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.
“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.