The initials P.M.A. on Gerald Swindle’s bracelet have far more to do with his place near the top of the leaderboard at a very tough Bassmaster Elite Series tournament on the Upper Chesapeake Bay, than his ability to adapt to wildly fluctuating tidal water levels that have most pros on a mental roller coaster.
“P.M.A.” stands for Positive Mental Attitude, and Swindle subscribes deeply to its importance in life and his fishing – even on tidal waters that become tenaciously temperamental.
“Heck I’d rather read Facebook or Instagram than a tidal chart,” joked the always-hilarious Swindle, after placing another solid limit on the scales in a derby where even the best in the world are zeroing.
“The only factor the tide has had on me is exposing a bunch of laydowns to throw at,” says Swindle. “I pitched a black/blue Zoom Z-Craw with a Quantum TourMg to catch some of them, and when they stopped biting that, I caught them on a little homemade Ed Chambers crankbait.”
“What I’ve realized is, if bass are in an area, then they’ll replenish, no matter what the tide is doing,” says Swindle. “I may have to rotate around, and wait 20 minutes or an hour for them to get back on a particular piece of cover, but the bottom line is eventually they’re coming back to that laydown or whatever – no matter what the tide is doing.”
“You can complain about the tide all you want, but nobody’s gonna call a time-out in this game. So you better keep fishing and not outthink yourself,” he says.
“I think a lot of guys got so few bites in practice, that if they got a bite on one particular dock or isolated piece of cover, they’re fishing it to death,” theorizes Swindle. “Me, I’m rotating targets – hitting all the stuff that looks good in a particular area of the lake until I get a bite.”
Apparently an affinity for tidal charts isn’t common for northern Alabama pros. “I’m like Jordan Lee, he says if his outboard is dragging on the bottom here, then he figures it’s low tide, and if his boat’s floatin’ higher, he reckons the tide must be rising – other than that, we just go fishing and throw at everything that looks like it might be holding a bass.”