Fall is the favorite time of the year for bass fishing’s funniest man, Gerald Swindle. The former waterbug-quick Locust Fork High School running back and kick returner finds peace in a tree stand following a long Bassmaster Elite Series season, and he finds bass returning to a variety of shallow water patterns where he enjoys catching them most. Not to mention, Swindle makes his home in the heart of college football’s Southeastern Conference, and that always leads to a truckload of smack talk debates with his fellow football lovin’ brothers of bass.
While piloting his Tundra toward a deer hunt, the G-Man took time to share his wisdom for finding and catching bass throughout the remainder of football season.
How to Catch ‘Em: “It’s spinnerbait time, and there ain’t a more fun lure out there at this time of year. After fishing slow and deep all summer long, I finally get to go to the back of a creek and cast a spinnerbait,” says Swindle. “I’m throwing a spinnerbait to match the shad they’re feeding on, and I’m not expecting to catch a school of 5-pounders, but I know I’m going to catch a bunch of fish, with a few 3 or 4 pounders mixed in. You can catch them from a wide variety of habitat, ranging from laydown trees to riprap.”
Equipment: 20-pound Sunline shooter spooled on a Quantum SL100SPT 6.3:1 Smoke reel.
How to Catch ‘Em: “The bass are transitioning to rocks, because rocks hold heat even during the cooler nights of late fall,” says the Warrior, Ala., pro. “This is the time when shallow square-bill crankbaits like the RC 1.5 shine. I may start my day toward the back of the creek, but my main focus will be mid-way toward the front of the creek on all rocky banks and riprap shorelines.”
Equipment: Swindle makes an interesting note that while he loves the slower 5.3:1 Quantum Cranking Classic reel in the spring and summer, speedier reels like a 6.3:1 Energy PT simply seem to trigger more strikes with shallow crankbaits during football season.
How to Catch ‘Em: “The water is getting cold enough that they aren’t chasing cranks and spinnerbaits as much as they were earlier in the fall. So instead, the jig comes into play,” says the 2004 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year. “I’m going to pitch a 3/8-ounce jig to brush around shallow docks, rip rap or laydowns.”
Equipment: Swindle says he uses a 3/8-ounce jig 90 percent of the time because it has the right rate of fall, descending just slow enough in colder water.
How to Catch ‘Em: “I’m going to look for as many sun-drenched rocky banks on a creek channel swing as I can find,” says Swindle with arrow straight focus. “Even in the South, the water will likely be in the high 40s or low 50s, so I’m gonna drag that same 3/8-ounce Arkie jig from the rocky, sunny shoreline out to 15 or 20 feet deep where the creek channel kisses the bank. I’m just dragging it along the bottom until a bass picks up on it. It’s key to maintain constant feel and bottom contact.”
Equipment: Swindle stresses using a quality rod like the 7-foot, 4-inch Quantum EXO that affords ultra-sensitive feel for bites that are sure to be passive and feather-light in early winter’s cold water.
Originally published October 2012