What was an empty wasteland before is becoming increasingly popular. More and more anglers are heading north to the riverine portion of the lake. Up here there are fewer pockets, but the lake's famous ledges and creek channels line the periphery. We've already seen a few pros working this deeper water. Precious few of the backwater anglers are seeing fish like they'd hoped for...at least that's what they're telling us.
After a long period of searching off-the-wall places and coming up empty, we stumbled onto a cluster of boats -- some in the Classic, some not. Todd Faircloth is among them. Haven't heard much talk about him this week, which is surprising because not only is he one of the two best anglers on tour never to win a major title, but also because he's an outstanding grass fisherman.
Take a peak at what practice on Lake Guntersville looked like for the Classic contenders.
Trait Crist, who fishes the Bassmaster Opens, helps Shaye Baker get the GoPros ready for deployment. Baker in is charge of placing the wide-angle waterproof wonders in all 55 competitors' boats. The plan is to get footage to run on the Classic shows.
Steve Wright's entry about spinnerbaits being a major factor might be the most prophetic thing written about this Classic thus far. We found Mark Davis flinging a spinnerbait around in some shallow water. We've now seen them used over 30 feet of water and in just three. They truly are versatile and today is just a spinnerbaity kind of day; overcast and windy.
Gerald Swindle has spent a lot of time on Guntersville preparing for the Classic. Leary has seen him out for days in a row before the cutoff. We've seen him today in Allred's and now Spring Creek, but "I've got 100 miles more to go." There was no yucks from probably the most humorous guy in the field. The man looks serious about putting Classic title on his resume.
We returned to the ramp so James Overstreet can send in a mid-morning photo gallery. While he's doing that I wandered into the bait shop across the street hoping to gather some secrets or information. Proprietor Donnavant Collins told me that this tournament will be won on a lipless crankbait or a big swim bait -- nothing earth shattering, just confirmation of the conventional wisdom.
As the day wears on, we're seeing more and mire boats head north into the riverine portion of Guntersvile. Yusuke Miyazaki is casting a lipless crank bait to a sandy flat. We just saw local stick Coby Carden catch a 4-pounder on a spinnerbait. Like Steve Wright said, these mini A-rigs might be a factor in the ledge fishing game.
Bassmaster.com's Mike Suchan shooting BassCam with Gerald Swindle.