Swindle stayed engaged all week

Gerald Swindle made a key decision Sunday afternoon that got him into Monday’s top 10 final. He threw a crankbait around a bridge and caught two key fish, a 3-pounder and a 2 1/2. When he left Neely Henry Lake after Day 3, he said, “I’m going to throw a crankbait all day long tomorrow.”
However, Swindle noticed that the lake level came up about 6 or 8 inches overnight, and he changed plans with it.

“It put that water back in the grass,” Swindle said. “There’s about a 300-yard section that’s about about a foot-and-a-half deeper than anywhere else on that bank. When that water came up, I’m like, now that’s two foot of water. That’s going to be enough.”

And it was enough for Swindle to put on a show Monday morning. Using a swim jig, he put a 12-pound, 5-bass limit in the boat before the other nine finalists had time to settle in. He started in 4th place, 4 pounds, 6 ounces, behind Day 3 leader Wes Logan, and passed everyone in front of him on the leaderboard in short order. Swindle finished with 15 pounds, his biggest bag of the tournament, but it wasn’t enough to hold off Logan and Paul Mueller at the end of the day.

“This one I didn’t lose,” Swindle said. “They just beat me.” And he can live with that.

“On a dead serious note, I do suffer from attention deficit disorder, sometimes pretty bad,” Swindle said. “I’m supposed to take more medicine than I do. I enjoy tournaments like this because every day is new. My mind is engaged. I feel the challenge and the uncertainly versus a lake where everything is same every day. I get bored with that, and I do stupid stuff.”

Feider has 41-point AOY lead

Seth Feider, 12th, 35-13

Seth Feider came into Neely Henry Lake with a 4-point lead over Patrick Walters in the Angler of the Year race. Walters just missed the Day 2 cut, by 3 ounces, and Feider finished 12th yesterday. With their results final, Feider now officially has a 41-point lead over Walters, who remains in second place. Two of the top five AOY contenders are competing today, Brock Mosley and Jason Christie, so their points aren’t final. Based on the Day 3 standings, here is how the top five AOY contenders stack up:

Angler Pts. Margin

  1. Seth Feider 525 ——

  2. Patrick Walters 484 - 41

  3. Brock Mosley 464 - 61 (Based on 8th place after Day 3)

  4. Brandon Palaniuk 462 - 63

  5. Jason Christie 456 - 69 (Based on 5th place after Day 3)

There are three tournaments left in the 2021 Elite Series – Lake Guntersville, Lake Champlain and the St. Lawrence River. Feider would undoubtedly take his results from a year ago at those three events, when he was 11th at Guntersville, 2nd at Champlain and 18th at the St. Lawrence River.

 

Only Swindle

In the middle of contending for the Coveted Whataburger Bassmaster Elite at Neely Henry blue trophy, Swindle stopped fishing, laid down his rod, and moved his Phoenix Boat under an overhanging tree and lay prone in an effort to retrieve something.

Was it a lure left behind earlier?

Nope, after retrieving the item, he said "It's a tennis ball for my dog, I told my wife I'd pick 'em up for her if I saw them..."

Only Swindle...

Kennedy is catfish champ

Steve Kennedy finished 45th on Day 3 of the Whataburger Bassmaster Elite at Neely Henry. If it had been the Whataburger Catfishmaster Elite, he would have finished first. Kennedy loves to fish for all species, both freshwater and saltwater. However, the catfish bite got a little frustrating for him this week. The capper came yesterday, when Kennedy was shaking a white jig near the surface where shad were spawning in shallow vegetation. When a fish exploded on it, Kennedy was sure it was a big bass. Nope. It was a 9-pound flathead catfish.

Kennedy caught big flatheads every day of the tournament - all of them on a white jig. On Day 1, he landed an 11-pound, 9-ounce flathead and a near twin weighing 11-5. Yesterday, he landed king cat - weighing 21-3. Yes, it’s Championship Monday at Neely Henry, but Kennedy’s catfish stories seemed too good to go unreported. Now back to the task at hand…

Swindle on the water update

We just reconnected with Swindle after giving Shane a chance to upload perhaps the largest photo gallery in the history of the Elite Series from the Media Center at Coosa Landing

See the 108 shot slideshow here!

Swindle added a three plus on a buzz bait just prior to us arriving. Even with that fish he told us that he felt like he needed to add a five-pounder to have a chance. 

He's moved downriver a mile or two into the Gadsden Stste College area and he's alternating between the swim jig, the buzzbait and a frog in the Coosa River Grass looking for that final difference maker.

Logan takes the lead with a 3-12

Wes Logan noted at yesterday’s weigh-in that he would have four baits tied on the rods on his boat deck: a swim jig, a frog, a squarebill crankbait and a flipping jig - "5/8ths, a big jig,” he said. “I’m going to run everywhere I can fish those. If I get bites, they’re going to be good ones.”

Logan just caught “a good one” on the jig - a 3-pound, 12-ounce bass, which matched his second-biggest bass yesterday when he took the lead in this tournament. Logan is weighing his fish on a digital scale, so his 13-0 total on the day and 56-8 overall is probably accurate. Less accurate is the estimates Paul Mueller and Gerald Swindle have entered in BassTrakk. This one is close. And most importantly, there are three hours left in Championship Monday.

Interesting Swindle pattern note

I've noticed an interesting tidbit regarding Swindle's pattern. While he is throwing the white swim jig through the Coosa River Grass, he is actually alternating his bait choice for swimming the grass. 

There are times - it seems as a follow up to missed strikes - that Swindle is tossing a Texas Rigged white ZOOM Z-Craw to give a little bit more finessey appeal to the presentation. 

His primary offering has been the swim jig, but some of his action has come on the Texas Rigged bait.

Swindle's limit size?

Bassmaster photographer Shane Durrance and I are debating the size of Swindle's limit reported on BASSTrakk.

Moments ago, Swindle landed a largemouth on his swim jig that was easily two pounds and after using the balance beam on his T-H Marine GForce Conservation Culling System it didn't even come close to culling his smallest fish.

We're in agreement that his BASSTrakk estimate isn't off by a massive amount, but possibly somewhere over a half of a pound or slightly more.

Of course, the scale that truly matters is the one that Senior Tournament Manager Lisa Talmage operates on stage at Coosa Landing this afternoon, but it's something to keep in mind as the day grinds on here at the Whataburger Bassmaster Elite at Neely Henry

And... as I finished typing this entry, he just caught one that easily culled his smallest fish, perhaps gaining another pound in the process

It’s going to be a crankbait day

Paul Mueller has caught the biggest bass of the tournament so far with a 6-pounder this morning on a chartreuse squarebill crankbait. Wes Logan caught his two biggest bass yesterday on a chartreuse squarebill crankbait. Yes, there’s been a swim jig bite this morning, especially for Gerald Swindle, but you can expect to see crankbaits play an increasingly big role as the day continues.

“I’m about to go cranking for a while,” said Jason Christie, just before the 9 o’clock hour.

And Swindle will be cranking too, sooner or later, thanks to a late discovery Sunday. The reason Swindle finished in 4th place yesterday, instead of further down the standings, was thanks to a crankbait bite.

“That buzzbait bite had died,” said Swindle, who switched lures to a Rapala BX Brat crankbait. “I just went to a piece of riprap and a bridge. It was the most basic thing I could have done. I caught those last two and a guy pulled up beside me and caught a three-pounder. I said, ‘Why did it take me so long to do this?’ It’s the only thing that doesn’t matter if the water goes up or down - the corners of a bridge. At the last minute I tied on that chartreuse crankbait and they were biting. The bites I got, they choked it."

Add Christie to the Downtown Gadsden mix

Jason Christie just showed up on the bottom of the same stretch of Water Willow that Swindle has been fishing this morning.

Logan just hopped his Skeeter to the opposite side of the river but is also targeting Water Willow with a white swim jig.

A lot of activity in Downtown Gadsden this morning, but anticipate Swindle will likely start moving around soon looking for a few bigger bites to cull with.

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