All bass fishermen who slide their boats off their trailers before daybreak at a Guntersville boat launch hope to accomplish what Jonathan Henry did on Saturday — catch a 30-pound stringer of bass.
The recent dock talk and fishing reports, as well as the triple-digit temperatures, made it an even more impressive haul. And as Guntersville Lake often does when it’s supposed to be miserable, it reminds everyone this is Guntersville Lake after all, a location always capable of producing a remarkable day.
On Saturday, the lake not only kicked out the Top Rod Solo Trail record for heaviest stringer but also the record big fish — a 7.63-pounder.
Henry, who runs the Basswhacker Guide Service out of Grant, Ala., took home the top prize of $516 after hooking 30.56 pounds of largemouth bass. He caught over 20 keepers, including two over 6 pounds, early on a One Knocker Zara Spook. Henry later pulled in three more monsters flipping a 3/4-ounce Killer Bass Baits jig in Guntersville Craw color with a Green Pumpkin Super Chunk trailer. His jig fish came in depths of 8-12 feet of scattered hydrilla.
Lee Black, of Danville, finished in second place with 17.56 pounds. He also snagged big fish honors with a 7.63-pound brute and moved into second place in the Shelton’s Outdoors Angler of the Year standings. Black caught his fish in depths of 25 feet using a 1-ounce brown and green football jig with a green pumpkin Strike King Rage Craw trailer and Zoom Ol’ Monster Watermelon Candy Texas rigged worm. Between his runner-up result and big fish prize, Black pocketed $348.
Allen Johnson, of Trinity, Ala., cashed the final check of $86 with 16.81 pounds of bass. He struggled in the morning until he happened to ride by Brent Crow, who generously invited him to cast where he had been catching fish after fish on a swimbait. Johnson rigged up a Berkley Hollow Belly on a 3/4-ounce jighead and caught his haul in depths of 15-18 feet of open water.
Crow, who runs North Alabama Guide Service, landed in fourth with 16.38 pounds. He had caught several keepers early on a Big Bite 11-inch work and a swimbait before finding a big school of fish. At one point, Crow caught 10 fish in 10 casts before Johnson stopped by. The two caught 15 more fish between them off the same school. Crow threw a 5-inch Strike King Shadalicious Swimbait on a 3/4-ounce head and used a Dobyns Rods 765C with 20-pound P-Line Fluorocarbon to catch the majority of his bag.
Addison’s Jesse Wiggins took fifth place with 14.18 pounds of largemouth bass. All of his fish were brought in from depths of 12 feet with mussel shells and scattered grass. Wiggins used a Green Pumpkin Zoom Ol’ Monster Worm and 3/4-ounce football jig with a zomm super chunk trailer.
The remainder of the top nine is as follows: Charlie Hodle, of Hartselle, sixth, 12.88 pounds; Tyler Weeks, of Russellville, seventh, 11.18 pounds; Nick Reeves, of Moulton, eighth, 8.63 pounds; and Rex Chambers, of Baileyton, ninth, 4.64 pounds.
The next stop on the Top Rod Solo Trail will be at Pickwick Lake on Aug. 11.
% Rex Chambers, who contributed this report, was a participant in the tournament.