Lake Guntersville Feature Story

Lake Guntersville Preview with Trey Swindle and Daniel Smith

By Jason Duran

The Alabama Bass Trail North Division is ready for stop number two at Lake Guntersville where 250 teams will battle for the $10,000 first place price. This week we caught up with the team of Trey Swindle and Daniel Smith who are one of the favorite teams in this event. They’ve had this event circled on the calendar since the schedule was announced. 

Lake Guntersville is on the list of most anglers as one of the best lakes in the country to visit with many large tournaments through the years being held here. This popularity has caused increased fishing pressure on the lake over the years, but the lake continues to turn out large winning weights. Trey and Daniel said, “people travel across the country to fish here. It’s not uncommon to come here on a Monday afternoon, and there’s 30 boats at the waterfront.  For it to get that much pressure and still put out the weight that it puts out is pretty impressive.”

When asked about the pattern for middle of March they shared, “the fish are everywhere from pre- to post-spawn. We saw some spawning earlier last week. The good thing about this time of the year is the fish being in every stage spreads out the teams. The water temps have been in the 50°s on the main lake with mid to upper 50°s in the back of the pockets. 

Teams will be spread out all over the lake with many found on the south end of the lake “targeting shallow humps and bars with a chatter bait and rattle trap. This area is your typical shore grass fishing, and the bridges also come in to play here.” Lake Guntersville is known for bridges, and in recent years, many events, including the ABT, have been won on bridges. When asked if bridges would play into this event Trey feels like “that’s possibly how it’s going be won.  However, I think it is a little late for that bite to be the main deal. I think there’s too many fish pre-spawn and moving up to spawn. I think it’ll be won on a chatter bait and the grass, but I do think some guys will catch them on bridges for sure.” 

Teams that head north will find a main river pattern plays well. “Teams will be fishing the main river bars along the miracle mile stretch. You’ll see a lot of teams fishing on those bars because I think a lot of the fish spawn on the bars. Fish like this area- they don’t really have to go in the pockets to get out of current because there’s just not that much current in that area.” 

Lake Guntersville is also known for grass. “We’ve actually seen more hydrilla on the lake than I think I have in the past four or five years. We found four or five places that are really loaded with hydrilla. It is really good for the lake, and the grass is always a player,” said Trey. 

Like always, the weather will play a factor. The forecast is calling for rain during practice followed by a cold front moving through the area. “We don’t think it’ll hurt the pre-spawn fish that much, but it could affect the teams planning on sight fishing. Daniel told us the temps have dropped 8° since he was there for practice last week. The rain might help the bite if they decide to pull a little current.” 

Trey believes a few baits that will play into this weekend will “for sure be a chatter bait in the grass. Teams will also mix in a rattle trap and Frittside square bill in the grass. They predicted the weight to be 27-28 pounds to win. The top ten will have weights in the low 20s, and it will probably take 18-pounds to get a check.”

Pre-Tournament Briefing was held via Facebook Live and YouTube on Monday, March 13, 2023, at 6:30 P.M. Anglers should check text messages and emails for latest tournament updates. 

The Launch & Weigh In will be held March 18, 2023, Lake Guntersville State Park
1155 Lodge Drive Guntersville, AL 35976. Launch will be at safe day light. All friends and family are welcome to attend this event, bring lawn chairs and see some of the best bass teams in the country cross the stage. Everyone can watch the live weigh-in and over 4 hours of on-the-water live coverage on the ABT Facebook page, YouTube and the ABT website. 

The sponsors of the 2023 Alabama Bass Trail include: Phoenix Boats, Academy Sports, Alabama Power, America’s First Federal Credit Union, American Trailer Rental Group, BAJIO, Big Bite Baits, Bill Penney Automotive, Black Rifle Coffee Company, Anheuser – Bush, Inc., E3 Sports Apparel, Fish Neely Henry, Garmin, Jack’s, Lew’s, Mountain Dew(Buffalo Rock – Birmingham, AL), Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, Power-Pole, Strike King, Sweet Home Alabama, T-H Marine,  Yamaha, YETI Coolers.