I made a conscious decision in 2016 that I was not going to fish the FLW Tour Co-Angler side in 2017. However, when they added Guntersville to the schedule I had to go against that decision. Guntersville is one lake that I had not encountered yet in my career and really wanted to get some insight on what it is all about.
I spent three days of practice fishing with Yo-Zuri Pro Mike Surman and really got a grand tour of most of the lake. My first impression was that the lake did not seem to be as big as I had originally thought. After spending a few days on it looking at a map I discovered that we had really only covered about half of the length of the lake. At 69,000 acres and 75 miles long it is very deceiving.
The fishing during practice was extremely slow. We were landing an average of 4-5 bass each day. Not really what I was expecting on such a talked about lake. It was a bit overwhelming seeing the amount of grass that is in the lake. I had heard rumors that the lake had been sprayed to kill the grass. If that is true then they must have missed half of it, because it is everywhere. Even though the fishing was slow I did manage to catch one Guntersville hog (a 7-3 largemouth).
I was paired with Mark Rose for day 1 of the tournament. I was pretty jacked up about this since I hadn’t had the opportunity to fish with him. He didn’t let me down either. He had located an area that produced his limit plus a 5lber in the first hours of the tournament. I knew that he was pretty good at locating schooling fish on ledges, but to find them in less than 2 feet of water was very impressive. I don’t believe he went more than 30 minutes all day without landing a fish. I heard before that it’s hard to catch fish behind a “Vacuum Cleaner” and experienced it first-hand that day. Mark is a fierce competitor but also a true gentleman. A great ambassador of the sport. I was very blessed to make his acquaintance and happy that he went on to win the tournament.
My day 2 partner was Tom Redington. Tom struggled as most of the field did. The thing I liked about Tom was that he never lost his cool throughout the day. It was obvious that he had confidence in what he was doing. I think the weather had a lot to do with shutting down the fish that he was targeting. I hadn’t yet experienced a day where my pro and I both did not catch a keeper fish.
With that tournament in the books I am now looking forward to my next event which will be the Sealy Outdoors Lake Guntersville Big Bass Splash on March 31st. Hopefully, we will be blessed with the perfect storm of giant bass roaming the shallows.