Swindle stayed classy in Classic calamity

Those who saw Gerald Swindle’s Bassmaster Classic Day 2 weigh-in tirade may not have initially thought of the second verse from Rudyad Kipling’s famous poem, “If,” but the wisdom certainly applies to the Bassmaster Elite Series pro from Warrior, Ala.

If you can dream and not make dreams your master;
If you can think and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same.

After following up a dismal Day 1 catch of one bass (2 pounds, 1 ounce), Swindle was beside himself with a 2-fish bag weighing just less than 6 pounds.

Anytime Gerald Swindle gets on a roll, it’s gonna be worth a listen (See Swindle's Day 2 weigh-in interview). He’s a naturally funny person whose mastery of public speaking and spontaneous wit allow him to deftly deliver side-splitting thoughts with the same skill he imparts when skipping a jig all the way under a dock.

Usually, he’s doing this with a smile, but this Classic gave him little to smile about.

Stop there: We won’t stretch that overused lemons-to-lemonade cliché; rather, this is about the consummate winning attitude. What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket and, despite his clear – very clear – disgust, the G-Man opted to vent his frustrations through a positive message.

Belly-aching’s easy. Wrap the sad story in a few clever lines, prompt the obligatory “awwwwww” from a sympathetic crowd and then trudge off stage.

That’s not how Swindle played it; and that, more than his hilarious commentary (example: “I’m so mad I’m ready to fight Satan.”), is what folks will remember for a long time.

After a respectable period, and between Elite events, we caught up with Swindle and asked him to reflect back on this year’s Classic. For starters, he’ll be the first to tell you that the only thing his Alabama zip code guarantees him on Lake Guntersville is that the fish will be wet.

“Sometimes we think that fishing at home can be an advantage, but there are no advantages,” he said. “With the level of guys we fish against, there’s just no advantage and you don’t take anything for granted.

“If you don’t catch ‘em, it’s hurtful. But when you don’t catch ‘em on a body of water you’re so familiar with, it can mess with your head for the next couple of tournaments.”

How bad was it?