Where are Guntersville’s big bass?

In the two previous times the Elite Series came to Lake Guntersville in May, it took a four-day total topping 100 pounds to win. On May 6-9, 2010, Aaron Martens won with 107 pounds, 8 ounces, and three other anglers topped 100 pounds. On May 7-10, 2011, Skeet Reese won with 100-13. But that was more than a decade ago.

Guntersville still ranks as one of the best bass fishing lakes in America. The big bass haven’t disappeared. But last fall’s Elite Series win here by Frank Talley showed how fickle the bass bite can be at various times of year - no matter where you’re fishing. Talley won with a four-day total of 64-3, an average of just over 16 pounds a day. After three days of practice, it seems Lake Guntersville has presented the Elite Series anglers with another puzzle to solve.

“You can do anything you want and catch 2-pounders,” said Brandon Palaniuk. "But 2-pounders aren’t going to cut it, and 3-pounders are hard to come by right now.”

Shortly after the 5:30 a.m. takeoff this morning, BassTrakk was lighting up with fish catches. And Pat Schlapper, the Elite Series rookie from Wisconsin, put a 5-pound, 5-ounce bass in the boat at 6 a.m. Maybe the puzzle is starting to be solved.