Bass fishing’s funniest man, Gerald Swindle is neighboring with a 19-year-old thoroughbred gelding named Mistic this week at Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest on Lake Fork who shows strong resemblance to Rainbow Brite’s talking horse, Starlite.
But the 2-time Bassmaster Angler of the year sits 16 points outside of making the 2021 Classic – so this is no time for horsing around.
Swindle has had a phenomenal career. He’s made 18 Bassmaster Classics, notched (55) Top 10s, and won over $2 Million dollars in prize money, but he’ll be the first to tell you 2020 hasn’t been up to his standards.
“I’ve had days this year when I felt like I fished well enough to win an AOY title, and other days when I fished my guts out and just didn’t catch ‘em the way I thought I would,” he reflects. “I’m not stressed right now, but I know I need a Top 20 this week to qualify for the Classic.”
As most fans know, the recent three Bassmaster Elite Series events at Guntersville, Santee Cooper and Chickamauga fell way short of what autumn fishing ought to be, and Swindle thinks he knows why.
“Everybody has had more free time than ever and a government stimulus check to buy a top-notch sonar unit the past eight months. They have beat on these fish to the point every 14” bass in the country has earned a Masters degree in dodging crankbaits by now,” he grins.
At Lake Fork, Swindle may still sling cranks, but not the deep variety in search of the mega-schools pros like Keith Combs made famous here.
“Look, I’ve done it all in practice. Rode around staring at my sonar screens searching for the deep magic, and I haven’t found the winning spot,” admits Swindle. “So, I’m going to do what Gerald Swindle does best, I’m going to stay shallow, fish smart, fish methodically, and hope a big one shows up each day.”
Riding the momentum of a Top 12 at a very tough Chickamauga and an honest wave of holding himself accountable for a less-than-Swindle-like year … don’t bet against him digging himself out at Toyota Texas Fest to make his 19th Bassmaster Classic.
But it will take a Seattle Slew or Secretariat kind of performance this week on Lake Fork, and nobody is up for that challenge more than Swindle.