Lake Guntersville, Guntersville, AL
Since I moved so close to Guntersville, I decided to throw my money in for this event even though I wasn’t fishing the entire series. Being that Guntersville is an awesome fishery and only about two cups of coffee from my new home, I had figured I’d have all the time in the world to practice for this event.
Nothing ever works out the way I expected. Instead, I spent a good part of the winter down in Florida and then had my boat in getting serviced due to a small piece of wood that I had accidently gotten lodged in my return line and kept dropping lower units and melting prop hubs.
The week of the tournament and I was in Tulsa, Oklahoma working the Bassmaster Classic and as soon as that was wrapped, I drove through the night to get my boat and was finally on old G’ville bright and early Tuesday morning with a day and half to get things figured out.
It didn’t take any time at all as I was having no problems catching fish and the size was there and was feeling good about my odds of putting together a good sack. I found some new submergent milfoil clumps that were only in about 3-5 feet that was holding a nice school of four pound bass. I also found some rock areas that were close to secondary channels. These rocks were holding the right ones and they were jumping all over Outkast Touch Down Jigs and shaky head worms.
Day one and I had a late flight. The weather had taken a swing from bad to worse with temps in the 30’s. I stubbed my toe right away with a bad decision as I knew my grass fish would most likely shut down if they hadn’t already and made the choice to stop there and try to bust one or two from that school first thing. I sat there for a good hour trying to force a bite and only got one short strike on a jig.
I left that area and ran to my rocks only to find another boat sitting there. The entire area was good but there was a juicy spot that was the prime meat and every time I’d try to work my way to it, the other competitor would do a great job at keeping me at bay. I watched him catch a solid 5 and one about 8 and I finally forfeited the spot. It was my mistake not going there right away. I let my head get the best of me and got greedy when I should have just used common sense from the get go.
At about noon, I had only a few strikes and no bass in the livewell when I decided to abandon that bite and instead focus on a creek channel that was holding good fish. I put the jigs down and picked up a Hog Farmer Bait Company 5 Wire 8 Blade Alabama Rig with 4″ Biovex Kolt Ridgetail Swimbaits. I cranked up my Hydrowave to full sound and went to work. I managed 3 bass for almost 12 pounds including a 6 pound kicker. Unfortunately I was unable to weigh a full limit and basically threw myself out of contention on day one.
Day two, I knew I had an outside shot of getting a check with a huge day. I decided to get back to the same area where I caught those three and stay there all day with the Hog Farmer Rig. Even though I had gotten to the “juice”first, I decided to stay off it and see if that competitor was going to make it his first priority and if so, it was his. If not, game on. I wasn’t in the area for more than a couple minutes and sure enough I see dude coming around the corner. He had thanked me for my sportsmanship and when I asked how he was doing he said he was leading. That spot pumped out 30 pounds of bass day one. It stung a bit but it’s so rare to be the only one to find anything these days to yourself and I should have made that my priority day one. I didn’t and feel I did the right thing by giving him honors but still told him that if he left it, I’d hit it. He agreed and said fair enough. I moved down to my creek channel and started throwing the rig. Nothing. After a couple hours, I couldn’t stand it anymore and picked up the jig and on every pass I’d boat a keeper. Not giants but good ones and everyone I boated was spitting crayfish up in the livewell. Even the ones that tagged the A-Rig the day earlier. I learned something here, never did I ever boat a keeper on the A-Rig day two and only for about a 2 hour window day one. I must have hit that feeding window just right where these bass really got active. Not sure if the Hydrowave help stimulate these bass day one or if the timing was just right but either way, it sure didn’t hurt!
I had a limit when I decided to check my grass again and still no takers. I decided to head back toward my creek channel and as I arrived I noticed homeboy was off that spot and moved in. I made three casts with a Outkast Tackle Touch Down Jig and popped a solid 6 pounder, making for a nice cull. I sat there for probably another hour as time ticked away and out of desperation I pulled out a new Biovex prototype swimbait that weighs an ounce but has a small shad profile and is balanced perfectly to fall straight down like a well tuned rattletrap. On my first cast I was dragging the bait just like a football jig acting like I was bringing a dying shad across the rocks when big girl smoked it! Man, it was a giant and I’ll throw my pride to the side and say this one pulled my arms down! I got her just to the surface when for no reason at all, she pulled off. I couldn’t believe it and have no idea how I could have changed that outcome. I never got a great look but I whole heartedly believe that bass was well over 10. I don’t throw that around lightly either and by all means read through my entire blog that I started since 2007 and find one time where I’ve ever had the kahunas to throw a statement like that out there. Either way, she was gone and I had to go weigh. I came to the scales with a respectable 16 and change and finished in 69th place out 156 anglers. All I needed was two more 14″ bass day one and I’d a had a nice $1500 dollar check but instead was loading the boat and heading for home.
I still have mixed emotions as I should have filled a limit day one and would have cashed a much needed check. Unfortunately, I didn’t but still take little satisfaction for a respectable finish despite my first ever tourney on Lake Guntersville. All I know is that ole’ G is very much alive and well and will be for a very long time. I can’t wait to get back!