Lake Guntersville Day 1 Coverage - Major League Fishing

Lake Guntersville Day 1 Coverage

It’s almost time to weigh some bass
Image for Lake Guntersville Day 1 Coverage
Jimmy Reese Photo by Kyle Wood. Angler: Jimmy Reese.
February 2, 2017 • MLF • Archives

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The deal with the bridges


2:00: It’s almost time to weigh some bass

Day one is done, at least for the coverage blog. Our reporters are getting off the water and ready for weigh-in and the first flight has under an hour of fishing time left. Weigh-in starts at 3 p.m. CT on live on, but you can come out to Guntersville City Harbor to take it in for yourself if you’re so inclined. Either way, it should be a good time – the first Tour weigh-in of the year is always special and there are bound to be some G-ville lunkers!

Tournament Details

Takeoff: 7 a.m. CT at Guntersville City Harbor, 201 Blount Avenue, Guntersville, Ala.

Weigh-in: 3 p.m. CT Thursday and Friday, 4 p.m. CT Saturday and Sunday at Guntersville City Harbor

FLW Expo: 12 to 4 p.m. CT Saturday and Sunday at Guntersville City Harbor 


1:50: Rose is cooking

Mark Rose just upgraded on back-to-back casts. The first was worth ounces, the second about a pound. He’s now knocking on the doors to the 20-pound mark. That’s not going to knock Jay Kendrick off as the unofficial leader, but it’s a strong bag today for sure. 


1:42: Rose, Mosley, Birge

Mark Rose has a limit for maybe 18 pounds. He’s one of the best of all time on the Tennessee River – with a start like that he’s automatically in good position for the rest of the week.

Otherwise, Zack Birge has four in the box (he just flipped his fourth up out of a trash mat), and Brandon Mosley has just one so far. 


1:32: McCall and Davis have limits

It took some doing, and Chris McCall says “it sucks for sure,” but the man from Texas has himself a limit now. Alex Davis has a limit too, and his goes a healthy 15 pounds or so. 


Austin Terry

1:28: More updates

Austin Terry has worked his way up to four keepers now, the largest of which is about 5 pounds. Peter Cherkas has three in the box, though no big ones. One other note – Jay Kendrick has moved off his bridge – his whereabouts are a mystery now. 

We’re about an hour and a half from the first flight checking in, so it’s getting to crunch time for some of the field. You can’t win it on day one, but it’s sure possible to lose it, even on Guntersville where making up ground with huge bags is such a distinct possibility. 


1:10: Weather and some more fish

It looks like the forecasted rain might finally be headed to us. Down on the lower end of the lake there are some pretty good whitecaps building on the lake as a brisk north wind begins to freshen. For those fishing offshore, things are going to start getting harder. Of course, bass like to eat in the wind, so it might be a boon for some pros.

Around the field, Dan Morehead filled his limit and has about 14 pounds. Jimmy Reese has two littles. Zell Rowland has a small limit. Finally, Peter T has four that go about 15 pounds – one more good one and he’ll be cooking. 


12:42: Henry has his limit

Jonathan Henry is another Guntersville local with some serious success on his home pond. Today he’s got a limit for about 12 pounds.

Outside of Henry, we’re hitting a bit of a lull. The nice thing about that is that the fishing is bound to pick up in a bit. A few mysteries still out there are guys like Mark Rose and Wesley Strader – they’re hammers, and we haven’t run into them yet on the water. 


12:27: Neal has upgraded

Michael Neal has 15 pounds a while back, but he’s culled his way up to about 16 pounds now. He’s only fished two spots all day, so there’s evidently some potential for another stop or two that could really produce. Elsewhere, Dan Morehead has for in the box for about 11 pounds and Shin Fukae has a limit for 15 pounds or so. 


Austin Felix

12:08: Batts and Felix

We don’t have a total on Austin Felix at the moment, but we know for sure he’s got two little keepers and just landed one about 4 pounds out of the crowd in Mud Creek. Out on the lake, Clayton Batts has two so far. He loves fishing offshore grass, but it always seems to bite him come tournament time. Maybe this afternoon he’ll turn that trend around. 


11:59: Mitchell has a limit

Kurt Mitchell has managed to be strikingly consistent on Tour since he started up. Today, he’s got a limit in the boat (nothing too special) and is chucking a vibrating jig to do it. 


11:52: Blake and Knight are striking out

Derrick Blake is a Tennessee River guy and he busted them in the FLW Tour Invitation on Norris last fall, but he’s not going so well today. Unfortunately, he’s got no fish in the boat and it’s nearly noon. Also not catching is Brad Knight, who usually catches them on the Tennessee River. 


11:37: Terry has two

Unlike so many who are winding grass, Austin Terry is flipping. He just missed one and has two in the boat at the moment. From Cali, Chris Gosselaar has one so far. Barry Wilson is up to three. 


Casey Scanlon

11:30: Sharing is caring

Bill Day, Casey Scanlon, Austin Felix, James Watson and Cody Bird are all working the same flat up in Mud Creek. Though they’re all fishing hard, there’s not a lot of catching going on. 


11:24: Upshaw update

Fishing just south of Goose Pond, Andrew Upshaw has three in the box, one of them a “good one.”

Upshaw’s progress so far is pretty typical of wintertime on Guntersville. Limits aren’t as easy to scratch up as they would be on Lewis Smith or an Ozark lake, but the fish are bigger. We’re likely to see quite a few 12-pound bags this week that aren’t full. For Upshaw and others like him, three fish before noon is not a bad way to go. 


Jamie Caldwell

11:10: A pile of updates

For some reason our OTW crew seems to have got in a good rotation the last couple minutes and we’ve found a pile of guys. Buddy Gross has a limit for 13 pounds and Michael Neal has a limit for 15 pounds. Jamey Caldwell only has one, but it’s a 6-pounder. We don’t know what he has, but Joseph Webster is culling, and that’s never a bad sign. Additionally, Jim Moulton has three in the boat. 


Scott Suggs

10:55: More notes

Scott Suggs just pulled out the balance beam to cull up a little bit. It wasn’t a big cull, but ounces is money in this game. Nearby, Anthony Gagliardi has two in the boat, but they're both good ones – he’s got nearly 8 pounds. 


10:43: Old and new

Scott Canterbury had three pretty early and that’s still the story for him. Chad Warren, an FLW Tour rookie, has two little ones. Slinging a lipless, Scott Suggs has a limit of smalls and mediums. Matt Greenblatt has three keepers and lost one good one. From Australia, Carl Jocumsen has one keeper in the box. 


10:32: Martin is up to three

Scott Martin has caught his third now. He’s got two decent ones and one that is real small. He also just landed a big catfish that he hooked in the tail. Exciting, but not much help. Also of note, Larry Nixon has two in the boat, though no catfish. 


10:20: Condition report

The conditions on Guntersville right now are about as good as you can get in early February. So far, the rain has held off and it’s not very windy. With temperatures getting up into the low 50s, it’s downright comfortable out there. With plenty of current running, today is a god day to be on G-ville.


10:07: More updates

Lendell Martin Jr. has two in the boat and Dennis Tiejte has a limit for about 13 pounds. Barry Wilson has one keeper. Wilson had a great practice, so there’s hope yet for him and the day is young. 


10:00: Kendrick is a bridge expert

Kendrick is one of the best bridge anglers Guntersville has, and he proved it back in 2015 in the FLW Series win. Today, he’s literally anchored, with a rope and heavy metal instead of Power-Poles, and it looks like he’s doing his best to show off his mastery of the Guntersville bridge game again. 


9:52: Barnes, Dunkin, McMillan and Meyer

Hammering away at one bridge, Evan Barnes has one keeper so far. Luke Dunkin recently put his second in the boat, a solid 4-pounder that he caught with a spinning rod. Brandon McMillan has one in the box and Cody Meyer has filled a limit out for about 12 pounds. 


Jay Kendrick

Jay Kendrick

9:43: Kendrick is popping off

Fishing a bridge (surprise, surprise), Jay Kendrick is currently killing it. Our earlier report of one small one was erroneous – what he’s got now is three giants. In the last 10 minutes or so, Kendrick has literally landed two bass that are 7+ pounds and he’s got another big one in the ‘well with them. Look out! 


9:37: Status updates

Popping around the field, Billy McDonald and Todd Hollowell are sitting on blanks so far. Doing better, Todd Auten has four that are all between 2 and 3 pounds. Up the river, Eric Jackson just lost another quality fish that looked to be about 4 pounds. 


Eric Jackson

9:21: Jackson update

Shortly after landing a giant, Jackson just lost one as well. There are a lot of 5-pounders in Guntersville, but every fish counts and it’s never fun to lose one. 

In less dramatic news, Austin Felix has two little keepers on the boat. 


Eric Jackson

9:10: Jackson sticks a big one

Eric Jackson had two small keepers in the boat until a moment ago. Just now, he landed a 5- or 6-pounder to add to his creel in style. Think he got a little excited?

Elsewhere, Cox still has a blank and Ramie Colson Jr. is fishless as well. 


9:05: Dunkin dealing with losses

Luke Dunkin has a 3-pounder to start, but what he’s lost is the story so far. He’s already dumped a couple including a “biggun.” Luckily, he got to the bridge he wanted to be on despite being boat 140. According to him, “this is where it goes down!”

Also, Shane LeHew has one keeper to start. 


Darrel Robertson

8:50: Robertson has a limit

Darrel Robertson has been going steady all morning and he’s now worked his way up to an early limit worth about 12 pounds. Nothing stunning, but it’s got to feel nice to have a limit so early on the first day of the season. 


Cory Johnston

8:41: Johnston and other updates

Fishing a lipless and a jerkbait, Cory Johnston is on putting on a non-keeper clinic. He’s catching fish nearly every cast, but so far only two of them have hit the livewell.

Otherwise, Scott Ashmore has one 15-inch keeper and Darrel Robertson has added a 3-pounder to bring his livewell up to four fish for about 11 pounds.


8:36: Notable nothings

We just caught up with Andy Morgan and John Cox. Amazingly, neither of them has a fish in the boat, though it likely won’t stay that way for long. 


8:30: Technique notes

So far the techniques we’ve seen early on day one are just about what was expected. We’ve seen plenty of lipless crankbaits in the grass, jigs fished real slow on hard cover (with little success) and some bridge action as well. As the week goes on, we might have some more groundbreaking stuff revealed, but for now it’s the wintertime staples on G-ville. 


Alex Davis

8:26: Davis checks in with three

Local stick Alex Davis started his day fishing near Arey and Martin and he’s got three in the boat so far. Davis has won before on Guntersville at the Costa FLW Series level, but he’s yet to win on Tour. Could this be the week? 


8:20: Hammerbury has three in the boat

Scott “Hammerbury” Canterbury is bucking the trend of throwing a lipless in the grass and it’s paying off – he’s got three in the boat and two are good ones. Canterbury has a ton of experience on Guntersville and has won plenty of money on it, so he’ll likely be one to watch all week long. 


8:05: McCall is on the grass, Robertson has three keepers

Fishing a grass bed with two other anglers, Chris McCall doesn’t have anything yet, but he’s in his element. McCall is one of the best with a Rat-L-Trap in the grass on Sam Rayburn, so he’s got to be fishing with a little extra confidence this week.

Fishing way in the back of South Sauty, Darrel Robertson is on some fish. They aren’t big, but he’s got three keepers for about 6 pounds and seems to be around ’em. We’ll have to wait and see if they grow a little. 


Zell Rowland

7:50: More early updates

Fishing near Martin and Davis, Matt Arey is on the board with a 3-pounder to start his day. Elsewhere, Jason Abram has a pair of keepers in the boat to start his day – he’s fishing the lower end of the lake, where there are a lot fewer anglers. Fishing a bridge, Jay Kendrick has a small keeper. Zell Rowland is also on the list of anglers with fish, and started his day with a 3-pounder.  


Scott Martin

7:25: Davis and Martin sharing water

Fish No. 2 and 3 of the season go to Scott Martin. He and Alex Davis started in the same area and Martin landed a vaguely described “nice one” to start his year before adding another keeper. It can be tricky to estimate fish on Guntersville because they get so fat during the winter, but any fish is a good one when you’re starting the season. 


7:20: The first fish of the year

Cody Meyer broke the ice. Someone else may have caught one we didn’t see, but the first recorded keeper of the season is a 4-pounder that Meyer promptly tossed in his livewell. He says he had a terrible practice, so either he’s been sandbagging or things are already looking up for him. 


Mark Rose

7:00: The season is underway

You could hardly pick a better place to start the 2017 FLW Tour season. Shallow to deep, grass or rocks, Lake Guntersville has it all. It’s also one of the best lakes in the country and one of only a handful with the very real potential to pump out bags in excess of 30 pounds. Word on the street is that G-ville has been a little stingy of late, but it’s almost certain that someone in the field of 165 pros can unlock it.

Outside of the fish and the competitors, the main challenge this week might be the weather. Winter in northern Alabama can be harsh at times, and though it’s been unseasonably warm this year, poor conditions are a very real threat. This morning, rain is almost certain, and depending on how windy it gets, things could be very chilly indeed. Nonetheless, barring absolutely huge quantities of rain, the fish should be largely unaffected – they’re insulated by plenty of water.

Guntersville has a long history as one of the premier lakes in the country, so the typical stable of winter baits and techniques is well known. We can expect to see swimbaits, crankbaits and lipless crankbaits play a big role, with almost any other technique mixed in. Guntersville boasts extremely varied habitat, from ledges and shell beds to eelgrass and milfoil to bridges and docks. The sheer variety makes it hard to pin any one technique as dominant before the tournament starts. The most likely patterns will probably revolve around mid-depth grass, the famous bridges or deeper offshore wintering spots.

We’ll find out a lot about what patterns will be strong once the fishing begins to get underway. Because of the warm winter, water temps are still in the low 50s in many places. That means a fair number of fish are scattered around and not definitely moving in or out. Getting in tune with that uncertainty will be a challenge, but FLW Tour pros aren’t the best in the world for nothing. It’s going to be a showdown to start the season for sure.


Jeff Sprague


Temperature at takeoff: 46 degrees

Forecast high: 52 degrees

Sky: partly cloudy

Precipitation: 80 percent chance of rain with chances increasing in the afternoon

Wind: N at 7 mph


Tournament Details

Takeoff: 7 a.m. CT at Guntersville City Harbor, 201 Blount Avenue, Guntersville, Ala.

Weigh-in: 3 p.m. CT Thursday and Friday, 4 p.m. CT Saturday and Sunday at Guntersville City Harbor

FLW Expo: 12 to 4 p.m. CT Saturday and Sunday at Guntersville City Harbor