LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gerald Swindle, the self-described “ol’ redneck from Alabama,” never seems to be at a loss for words. The Warrior, Ala., resident was in fine form Sunday on the stage at the Little Rock Riverfront Amphitheater, where he capped a good week with a third-place finish in the Bassmaster Elite Series Diamond Drive.
When a microphone is put in front of Swindle, he always gives the fans a tale or two, in the seemingly contradictory style of machine gun-rapidity and a Deep South drawl.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-operated lock-and-dam navigation system on the Arkansas River had many of the Elite Series anglers moaning and groaning all week. Swindle was in the group of fishermen who headed south to Pine Bluff and locked through twice each day. All those hours spent waiting for the locks to open and close gave the 41-year-old Swindle more than enough time to ponder the whole operation.
“I’m still confused on the locks,” said Swindle in reference to a sign that notes commercial boat traffic has priority here. “I’ve got commercial insurance. I’ve got a commercial boat. I make a living fishing commercial tournaments. How much more commercial I gotta be?”
Those comments drew a loud ovation from the crowd at Sunday’s weigh-in. Swindle took a breath during the hand-clapping, then tore off on another story about how he landed his biggest bass of the day.
“I wasn’t doing nothin’ but throwing a Zoom Trick Worm on a shakey head on eight-pound line,” Swindle said. “I was fishing about six-foot deep, moving around. I knew my competition was zeroed in on the same stuff. I tried to light-line them. I caught that biggest fish on eight-pound line. He got me in two different brushpiles. He pulled; I pulled. He screamed; I cried. I got religion – oh, Lordy Jesus – for a while. He jumped; he finally went in another brushpile. I panicked; he pulled. I sat down and cried; we took a little break. Then he swam out and I got him, on eight-pound line.”
Nobody can sum up a fish catch quite like the ol’ redneck from Alabama.