GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – How would you like to enter a bass tournament, catch 28 pounds, 4 ounces on day one and then 28 pounds, 13 ounces the second day and still not be leading?
Or, what if you caught 24 pounds, 13 ounces the first day and then backed that up with 31 pounds, 11 ounces on day two and you still were not leading?
Okay, even crazier: You enter a bass tournament, catch 20 pounds, 15 ounces the first day and then 24 pounds, 7 ounces the second day and you don’t even make the top 10!
Welcome to Lake Guntersville my friends.
Weather wise, day two conditions at the EverStart Series event were just as miserable as day one: air temps in the high 30’s, colder wind chills and water temps of 45 degrees. Yet the big fish freight train just kept rumbling through the stage, leaving the top-10 cut at just an ounce shy of 47 pounds.
As the for Alabama Rig versus the rest of the tacklebox, both sides are represented equally in the top 10 with half A-rigging and half avoiding the A-rig altogether.
Chad Aaron of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., still leads the pack with a two-day total of 57 pounds, 11 ounces.
Aaron is avoiding the A-rig for his impressive catches. But the three names behind him are chucking the five wires.
Aaron is concentrating his efforts on “deep structure” down to 35 and 40 feet.
“I’m not saying that I’m not going to use the Alabama Rig,” Aaron said. “But as long as I can catch them without using it, I’m going to continue to do so. I have other ways of targeting the stuff I’m fishing without it, which is fine with me.”
Aaron has strategically been working his areas, carefully managing his fish. Today he hit places that he did not fish yesterday and left some of his places from yesterday alone.
Aaron also hinted that some of his better places, his “A places,” are small and specific, the biggest one being a 50-yards long. Other places, the B places, are larger more general areas with “hundreds of fish” and other anglers working them.
“I’ll fish the general areas for longer periods of time,” he added. “But the places that are more specific, I’ll make just a few casts until I catch a good one, then I leave to save what’s there.”
Consider the plight of James McMullen of Quakertown, Penn. This is his first trip to Lake Guntersville and he catches 28 pounds, 4 ounces on day one and 28 pounds, 13 ounces on day two and he is still in second place with 57 pounds, 1 ounce.
Just to prove how insane Lake Guntersville fishing is, where as the leader Aaron is catching big bass to down to 40 feet, runner-up McMullen is as far off the main channel as you can get, in the back of a creek in 5 feet of water and he is Alabama rigging.
“It’s crazy,” McMullen said. “I had what I weighed in today by 11 o’clock and I left them biting. Even though this place is far back, it’s like they’re funneling in there. The smaller 2-pound fish are dark green, but the big ones are really white, like they just came in off the lake. Fortunately no one else is fishing back there. I’ve seen a few boats come in, but they fish other stuff and then leave.”
Alex Davis of Albertville, Ala., moved into third place today on the strength of a 31-pound, 11-ounce stringer for a two-day total of 56 pounds, 8 ounces.
Davis, a well-known guide on Guntersville, won the EverStart event held here last May on an Alabama rig and now he is throwing…you guessed it, an Alabama rig.
“I’m catching all my fish on it,” Davis said. “I only got nine bites today, but they were big ones. When you get them in the boat they’ve got giant shad tails sticking out of their throats.”
Davis says he is not catching his fish off spot-specific places, but instead he is having to roam long ledges to contact the fish.
“In the places I’m fishing, I have not caught a fish off the same exact spot twice,” he said. “I’ll work through a previous waypoint, not get any bites, keep on going and then boom, catch one in a new place along the ledge.”
When asked if the size of the swimmers on the A-rig makes a difference, Davis just smiled and said, “Yes, and let’s just leave it at that for now.”
Lucas is “donkey hunting” with an umbrella rig.
“I just can’t compete with it with anything else in the box,” Lucas said. “It catches big ones here, there’s no doubt.”
Lucas is working up and down a certain stretch of bank in 7 to 10 feet of water and has found three or four sweet spots along the stretch that are money.
“When you find that one magic cast here on Guntersville, it’s just amazing how many fish you can catch off it,” Lucas said. “And if you let it rest and come back later, it’s like a whole new group of fish have moved up on it. This lake is just amazing in that way.”
Robert Boyd of Russellville, Ala., moved to fifth place with a 29-pound, 4-ounce catch today for a two-day total of 50 pounds, 2 ounces.
Boyd won the EverStart event on Guntersville in 2011 about this same time of year and he is fishing some familiar territory again this year.
Boyd is forgoing the Alabama rig in favor of a crankbait and big spinnerbait.
“There are so many shad in there where I’m fishing that they black out the depthfinder,” Boyd said. “And when you find a big hole in the shad where they’ve all cleared out, that’s when you get excited because something big is in there feeding on them.”
Clent Davis caught the big bass in the Pro Division on day two weighing 10 pounds, 7 ounces.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 pros in the EverStart Series event on Lake Guntersville after day two:
6th: Tony Davis of Williston, Fla., two-day total of 49-12
7th: Rick Williams of Decatur, Ala., two-day total of 49-11
8th: Kent Ware of Wadmalaw, S.C., two-day total of 49-0
9th: Sean Skey of Sumter, S.C., two-day total of 48-10
10th: Aaron Hastings of Middletown, Md., two-day total of 46-15
Jeter leads co-anglers
Darren Jeter of Marshall, N.C., sacked 20 pounds, 11 ounces today to take the lead in the Co-angler Division with a two-day total of 32 pounds, 13 ounces.
Scott Towry of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., is runner-up with a two-day total of 31 pounds, 9 ounces.
Wayne Boyd of Rome, Ga., is in third place with a two-day total of 30 pounds, 10 ounces.
Jim Austin of Lithonia, Ga., is in fourth place with a two-day total of 30 pounds, 5 ounces.
Scott Ostmann of Cincinnati, Ohio, rounds out the top five with 29 pounds, 8 ounces.
Byron Botdorf caught the big bass in the Co-angler Division on day two weighing 9 pounds, 6 ounces.
Rest of the best
Rounding out the top-10 co-anglers in the EverStart Series event on Lake Guntersville after day two:
6th: Matthew Clay of Madisonville, Tenn., two-day total of 29-7
7th: Paul Palmer of Madisonville, Tenn., two-day total of 28-14
8th: Nick Cupps of Decatur, Ala., two-day total of 28-12
9th: Ethan Cox of West End, N.C., two-day total of 26-11
10th: Austin Spurlin of Hogansville, Ga., two-day total of 26-8