provided by John Phillips
Gerald Swindle of Guntersville, Alabama, has been competitively bass fishing for 23 years. Before becoming a bass-fishing pro, Swindle was a carpenter. Because of his love of fishing, anytime there was a rain front coming, he dragged his boat with him to work. If he got laid off because of the weather, he put his rainsuit on, went to Smith Lake and fished all day in the rain. Sometimes, when he’d get off in the afternoon, he’d go home, hook up his boat and fish all night. If there ever was a fishing addict, Swindle fits that term. Because of his dedication and prowess in the sport, he went on to become a professional fisherman on the Bassmaster Elite and Major League Fishing circuits. He’s won the title of Bassmaster Angler of the Year twice (2004 & 2016). Whenever Swindle isn’t fishing one of those professional tours, he’s searching for any tournament in which he can compete. Gerald goes by the nickname GMAN, and he’s as entertaining as he is knowledgeable. To learn more about Swindle, visit his Facebook page. In Alabama, the summer temperatures often break the 100-degree mark. Mossy Oak asked how he finds bass and catches them under these extreme conditions.
In the summertime, oftentimes a rain front will come through where you’re fishing. Preceding or after the rain, you’ll have cloudy, overcast skies, and rain often will cause the bass to come up from those deep places where they’ve been holding and possibly suspend. For instance, if you’ve found bass in 20 feet of water on a bluebird day with plenty of sun, and then a rain event moves in, those bass that were at 20 feet may move up to 10-15 feet deep.
When this happens, generally they’ll be harder to catch, and, on some lakes, like on Alabama’s Lake Eufaula, if the skies stay cloudy or rainy for two or three days, you’ll be able to catch bass in really shallow water. However, when the sun comes back out, they’ll move back to deep water. So, another key to catching summertime bass is to learn where they should be on cloudy, overcast and rainy days. The best way to know where the bass will be in rain is to fish on those days. On most days when I’m fishing in extremely hot weather, I plan to fish deep. But I change from deep-water fishing to shallow-water fishing when we’ve had a rain event for the last few days.
My first tactic in the summer months, as I’ve explained earlier, is cranking. My second tactic is to have a Zoom Ol’ Monster, that’s 10 inches long in a plum color, and maybe a 1/2-ounce jig head. Also, I’m going to be fishing it on 16-pound test Sunline fluorocarbon line. Now I know when many anglers are fishing deep, they’ll use heavy line, but I’ve found that a heavy line causes everything to slow down and takes a lot of action out of the worm. That’s why I prefer the 16-pound-test line. Our lines today are so much better and stronger than they were years ago, that I’ve developed a real confidence in fishing that 16-pound-test line. If you catch a big bass, and it gets you in thick cover, yes, the bass may break off. However, I prefer to get the bite, set the hook and have a chance to catch that big bass, rather than fishing with heavier line and not have an opportunity to catch that big rascal. I know that I’m going to get more bites on the 16-pound-test line than I am on heavier lines.