Gerald Swindle wasn’t himself on Day 1 of the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship at Mille Lacs. Humor is his gift, and he just wasn’t funny Thursday. He was wound tighter than 4-pound braid on a size 10 spinning reel prior to takeoff, and at day’s end he told fans at weigh-in, “Today was the first day all year that I really felt stressed.”
The results proved it. His 9-pound catch marked one of his worst days in what’s otherwise been an absolutely awesome season that put him first in the AOY points race coming into this event.
So in a soupy Day 2 fog delay, anglers lined-up to help their fellow competitor recover from yesterday.
Drew Benton invited Swindle to come fish the point where the newly crowned Rookie of the Year wrecked ‘em yesterday. Living legend Gary Klein showed Swindle the exact bait and boat dock pattern to use if he got desperate. And Chris Zaldain offered the strangest and most humorous boost, when he offered Swindle a sandwich bag full of water complete with a live leech he’d just found on the dock.
Apparently, the man who preaches Positive Mental Attitude had a long talk with himself last night. Swindle was back to being bass fishing’s funniest man on Friday, and that’s a super-good sign for all those that love and cheer for the former house framer.
“It was just me, Lulu, and the dogs last night,” says Swindle. “She cooked us breakfast for dinner. Scrambled eggs and toast, but no whomp ‘em biscuits. They don’t seem to sell those in grocery stores around here.”
Whomp ‘em biscuits?
“Yea, you know the kind that come in that tube and you whomp ‘em on the counter and they bust open?” he quizzed, as those within earshot cracked-up as they typically do when Swidle talks.
However Swindle offered no comical excuses for his poor performance yesterday. “Nope, I had just as much practice time to figure ‘em out as the guys who caught 23-pounds yesterday,” says Swindle. “I didn’t have a great practice, and I guess it showed.”
“Today is a brand new day, I’ve got two size 25 Quantum spnning reels for drop shotting, and I’ll fish a lot deeper today, like 671-feet if I have to,” he quipped in far more typical Swindle tone.
The deepest spot on Mille Lacs is about 42-feet, so Swindle should have plenty of line on his spool. Mostly, he’s got a boatload of desire and humor to begin Day 2, and that’s what Swindle needs most to win his second Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.