Fans know Gerald Swindle as bass fishing’s funniest man. But what they may not realize is the former house framer is one of the deepest thinkers on tour. Thoughts about everything from relationships, to country music, and spinnerbaits often spin around in his head like the blade of a circular saw.
The predawn of the 2019 Bassmaster Classic’s final practice day was no exception. Swindle appeared fun and calm on the outside while poking fun at his buddy Wesley Strader’s shoes. But simultaneously, thoughts raced inside his closely shaved melon about how he’d add more productive water to what he’s already found.
“I have about four areas right now I feel good about, but I really feel like I need to have 12. So today is about expanding on my confidence areas,” says the Toyota pro. “You take a local guy like Wesley Strader or Ott DeFoe, and they’re going to have lots of alternative places to run to if their water gets crowded or muddy. But I’m still trying to add options to my list today.”
Speaking of muddy water, Swindle says one of the things he’s contending with is the orange red mudlines that result from boat wakes when several competitors run into areas where shorelines are made of red clay.
Hence the reason a double Colorado spinnerbait could be a player in this derby. In cleaner, clearer waters, he says fans should look for pros to cast old school flat sided crankbaits this region is famous for, as well as Rapala DT6 cranks, and Shad Raps.
But more importantly for Swindle, the chance to finally add a Bassmaster Classic victory to his highly accomplished career comes down to making sure his mental approach stays level and plumb.
“I’ve got to stay focused on finding stuff that’s not in the community holes, stay in control of the things I do best, fish clean and efficient, adapt well to change, and stay in my own head,” Swindle concludes.
Confucius, Aristotle, Ben Franklin -- all known for being great thinkers. And in bass fishing realms, add Swindle to the list as well.