instead of flushing last fall’s leaves out, the bottom is just littered with them, and that’ll make a man cuss when every cast comes back with leaves on his hooks. So I’m throwing a Rapala DT 6 that runs 6-feet deep into 10 and 12 feet of water,” reasons Swindle.

 That approach seems to be in direct conflict with crankbaiting basics that preach the importance of making bottom contact with your lure. But Swindle says Hartwell is different.

 “I’ve been fishing Hartwell since long before I was a full time pro, and the strong presence of blueback herring here in recent years has changed the ballgame. Instead of bass looking on the bottom for crawfish, they’re always looking upward for schools of blueback herring near the surface. So winding that DT 6 through the middle of the water column makes perfect sense here,” he says.

 Swindle will crank with 12-pound Sunline, tied to a 6.1:1 Quantum Smoke S3 reel SM100SPT , and a medium light 7’ 0” Quantum Smoke rod SMC704F. “I don’t want a medium action rod, I want a medium light, because I want the rod to be super forgiving when they eat the crankbait,” he explains.

 The vibrating blade bait or Chatterbait will also be a strong part of his Classic lineup. Mostly because he can fish it fast and cover water.

 “I’m not on a school of fish where I can catch five keepers in a 30 yard stretch. So I need to cover three miles of shoreline that’s covered in dogfennel vegetation, and there’s not many lures that I can cover water faster with than a Chatterbait,” says Swindle.

 Swindle’s hardware for Chatterbaits includes 16-pound line, the affordable 7’ 2” G Force rod he designed for Quantum, and a Smoke S3 6.1:1 reel that’s slow enough to help him keep the lure down in the water column just a bit.

There’s a huge number of fans who would love to see Swindle win his first Classic – and if he does, you can bet he’ll be running the same “offense” that’s led to a highly decorated career thus far. 

  

  Alan McGuckin

Posted By Lisa Adams

One year ago, the pressure Gerald and LeAnn Swindle felt during Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship week on Mille Lacs was on par with a Crimson Tide pass rush.

 The couple persevered, they prayed, they leaned on each other, and they limped out of the pocket to score Gerald’s second career Toyota Angler of the Year title.

 This week on Mille Lacs, the pressure is gone. So much so that LeAnn had to step through a line of fans and media at Day 1 launch to jokingly remind Gerald of their rule: “No talk of deer hunting on tournament day.”

 Now don’t get the wrong idea, “Lulu” loves to hunt. But as she kindly explains, “He gets distracted easily, especially when deer season gets close to tournament season, so sometimes I have to step in and remind him of our rule, especially when I see him showing-off trail camera pictures five minutes before tournament blast-off.”

 The couple has shared 13 great years of marriage, and time in the deer woods together is a treasured part of their matrimony. In fact, they stopped at the 200-acre hunting property they lease in Illinois as they traveled from home in Alabama to Mille Lacs.

 “Yep, I spent all last Thursday afternoon, and all day Friday, planting ‘green fields’ with my son-in-law Zach to get us ready for deer season, before we came on up to Mille Lacs,” says Swindle with a joyful grin.

 “I was telling Dan Quinn from Rapala this morning not to get too concerned about not seeing a lot of deer on trail cameras right now in September, because this time of year they’re still eating natural food sources, and they don’t come to food you put out in front of a camera near as much as they will later in the fall. They’re like smallmouth on a sonar screen. Sometimes they hug the bottom so close you can’t see ‘em – but that don’t mean they aren’t there,” explains the Quantum pro.

 A couple weeks from now Swindle will kick off the hunting season with a Montana elk hunting trip, followed by time in a treestand for Illinois whitetail. 

 “The thing I’m looking forward to most this year in hunting season is not walking with a bad limp. I feel healthy. Heck, last year I had to kill a 140” buck with one crutch under my arm,” says Swindle.

 But first, there is a bass tournament taking place in Central Minnesota. And this year, it’s a tournament the Swindles are enjoying far more.

 “This week last year was the single most stressful week of our married life,” admits LeAnn. “There were tears, there were prayers, and there was stress like we’d never experienced.”

 But this week the Swindles are relaxed, just jockeying for a few more Angler of the Year points, sharing life off the water with their old buddy Skeet Reese, and showing-off big buck pictures on a cell phone – well, at least until “Lulu” reminded “G” of their rule.

 

  Alan McGuckin

 

Posted By Lisa Adams

Swindle talks AOY, knees, guitars, and Mille Lacs

September 13, 2017 12:00:00 AM EDT

One year ago in mid-September, Gerald Swindle became only the 11th professional bass angler in history to win more than one Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title when he hauled home the coveted trophy to Alabama from Lake Mille Lacs, Minnesota.

 He’s back at Mille Lacs this week for the same event, and he sits solidly near the top of the year-end points race in 14th place. He graciously took time at the end of a long practice day, on a mosquito laden boat ramp, to reflect on memories of Mille Lacs last year, as well as the challenges and triumphs he’s experienced since.

 

 

When you reflect back on Mille Lacs a year ago, what do you remember most?

 “There are a couple things that stand out. First, was just physically touching that trophy, and all the emotion tied to finally knowing it was mine, but also how much pressure “Lulu” and I dealt with that week, and the toll it took on her and me,” he reflects. “I think she wore out two pair of blue jeans that week praying. There was definitely a serious feeling of relief when that week was finally over.”

 Soon after winning the AOY title, and being at the sport’s pinnacle, you found yourself in a hospital bed facing deeply concerning and unexpected complications from what was expected to be a fairly routine knee surgery – how are your knees doing now?

 “They’re pretty good. I’d say they’re at 85% compared to about 40% and a whole lot of Advil this time last year,” grinned the Quantum pro.

 What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to your life as a direct result of being the reigning Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year?

 “No huge changes, really. The big things have never really jumped out at me – it’s the smaller but hugely meaningful things that go a long way with me, like kids writing me letters, or the custom guitar made for me by Duane Calkins’ woodshop class that I love the most,” says Swindle.

 You’ve had another awesome season this year, what’s been the biggest key to keeping you atop your game?

 “I think we’ve focused even more on fishing this year. I mean, we’ve worked hard for our sponsors off the water, but we’ve tried even harder to keep our eye on the ball, and focused on the game itself,” says the Lake Guntersville resident.

 Let’s talk about this week. Give us the unfiltered “G-Man” pregame analysis of what fans can expect this week on Mille Lacs.

 “I think you’ll see a lot of decent weights again. But like an Alabama football score, just because the numbers on the scoreboard indicate a big win, doesn’t mean the game itself won’t be a grind,” says Swindle. “You’ll see a few 25-pound bags, but not as many as last year. There seems to be an algae bloom that’s making the water a bit cloudier, and with smallmouth being such sight-oriented feeders, I think it’s slowed the bite down just a little. I think a 23-pound per day average can win this week.”

 Knee health to algae blooms. Custom guitars to college football. Life’s always in proper perspective for Gerald Swindle. 

 

  Alan McGuckin

 

Posted By Lisa Adams

Gerald Swindle tells stories of days prior to turning pro 20 years ago when he’d frame houses in the unmerciful hot Alabama sun, then throw down the hammer he hated late in the day just in time to go chase summer largemouth in evening jackpot tournaments.

 Two remarkable Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles later, and $2 Million in career winnings since his house-framing days, Swindle still drops the hammer on summer largemouth, and he graciously shares his picks for three lures he leans on most for the start of summer.

 Deep Diving Crankbait – By ‘deep’ Swindle is talking about a diving plug like a Strike King 6XD or Rapala DT16 that will touch bottom in 10 to 15 feet of water before bass get to the mega-depths of mid to late summer.

 “You’re trying to locate where those first groups of fish are setting-up after the spawn, and a plug that will get down to 15-feet is not only a great fish catcher – but also a great ‘fish finder’ – plus it’s a lure you can cover a lot of water with,” says Swindle.

 Swindle cranks with a 5.3:1 Quantum Smoke HD reel that is geared low enough to tow these larger crankbaits, and it also has a larger spool for plenty of line capacity for the long casts he desires to make with 12-pound fluorocarbon. His rod choice is a highly-affordable new $99 7-foot long medium action stick he just designed for Quantum called a G-Force.

 Buckeye Ballin’ Out jig – “This is a lure I’ve made a lot of money on, and I really like it when the bass first finish spawning because it seems like they’re a little finicky after they’ve been pressured up shallow for the past three months. And they’re more likely to bite a smaller bait like this,” reasons Swindle.

 Swindle uses these little round-headed jigs in weights of 3/8 to ½ ounce with skirt colors typically involving several strands of brown. His favorite trailer is a Zoom Z Craw Junior in shades of green pumpkin. His line choice is 16-pound Sunline fluorocarbon.

 “I also like this little jig for its versatility,” says Swindle. “I can throw it to the edge of a grass line, drag it across a hard rocky bottom, or skip it around a shaded dock, and always feel like I’ve got a good chance of getting a bite.”

  Zoom Magnum Trick Worm – A lot of anglers know that summer and oversized Texas-rigged worms go together like beaches and sunscreen, but Swindle puts a new spin on this time-proven offering by choosing Zoom’s oversized straight tail worm instead of a ribbontail. And instead of Texas-rigging it, he uses a football-style head.

 “Buckeye Lures makes ½ to ¾ ounce jig head that’s made for a big worm like that, and unlike a Texas rig, that football head with that straight tail worm won’t twist your line,” explains Swindle.

 “It’s a little different than the Texas-rigged worms guys have been throwing since before I was born, and it seems like when the bite gets a little tough you can drag it real slow to maintain contact with the bottom to get a few extra bites,” he says.

 He uses somewhat lighter 12 to 14 pound fluorocarbon to help it get down to that 10 to 15’ zone he says is the foundation to framing-up early summer success. 

 

  Alan McGuckin

 

Posted By Lisa Adams

Swindle: Conroe Will Be a Texas-Sized Test

March 21, 2017 12:00:00 AM EDT

 

Amid a Facebook Live post Monday night, reigning Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Gerald Swindle contemplated aloud, “If everything’s bigger in Texas, then maybe the shrimp here could be the size of squirrels.”

Squirrel-sized shrimp – the outcome of Swindle’s famous humor, blended with his sometimes-bizarre creative thinking.

But while all the talk leading into this 2017 Bassmaster Classic has been about records being broken – Swindle’s not sure the 23-pounds per day that VanDam averaged to win in New Orleans in 2011 is truly in jeopardy here.

Fishing Pressure – “The boat traffic here is as intense as anywhere we’ve ever competed,” says Swindle.

While he’s competed on Conroe in four previous Toyota Texas Bass Classics, those were autumn events, when fishing pressure was far less.

A “Big Bass” tournament already had 900 people fishing on Conroe earlier this month. And while this lake is hugely popular for bass fishing, add-in all the pleasure boat traffic between its seawalls, and it’s understandable the largemouth are likely to be a bit more fickle in March than October.

“It took 27 pounds to win a team event here the other day, but I’ve got a feeling some of those fish may have come from spawning beds, and honestly there’s just not much clear water here to focus on catching spawning fish for three days,” says Swindle.

Fat Singles Versus Big Schools – While Swindle says there are bass in all three phases of the spawn right now; the likelihood of finding an offshore mega-school is a long shot.

“This lake has never been a place with numerous schools of big fish – it’s got some giant bass in it – but it’s not like the Tennessee River where several guys can locate a school that might have a giant limit of fish in it,” he explains.

Worth noting is the 16” minimum length limit on Conroe which not only increases the challenge of catching a keeper-sized bass, but obviously increases the average weight of a 5-bass limit compared to most reservoirs B.A.S.S. visits where a 14” minimum length limit is more common.

5 Lures for 5 Fish Each Day – When asked to name five lures fans could expect to see most of the 52 competitors using this week, Swindle promptly rattled off the following as though you had asked for his phone number: ChatterBait, Spinnerbait, Jigs, Strike King Series 5 crankbaits, and a weightless Senko.

Finally, We’re Not Freezing – For years the Bassmaster Classic was a summertime event, but in 2006, it was moved to the February-March timeframe, and that’s brought frostbite threatening temperatures to venues like Tulsa, Oklahoma and Greenville, South Carolina.

It’s also brought a run of less than optimal performances for Swindle in the late winter derbies.

 “I’ve qualified for 9 of the 11 Classics they’ve had in the winter, and if we’d have been dove hunting, I wouldn’t have cut a feather,” he says with self-depreciating humor.

 “I’ve laid down a whole string of 26 and 27th place finishes, but finally I’ve got a Classic where I can feel comfortable enough to move around and make something happen,” he says.

 “When it’s 15-degrees outside, and you’ve got hand warmers taped to the handles of your Quantum spinning rods, you’re just waiting on something good to happen,” says Swindle. “But when it’s 80-degrees outside, a guy like me feels like he can run around and make something good happen – and that’s a really big deal.”

 “Nope, not gonna complain about the weather – that’s for sure,” says Swindle. “For the first time in years, you’ll actually be able to see who my sponsors are, because I won’t be dressed in long johns and covered up like an Eskimo.”

What Will it Take to Win? – “I’m gonna say if you average 20-pounds per day you could win,” says Swindle. Which is significantly less than what VanDam won with in New Orleans six years ago.

 “There may be a 30-pound limit weighed-in here, and it just might be me – but you’re not gonna see those giant limits caught everyday.”

“I know this, I’m boat #1 at morning takeoff – and that counts for a lot here too,” grinned Swindle, who earned that top position as reigning Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year.

A shot at a 30-pound limit, shrimp the size of squirrels, and tall thermometers with high temps in the 80s – maybe everything is just a little bit bigger in Texas.

 

Alan McGuckin

 

Posted By Lisa Adams

Custom Rigging Chatterbaits with G-MAN

February 23, 2017 12:00:00 AM EST

Posted By Lisa Adams

G-MAN's Shoreline Crankbait Tips

February 17, 2017 12:00:00 AM EST

Posted By Lisa Adams

 

Professional bass fishing’s funniest man, Gerald Swindle of Guntersville, Alabama, just joined a seriously exclusive list of only 11 men to ever win the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title more than once throughout the award’s highly respected 46 year history.

 Swindle won his first AOY title in 2004. And while he struggled atypically in this year’s final tournament, the remarkable (6) Top 12 finishes he scored among nine regular season Elite Series events heading into the Toyota Angler of the Year Championship at Mille Lacs, provided a critical mathematical cushion when he needed it most.

 “I feel like winning Angler of the Year twice in my career puts me in a really special group of anglers,” says Swindle in humble fashion. “It’s an absolute dream come true, for sure.”

 On the eve of claiming his historic second Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title, the “G Man” was asked about the moments he’ll remember most, and the equipment he leaned on heavily while cashing checks in every single event of this season.

 “The most memorable moment was at Wheeler in April when I caught a 7-pounder on a buzzbait in the middle of the afternoon on a day when I’d had been struggling pretty bad until that point,” reflected Swindle. “That fish came as a result of trusting my intuition, and making a critical change late in the day.”

 “It’s always difficult to pick one lure that you leaned on most, but there’s no doubt the Zoom Z Craw was the bait I used just about everywhere we went– mainly because it’s so versatile,” says Swindle. “I’ve used it as a jig trailer, I’ve threaded it on the hook of a buzzbait, and I’ve straight-up Texas rigged it with a 7/16 ounce weight.”

 Such was certainly the case at Swindle’s very best finish of the year. He finished 3rd at BASSfest on Texoma largely by pitching a Zoom Z Craw on a heavyweight Quantum rod and their new Smoke HD reel. “I’ve been with Quantum a long time, and I’m not sure they’ve ever made a reel that I’ve felt as strong about as that one,” says Swindle. “Smoke HD has a big, smooth casting spool in a low profile frame, and as simple as this may sound - I love the fact we put a huge handle on it because I never got caught with my hands out of position when a good one bit this year.”

 Indeed Swindle’s grip on the handle of the 2016 Bassmaster Elite Series Season was firmer than any of the world’s top anglers, and with (52) Top 10 career finishes, 16 Bassmaster Classic qualifications, and now two very rare Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year titles to his credit, he marks his place in bass fishing history as one of the greatest to ever cast a line.  

 

Alan McGuckin

 

Posted By Lisa Adams

Swindle Buoyed by Humor to Begin Day 2 at Mille Lacs

September 16, 2016 12:00:00 AM EDT

 

Gerald Swindle wasn’t himself on Day 1 of the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship at Mille Lacs. Humor is his gift, and he just wasn’t funny Thursday. He was wound tighter than 4-pound braid on a size 10 spinning reel prior to takeoff, and at day’s end he told fans at weigh-in, “Today was the first day all year that I really felt stressed.”

 The results proved it. His 9-pound catch marked one of his worst days in what’s otherwise been an absolutely awesome season that put him first in the AOY points race coming into this event.

 So in a soupy Day 2 fog delay, anglers lined-up to help their fellow competitor recover from yesterday.

 Drew Benton invited Swindle to come fish the point where the newly crowned Rookie of the Year wrecked ‘em yesterday. Living legend Gary Klein showed Swindle the exact bait and boat dock pattern to use if he got desperate. And Chris Zaldain offered the strangest and most humorous boost, when he offered Swindle a sandwich bag full of water complete with a live leech he’d just found on the dock.

 Apparently, the man who preaches Positive Mental Attitude had a long talk with himself last night. Swindle was back to being bass fishing’s funniest man on Friday, and that’s a super-good sign for all those that love and cheer for the former house framer.

 “It was just me, Lulu, and the dogs last night,” says Swindle. “She cooked us breakfast for dinner. Scrambled eggs and toast, but no whomp ‘em biscuits. They don’t seem to sell those in grocery stores around here.”

 Whomp ‘em biscuits?

 “Yea, you know the kind that come in that tube and you whomp ‘em on the counter and they bust open?” he quizzed, as those within earshot cracked-up as they typically do when Swidle talks.

 However Swindle offered no comical excuses for his poor performance yesterday. “Nope, I had just as much practice time to figure ‘em out as the guys who caught 23-pounds yesterday,” says Swindle. “I didn’t have a great practice, and I guess it showed.”

 “Today is a brand new day, I’ve got two size 25 Quantum spnning reels for drop shotting, and I’ll fish a lot deeper today, like 671-feet if I have to,” he quipped in far more typical Swindle tone.

 The deepest spot on Mille Lacs is about 42-feet, so Swindle should have plenty of line on his spool. Mostly, he’s got a boatload of desire and humor to begin Day 2, and that’s what Swindle needs most to win his second Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title. 

 

Alan McGuckin

 

Posted By Lisa Adams
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