2012 Bass Pro Shops Southern Open #3 Smith Lake - Jasper, AL, Oct 4 - 6, 2012

Smith Lake: Largemouth or spots?

“I might spend all day on a largemouth pattern, but my odds of catching one or more quality fish are better,” he said in comparing the spotted bass option. “I know some guys might be down lake culling a limit before I get mine. But chances are those fish are just inside the legal size limit for the tournament. They’ll all weigh the same.”

That’s due in part to the prolific nature of the spotted bass. They grow quickly and rarely reach trophy size like the largemouth. Most spotted bass average 2 pounds when fully mature. In some states, like South Carolina, the spotted bass is considered an “invasive” species.

Swindle never falls to the temptation of scrambling to catch a mixed bag. It’s a common pattern on lakes with spotted bass and largemouth. The strategy many will follow is to fill a quick limit of spotted bass and then head upriver for a kicker largemouth that anchors the stringer.

“I fish backwards from what a lot of guys do when given the two choices,” he explained. “I’d rather go after the big bite first thing in the morning; get a good quality fish or more in the livewell.”

He also recognizes the riverine setting fishes smaller than the lake. Crowded conditions call for savvy tactics.

“I don’t beat the bank. I avoid the obvious shoreline cover like laydowns,” he said. “I’ll fish deeper water and look for submerged cover that I think nobody has targeted.”

Swindle sums it all up in his classic, whimsical style.

“My granddaddy used to always say that if you try and do two things at the same time, you’ll only do one of them well.”