Fantasy Fishing: Smith Lake will be rocking

Smith Lake is about a third the size of Wheeler Lake or Lake Guntersville and approaching the holiday weekend it may have 10 times the amount of recreational traffic for this next Bassmaster Elite Series event. This will likely lead to some potentially entertaining scenes during Bass Live coverage for this event. It will absolutely be can’t miss live coverage. 

Smith is known for its abundant spotted bass, growing blueback herring population and at times better than average largemouth will show themselves and make an impact in tournaments during certain times of the year. The wild card is almost all the tournament data you will find for Smith Lake is April or earlier or in the fall. Even local tournaments tend to only due night tournaments on Smith Lake in the summer, so this could be very interesting to watch unfold.

Smith Lake has no shortage of boat docks, coves or structural points to look for bass and some shallow cover up the rivers that is known to be an option for big largemouth in the spring, but will it play in the summer? Electronics and forward-facing sonar will almost certainly be a factor this week, but will the pleasure boaters make it difficult on anglers that rely solely on offshore tactics?

It will be interesting to see if the rookies can stay hot.


I am going with the don’t fix what is not broken philosophy and see if Wesley Gore can garner me another Alabama Top 10 at Smith Lake. Gore’s best Bassmaster Open finish of 2021 was on Smith Lake and Gore is a versatile angler that knows how to leverage his electronics and knows when to shut them off.

Don’t look now

Cody Huff has slowly and quietly crept his way into the Progressive Bassmaster Angler of the Year conversation. Currently third, but he needs to make up about 30 points per event in the last three to catch Mckinney. A Top 10 at Smith would go a long way towards that goal and it is something he has done on Smith before. 


Logan Parks may or may not have spent any meaningful tournament time on Smith Lake, but I am sure he knows a thing or two about catching spots in Alabama. He served me well at Wheeler and I am going to hopefully ride his momentum in his home state.

Not far from home

Brandon Lester was rolling right along this season until Lake Wheeler, which was a bit of a surprise stumble. I almost picked Lester over one of the EQ anglers. Lester’s track record on Smith Lake in the Bassmaster Opens is hard to ignore. Obviously, none of those Opens were in the summer.


Kyoya Fujita has no major tournament experience on Smith Lake, but he did have a solid finish earlier this summer at Logan Martin. Spotted bass love to suspend on lakes in the summer and that should be in Fujita’s wheelhouse. Usually, I like a bit more data for my picks, but this feels right. 

Spots are like smallmouth

Taku Ito loves smallmouth, smallmouth love Taku Ito and spotted bass can act like smallmouth, so don’t be afraid to jump on the Taku Train early before we head up north. Need more proof? In 2019, Taku finished 8th place in the Bassmaster Open on Smith Lake.


Kenta Kimura has not had a spectacular season, but it has not been a complete disaster. Most of his finishes have been just a bite or two below the day three Top 50 cut for the Bassmaster Elites. Kimura is one of the few non-Alabama anglers with a strong resume and history in Bassmaster Opens on Smith Lake. I look for Kenta to be fishing the weekend at Smith.

Slow and Steady

After missing the Harris Chain event, Bob Downey is slowly working his way back into position to make the 2025 Bassmaster Classic. Downey caught them decently at Wheeler, has a strong track record in Alabama overall and Smith Lake was on the Bassmaster Open schedule the year he qualified for the Bassmaster Elites where he had a solid 34th.


If it was not for a mistake at Lake Murray, Cole Sands would likely be flirting with the Bassmaster Classic cut line in AOY points. He is solid with his electronics, is coming off a 19th place finish at Wheeler and has caught them solidly at other Alabama spotted bass factories.


As a two time Bassmaster AOY champion, Gerald Swindle has been having a historically awful 2024 season by his standards. On the bright side, G-Man cut his teeth fishing fruit jar events on Smith Lake. This bit of home cooking could help him snap out of his funk.

Falcon Rods Bassmaster Drain the Lake Challenge

Jeff Gustafson
Robert Gee
Brandon Card
Gerald Swindle
Justin Hamner
Caleb Kuphal
Will Davis, Jr
Cody Huff