WETUMPKA, Ala. — On the second day of practice, Gerald Swindle had a monster bass flush a topwater and he managed to shake it off. Returning to the exact spot early on the first day of the tournament yielded another big bite, but when Swindle went to set the hook, the bass wrapped his line around an obstruction and broke off.
"She was still home," Swindle yelled across the water before sitting down to retie.
Despite the early setback, he was quick to recover, boating four keepers in the next 45 minutes and helping calm his frustration.
"There was a little bit of frustration, but you gotta bounce right back," Swindle said. "This is a four-quarter game. That lost fish was like missing a dunk in the first quarter — there's a lot of time left to play."
On the lost fish, Swindle said he set the cast up perfectly, but he could do nothing about the execution.
"I knew I had to make a reverse-backhand cast and I nailed it," Swindle said. "When he got my bait, he wrapped me up around a pole and nail under that dock and there was nothing I could do."
In Swindle's favor is the fact that he knows right where that fish has been going into Day Two.
Mark Menendez also lamented a few key lost fish on Day One that likely took him out of contention for the tournament.
"I just didn't keep them on today," Menendez said. "What can you do when you lost two fish over 4 pounds and one 3-pounder? One of those 4-pounders simply straightened my hook."
On top of the lost fish, capitalizing on a morning bite was important. Menendez reported having all of his 10-pound, 11-ounce bag by 10 a.m. ET.
"The water is warm and these fish are feeding at night, so they are much more active in low-light conditions," Menendez said. "If they would move more water tomorrow, that would also help later in the day."
Day One leader Tommy Biffle also reported an early bite, but he also caught a few key fish late in the afternoon.
"I hoped it would storm during the day because we needed something to change," Biffle said. "The fish just quit today after the morning. I struggled along after that until the end when I started fishing fast trying to just get a few more fish."
Part of Biffle's late surge might be attributed to the current generation, which started up just an hour before check-in.
With forecasts for a strong chance of rain and thunderstorms, Biffle might just get the crazy weather he was hoping for to extend the bite later into the day.