Camping for five nights at Guntersville – $196.00. Gas for truck – 100.00 – Gas for boat – 50.00 – Food – 50.00 – Club tournament fee – 35.00 – Ice – 25.00.
Winning $25.00 for third place and $35.00 for big fish – priceless!!
Sitting by the lake after fishing, grilling dinner and relaxing is also priceless. I always camp on multiday fishing trips for several reasons. It is more relaxing than a motel and I can leave stuff in and on my boat without worrying about it getting stolen. I much prefer my cooking to eating out. And it is easier to go to bed at sundown and sleep better.
Although it was very hot at Guntersville, a fan in a screen dining tent helped a lot. Fortunately, my camper has an air conditioner, so I sleep comfortably. Both fan and AC felt great after a hot day on the lake.
In our July tournament at Guntersville last weekend, seven members of the Spalding County Sportsman Club fished for 15 hours to land 33 keeper bass, only four of them spots, weighing about 80 pounds. There was one five-bass limit and everyone caught at least one keeper.
Raymond English won with seven bass weighing 16.75 pounds and Jay Gerson had eight, including a limit the first day, weighing 16.08 pounds for second. My four weighing 11.65 pounds was third and my 4.55 pound largemouth was big fish. Fourth was Glenn
Anderson with four weighing 11.14 pounds.
I went to the lake on Wednesday and got my camper set up. Thursday morning I went out looking for something that might work for me. I checked the backs of several creeks, isolated places where I thought I could fish in peace, but got only two bites and lost both fish. That afternoon I rode and fished ledges and grass lines, the usual summer pattern there.
Friday I spent the morning looking at the same kinds of places on the main lake. I have never fished a tournament on that area of the lake. The area I usually fish and am more familiar with is about 20 miles by water down the lake and I was not willing to make that run.
I did have the advantage of many GPS waypoints from old articles on the lake. But many of them were from other seasons, not the hot summertime. But I did have many good spots marked on ledges.
That afternoon I had not had a bite so I decided to try something with which I am more familiar. I had seen a line of docks around a deep cove that looked good. When I went to them I caught two nice spotted bass. At least I had something to fall back on if the ledges didn’t work.
I noticed a mercury vapor light over the water at one dock was on during the middle of the day, so I figured it stayed on all night and attracted fish. I filed that away as something to remember at first light.
Saturday morning I decided to start on a grassline when we took off at 6:00 AM. I quickly caught one short bass, about 14.5 inches long. Largemouth and smallmouth at Guntersville have to be 15 inches long to keep, but any size spotted bass can be kept, so we could weigh in 12-inch spots based on club rules.
At 7:20 I hooked and landed a 15.5-inch keeper largemouth and knew I would not zero so I relaxed – maybe too much. I fished a second grassline where I had marked baitfish the day before and largemouth were schooling on top, but all I caught were too short.
When I headed to my third marked spot, there was another bass boat there and they were fishing it hard. Since it was almost noon and the sun was high, I headed to the docks where I had caught the two spots, but there were three boats already fishing them.
The rest of the day I tried several things but never caught another keeper. At weigh-in I was in seventh out of seven people!
Sunday morning I ran straight to the dock with the light – and it was not on. But the fish were there. I quickly caught a 15.5-inch keeper, and six other bass just shorter than 15 inches, all on a spinnerbait. I lost what looked like a 2.5-pound keeper that just pulled off my buzzbait. That was not good.
At 9:00, after fishing the docks without another bite, I want to the ledges. I headed to the one I had not been able to fish the day before, and no one was there. It was the perfect set-up – a long creek channel wound across a huge flat to dump into the old river channel in the middle of the lake.
I got my boat in position and caught a short fish. Then on my second bite I set the hook on a good fish. I guessed it weighted about four pounds when I put it in the livewell.
A few casts later I hooked and landed a largemouth a little bigger than the first. It was the big fish in the tournament. Then, I got a bite, set the hook and my rod bowed up just like on the first two four pounders and fought like them for a few seconds, then pulled off my hook.
I stayed in that area the rest of the day but got no more keepers.
At weigh in my three weighed 10.01 pounds, the heaviest of any for the two days, and moved me to third place.
Guntersville is famous for its bass fishing, ranked as the second-best bass lake in the US this year by
BASS. But with the 15-inch limit, it can be tough to fish, with thousands of acres of grass and lily pad fields, and many miles of ledges and grasslines on the main lake, and heavy fishing pressure on all of them.
Its only 4.5 hours away – give it a try.