G-Man on Logan Martin

Lake Guntersville has gained such widespread notoriety that some of Alabama’s other stellar bass reservoirs tend to be overlooked. If you like getting bit on a regular basis, be sure to put Logan Martin Lake on your hit list. A 2007 survey revealed that Logan Martin ranked first in angler success and third in pounds of bass landed per day.

Bass weighing 5 pounds or more are hard to come by here, but you’ll enjoy fast action with keeper largemouth and spotted bass. Logan Martin is one of the lakes where Bassmaster Elite Series standout Gerald “G-Man” Swindle learned the bass fishing fundamentals that have served him so well.

As a teen, Swindle fished Logan Martin often with his father. In his early 20s, he dated a girl whose family had a vacation trailer overlooking the lake. He called on his sweetheart there almost every weekend for four years, which gave him an excuse to fish Logan Martin.

Located east of Birmingham, Logan Martin was built in 1965 on the Coosa River. It stretches 48 1/2 miles from the Logan Martin Dam upstream to the Neely Henry Dam. Nicknamed “Lake of a Thousand Coves,” this sprawling reservoir has 275 miles of shoreline.

“Logan Martin hasn’t changed much over the years,” Swindle says. “I’m really looking forward to fishing the Bassmaster Southern Open there in May.”

Although Swindle is tight-lipped about where and how he’ll be fishing Logan Martin during the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open, he’s happy to pass along tips for fishing here in April.

Slow Jerking Red Points

Elite Series pro Gerald Swindle cut his angling teeth on Alabama's Logan Martin Lake.Early April is the tail end of a prespawn pattern that usually begins in February. This is when the bass stage on main-lake red clay points on the lower, clearer end of Logan Martin. The points around Rabbit Branch are a good place to start, Swindle points out.

“Hard red clay is a dominant factor at Logan Martin,” Swindle says. “The lake doesn’t have grass like Guntersville does.”

Concentrate on the ends of clay points that break off from about 6 to 12 feet, Swindle advises. His go-to bait at this time is Lucky Craft’s 1/2-ounce Slender Pointer 112MR suspending jerkbait in the pearl ayu pattern.

Swindle slings the Slender Pointer with a 7-foot medium action Quantum Exo rod matched with 10-pound Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon. A Quantum 6.6:1 gear ratio Exo reel handles 95 percent of his bass fishing chores. Swindle seines the ends of the red clay points, working the jerkbait with a twitch-twitch, pause cadence.

“Don’t overfish the bait,” Swindle stresses. “A more subtle presentation gets more bites. I let the bait pause four to 15 seconds between twitches.”

Cathead Rocks

As the water warms, the bass begin moving from the red clay points into the creeks. Swindle follows the fish in and typically finds them hovering near the first rocky bank he comes to. This could be riprap, but it is most often what Swindle calls “cathead rocks.”

“Those white-looking, natural rocks are common at Logan Martin,” Swindle says. “They’re fist to softball in size, and the bass love to hang on them.”

The productive depth for bass on the rocks is a little shallower than on the red clay points: 4 to 8 feet. However, the same Slender Pointer jerkbait does a number on the bass. Swindle stays with the twitch-twitch, pause cadence but shortens the pauses to four to six seconds. Here, again, he warns against overworking the bait.

Rattlebait Mania

“About mid-April, the bass start schooling on shad in the backs of pockets,” Swindle says. “That’s their last move before they head for the bank to spawn.”

The backs of the longer, deeper creeks from Stemley Bridge south to the Logan Martin Dam have the best potential, Swindle adds. He makes hay with Lucky Craft’s 1/2-ounce LVR D-7 lipless rattling crankbait in the American shad color.

“The water is still a little below winter pool then, so the banks are slick and perfect for fishing a rattlebait,” Swindle says.

He casts quartering to the bank with 14-pound fluorocarbon, holding his boat in 4 to 5 feet of water and running the rattler in depths of 1 to 3 feet. A steady medium to medium-fast retrieve does the trick. This pattern usually holds up until about mid-May, Swindle claims.

“Keep moving with the rattlebait,” Swindle stresses. “You might hit two or three pockets and not catch a bass. Then, you’ll catch 18 pounds in the next pocket.”

Go Here First

Before you visit Logan Martin or any Alabama reservoir, visit www.alabamabasstrail.org. Here you’ll find detailed information about nine lakes and two major river systems, including fishing locations, productive fishing patterns, local guides, campgrounds and where to stay.

For Logan Martin Lake, also contact: Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau, 2200 Ninth Ave. North, Birmingham, AL 35203-1100; (800) 458-8085, (205) 458-8000; www.birminghamal.org.