“I think it is going to take some big fish to win here,” said Kelly Jordan, the Texas pro who won the Guntersville Tour event in 2002. “It’s great out here because it always takes a lot of weight to win at Guntersville.”
If previous years are any indication, Guntersville will yield some of the biggest limits that will be seen on tour this year.
In 2002, Jordon bested the field at Guntersville with a four-day total of 83 pounds, 11 ounces.
Last year, George Cochran won the Guntersville Tour event with a four-day total that was just shy of 100 pounds – 99 pounds, 10 ounces to be exact – and good enough to claim second place in the BASS record books for four-day events with a five-bass daily limit.
Alabama native Gerald Swindle figures this year would yield similar results to previous Guntersville tournaments.
“Someone is going to figure out what to do out there because you can always find those big ones at Guntersville,” Swindle said. “I’m guessing it will take about 34 to 35 pounds to make the cut, and I’m going to go out on a limb here and say it will take 79 pounds to win.”
Lipless crankbaits and jerkbaits were favorites of the anglers in last year’s Guntersville event, and Swindle expects things to be much the same this year.
“Lipless crankbaits and jerkbaits just can’t be beat out there,” Swindle said.
Jordon, citing changes in a few of the weather variables, agreed that lipless crankbaits and jerk baits would be popular, but proposed a different strategy.
“This year, I think you’ll see more soft-plastic baits due to the water being so clear and the grass not being as good out there,” Jordon said.
Guntersville is the third stop on the CITGO Bassmaster Tour this year. At stake is the $100,000 first prize and valuable points towards the CITGO Bassmaster Angler of the Year race and a berth in the 2005 CITGO Bassmaster Classic.
Coming in to Guntersville, the Tour’s Alabama anglers are looking good in the Angler of the Year race. Three Alabama anglers are in the top 25.
Mark Rizk of Arab is in 14th place with 440 points, while Swindle, the defending Angler of the Year, is 17th with 427 points. Tim Horton of Muscle Shoals stands in 24th place with 402 points.
Swindle is glad to be in familiar surroundings for this tournament.
“Well, I live 40 minutes away, and if I ever had time to get home it would be nice, but it’s great to be that close to my wife,” Swindle said. “Plus, if I forget something and I need it, I can go home and grab it.”
You can bet he won’t forget his lipless crankbaits and jerkbaits.
Launch will start at 6:15 a.m. on Thursday and Friday at Lake Guntersville State Park. Weigh-in on Thursday and Friday will also be held at Lake Guntersville Park starting at 3:00 p.m.
On Saturday and Sunday, launch and weigh-in will both take place at Wyeth Park Drive. Launch will start at 6:30 a.m. and weigh-in will start at 3:30 p.m.
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite 50 series, is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.
Sponsors of the CITGO Bassmaster Tour include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).
Local Sponsors include the City of Guntersville, Lake Guntersville Chamber of Commerce, Marshall County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Guntersville Merchants.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (334) 551-2375 or visit www.bassmaster.com.