Could this be the day when G gets the W?
Gerald Swindle, long known to fans and fellow anglers as the G-Man, is unquestionably one of the best anglers without an Elite title. This week, the two-time Angler of the Year (2004, 2016) has positioned himself to possibly reach the prize that has eluded him for more than two decades.
Swindle placed third on Day 1 with 29-07, then added 22-5 and slipped to fourth. His Day-3 limit of 29-2 returned him to third with a total of 80-14, which put him 7-1 off Lee Livesay’s lead.
At the Semi-final Saturday weigh-ins, Bassmaster Emcee Dave Mercer asked Swindle about the possibility of notching his first Elite win.
“It’s within reach, you don’t ever wish for anybody to stumble, but if I can show out and get to 35 pounds, which is doable here, I can make it interesting,” Swindle said.
Noting that doing so would mean unseating the local favorite, the next part was pure G-man.
“I’ll tell you right now that, if I were to win this tournament, I’d have to shoot my way out of this place,” Swindle said. “Lee Livesay’s a pretty big old fella and half of his family members are pretty big fellas and the women look like they’d cut you with a beer bottle.
“I have mixed emotions about winning. I told Lulu (wife Le Ann) to bring the truck through at 100 mph and I’ll just dive through the sunroof and we’ll scratch out slinging rocks.”
Both Swindle and Livesay struggled through slower mornings, likely the impact of a cold front that shaved about 20 degrees off the hot conditions the first three days brought. Livesay started picking up steam around 10:30 and has broken the 100-pound mark.
Meanwhile, the ever-dangerous Brandon Palaniuk has also broken 100 pounds and sits in second, 2-3 off the lead. As of 11:15 Swindle was 10-3 back.
Win or not, if Swindle stays on pace with his productivity — nearly a 27-pound daily average — he’ll walk away with the coveted Century Club Belt, given to anglers catching 100 pounds or more in a 4-day event. This would be his second such achievement, as Swindle entered the Century Club in 2007 with a limit of 105-8 on California’s Clear Lake.