"I knew I had hooked trouble," grinned bass fishing's funniest man, Gerald Swindle. "I cranked my bait off that ledge and it just stopped -- sorta like it hit a brick wall and fell into outer space. Then it was just a series of big, heavy, lazy pulls," said the 2004 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year.
"I was pretty certain it wasn't a bass. In fact, I turned to my outdoor writer guest Kirk Deeter and told him I had just hooked one of the big Tennessee River blue cats some of the other writers back in camp were hoping to get a glimpse of," said The G Man who notched yet another Top 12 finish during the recent Bassmaster Elite Series tournament at Smith Mountain Lake.
When he hooked the big-bellied blue cat, Swindle was fishing for bass at Lake Wheeler as part of a media conference hosted by his sponsors Quantum and Toyota Trucks. He was casting a crankbait tied to 10-pound line and a Quantum E100PPT 5.1:1 cranking reel when the big kitty bit.
Cameras flashed abundantly as the 40-year old Swindle, who is in great physical condition, strained to pull the beast from his bass boat’s livewell.
He and fellow Team Toyota pro Terry Scroggins estimated the small whiskered whale to weigh roughly 30 pounds. While a strain to hold, Swindle’s catch is a miniature version of the 111-pound Alabama state record blue cat that was also caught in the same Lake Wheeler waters 14 years ago.
"We worked ole Moby Blue pretty hard for the cameras, but we took good care of her, and at one point I swear I saw her smiling. We had fun with the whole thing," said Swindle.