Gerald Swindle talks junk fishing

Category: Tournament

 Jul 7th, 2016 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Nov 21st, 2018 at 3:41 PM

Gerald Swindle is known for his humor and ability to go with the flow as a master of junk fishing. However, few understand what that form of fishing is. The common misconception is that junk fishing is all about having an array of various baits tied on and flinging them about until something bites. Wrong.

The reality is, Swindle’s form of junk fishing is a bit more refined, though he never leads on when publicly speaking about it. His form of junk fishing involves the mental cataloging of a variety of fishing scenarios and having the ability and confidence to know when to apply the knowledge.

Gerald Swindle (Joel Shangle/BassFIRST)

“Junk fishing is the purest form of fishing to me,” said Swindle. “It is the culmination of years of fishing experience. If everybody was a junk fisherman, they’d all be a lot more successful.”

Swindle breaks the basics of junk fishing into three parts. Etch A Sketch, swagger and analyzing details.

Etch A Sketch.

“You have to be an Etch A Sketch to be a true junk fisherman,” said Swindle. “By that I mean you have to be able to start clear each day. Fish what is happening in front of you at the time. Don’t rely on what you did in practice to be the only way to catch fish.

“If I caught them cranking in practice, but then didn’t catch anything for four hours cranking, I stop and try something else. It’s pretty simple.

“No preconceived honey holes, no live or die spots. None of that. Just go with the flow.

“I have a recent example of that on the Lake Wheeler Elite. I had five fish in the box that maybe weighed 6 pounds. Things weren’t going well. Then, with a couple hours left to fish, I came up on a spot that looked like something I’d use a buzzbait on. Had one tied on from practice. Threw it and caught a couple of big ones. Didn’t even think about a buzzbait until then. My mind was clear to start the day. That move kept me in the hunt for the Angler of the Year (AOY).”


“You have to be able to not give a crap when the money is on the line,” said Swindle. “By that I mean, I don’t have any fear of leaving a spot to go to another area or laying down what was a productive lure to try another one I haven’t caught a thing on.

“I love pitching and skipping docks, but you can bet that I fish a lot of stuff between them, too. I have no problem switching up and taking advantage of the conditions in front of me until I get back to the other fishing, like pitching and skipping docks or whatever it was I was doing.

“You have to have an ease with it that comes from years of experience. The swagger.”

Analyziing details.

“You need to be a human google search engine for fishing details,” said Swindle. “An example would be if you want to learn about baseball. You don’t study just one ball player, you study the entire game. Same applies to fishing.

“So, what seems to some people like random decisions to throw this or that is actually not true. The moves I make are not pure instinct, but really educated decision from years of on-the-water experience. The true junk fishing master has to be able to break down the details fast and accurately. It’s all in the small details.

“It’s not what’s in your rod box, but what’s between your ears that matters when mastering junk fishing.”

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