Gerald Swindle, 48 years old from Guntersville, Alabama, has made 16 Bassmaster Classic appearances and finished in the money at Bassmaster tournaments 173 times to win $1,976,297, with 89 top-20 finishes and 127 top-30 finishes.
I would steal gas out of my Dad’s lawnmower and even siphon gas out of my Mom’s car to have enough gas for my outboard motor. That’s how badly I wanted to go bass fishing when I was in high school. I wasn’t proud of what I did, but I didn’t have much money. As far as I was concerned, bass fishing wasn’t a want but a need.
Once I got out of high school, I was a carpenter by trade and worked building houses. When I went to work, I’d take my boat with me and pray for rain. I’d even draw rain turtles on the roofs of some of the houses we were building and tell everyone that was a symbol that would make the rain fall. Then when the weather was bad and rainy, we couldn’t work, and I could go fishing.
If there was no rain, as soon as I got off from work, I’d jump in my truck, drive to the lake and fish for bass most of the night. So, those times were when I learned how to fish for bass. About 80 percent of my bass fishing time was spent on rainy days and at night.
I learned to bass fish on one of the toughest bass fishing lakes in America, Smith Lake, near Jasper, Alabama. The water there was and still is deep and clear. Although plenty of bass lived there, finding and catching them was not an easy task.
I had two big breaks that allowed me to become a professional bass fisherman. In 1998, I qualified to fish in the Bassmaster Classic, and I won an FLW tournament on Beaver Lake in Arkansas and took home $150,000. To get to fish in the Bassmaster Classic, I had to qualify first in the Bassmaster Opens Tournaments. At the Opens, generally about 100 guys were fishing for the top 25 spots to make the Bassmaster Classic. I finished 16th in the Opens tournaments and made the Classic field. I’ve been a professional fisherman now for the last 20 years.
I’m honored and proud to have been chosen to be on the Mossy Oak Fishing Team. I’ve worked with some of the Mossy Oak people for some years on the hunting side of the business and depended on Mossy Oak camouflage for a number of years to make my deer hunting better.
I was very excited when Mossy Oak decided to come into the fishing market. Once I learned that Mossy Oak was making camo patterns specifically for anglers, whether they were fishing streams, wading the Locust Fork River in north Alabama or standing on top of a flats boat out in the Gulf of Mexico, I knew I would be wearing it.
One of the secrets of catching bass is being able to get close to the fish. The Elements Agua pattern will help me get closer to bass, especially in clear water, and I can have better success. I truly believe that if I’m wearing a fluorescent orange shirt, and a bass looks up, I’m convinced that fish can see me and realize I’m threat to him. However, if I’m wearing shirts and pants that break up my silhouette, then I’m just as convinced there’s far less chance that fish will spot me. I get to cast to that bass, which is definitely an advantage to me as a professional angler.