Vegetation will be key during Bassmaster Kayak Series event at Lake Guntersville

SCOTTSBORO, Ala. — The Yamaha Rightwaters Bassmaster Kayak Series scored by TourneyX makes its return to legendary Lake Guntersville next week, and Bonafide Kayaks pro Jon Lessmann believes big bags are likely.

“May is my favorite time to fish Guntersville,” the Alabama angler said. “The bass are still up in the shallows and the water is warming up. It is going to be frogging, punching and finding clear holes to flip something in. It should turn out to be really good.”

Tournament dates are scheduled for May 18-19, and competitors will be able to launch from any approved public launch on the lake. Fishing will begin at 5:15 a.m. CT and anglers will fish until 1:15 p.m. This is a catch, measure, release tournament.

Lake Guntersville continues to be one of the most popular tournament lakes in the country — and for good reason. Big bass swim in this Tennessee River reservoir, and there are a variety of ways to tackle the fishery.

“You’ll definitely have people hit the popular areas, but those areas still produce quality,” Lessmann said. “What’s nice about Guntersville, you can fish all the way from Nickajack Dam to Guntersville Dam. That’s a lot of territory. There will be plenty of room.”

The Kayak Series visited the impoundment in March 2023, and the totals were impressive, with Bassmaster Elite Series pro Greg DiPalma taking the victory with 189.75 inches. The bass were in a prespawn mode, and little vegetation had grown.

This time around, Lessmann expects the bass to be in the postspawn phase. While there will be some bigger spotted bass caught and maybe an occasional smallmouth, Lessmann believes largemouth will be the dominant species.

Winter has been mild in northern Alabama, and by the time anglers arrive for practice the water levels will be up to full pool or close to it. This means the vegetation will be growing fast across the lake.

“The coontail will be really coming in, and you will have nice, full pads. They aren’t going to be overgrown, so you’ll have some space in them. Then we’ve got the eelgrass. There’s a lot of stuff on the main-river area with eelgrass.”

Not only do the bass gravitate to the grass, so do the bluegill and shad. While he doesn’t anticipate a shad spawn will be happening, there will be plenty of bait for the bass to feed on in the shallow areas.

Plenty of the popular grass-fishing methods will come into play, Lessmann said. Frogs, swim jigs and punch rigs will be popular choices, as well as big worms. With so much eelgrass in the lake, crankbaits and other treble-hooked baits will be hard to utilize.

The event is being hosted by the Mountain Lakes Chamber of Commerce.