Guide gives rundown of Guntersville

Anglers listen to instructions for the Southern Challenge in the Guntersville High gym on Wednesday. James Overstreet

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. — Conditions on Alabama's Lake Guntersville are set up for the power fisherman among the Elite Series anglers to excel in this week's Southern Challenge presented by Purolator.

Troy Jens, one of the top guides on the lake with more than 11 years of experience, said the spinnerbait is going to play a major role this week.

"The grass is perfect, we got a shad spawn and with the winds we're going to have with the weather, it's only going to help the spinnerbait bite," said Jens. "With the winds, our water has some color, which will just help that."

Storms should hit the area on Thursday's first day of fishing, so Jens also sees versatility as a key factor.

"It's the same group who usually do well on Guntersville becaue of the diversity and adjustments," he says, noting that Timmy Horton, Kevin VanDam and Terry Scroggins are his picks because their style of fishing is well-suited for the conditions.

Jens also says anglers need to be ready to change in a flash as "Guntersville is one of those kinds of lakes that can turn on you in an hour. A lot of them will wish they had a couple of adjustments lined up."

Some of Jens' favorite backup plans to the spinnerbaits would be flipping a jig and swimming a worm, but not just any worm. Lampreys are common fodder for bass there, so a huge 10-inch worm fished off the bottom slowly through the grass often does the trick.

"Guys like Denny Brauer, Dean Rojas, Zell Rowland, those old-timers who know how to slow it down and make those drastics changes when conditions turn," Jens says. "It will be one of those guys."

West Coast anglers have been posting top finishes of late, but Jens is leery of those anglers' chances at Guntersville, yet he's curious about how swim baits will fare.

"It would surprise me if we see any West Coast tactics really put the sacks together," he said. "Unless of course, they get them on a swimbait, and that is not out of the quesiton. We have a lot of giants outs here and they haven't seen a lot of swimbaits."

While Jens expects some big bags, he doesn't think it will be easy for the Elites.

"They may be finding out that a lot of these fish that are done spawning, that a lot of them haven't moved deep yet," he says. "They get on this flat pattern, they'll probably find out that they're not as grouped up as they hoped."