Gerald Swindle has competed as a pro in an admirable 217 B.A.S.S. tournaments.
This morning, he said there’s a clear new leader in his personal ranking of the toughest tournaments he’s ever fished. “Yep, the Delaware River here in Philly has passed Lake Wissota as a strong new No. 1 on ol’ G’s list of the toughest derbies I’ve ever been in,” said Swindle with an ever-present grin.
Swindle competed in the June 2005 B.A.S.S. event at Lake Wissota, Wis., where nearly every pro posted a zero on at least one of the competition days.
Thank goodness nobody was keeping official score in practice this week on the Delaware. “I never had a bite in two of the three days of practice. I went 14 hours Monday without a bite, and 9 hours yesterday without a bite,” said Swindle, who’s having a great season thus far and sits 6thin the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.
So what’s a guy to do when it’s this tough? “First off, you gotta force yourself to stay positive mentally,” says Swindle, a huge believer that like most of life, success as a pro angler begins between the ears and in the heart.
Secondly, downsize. Smaller lures. Smaller line. “I’ve scrounged up every tiny, crappie-sized crankbait I could get my hands on,” admitted Swindle just before morning launch. “I’m taking the same approach to my pitchin’ style baits.”
Instead of bulky full-sized jigs, or creature style soft plastics, Swindle is actually pitching a skinny Zoom finesse worm rigged Texas style with baitcasting equipment, like most anglers would typically pair with a shaky head and spinning rod.
Speaking of spinning rods and reels, Swindle has two of them rigged this morning. A Quantum Energy spinning reel was paired to a tiny finesse worm rigged Texas style, and his Quantum Smoke spinning reel was paired with one of the tiny crankbaits he rounded up to deal with these exceptionally tough conditions.
“I’m also using 14- and 16-pound Sunline instead of the heavier 20- or 25-pound line that I’d normally pitch with,” he added.
Swindle’s approach to the stingy conditions he’s facing here should serve as a lesson to all bass anglers when getting so much as a single bite seems next to impossible, especially on waters like the Delaware River where not many big bass live.
Downsize everything … except mental toughness and heartfelt desire.