John's Journal...

Bass, Crappie, Bluegill and Catfish – Guntersville’s Got It All with Captain Buddy Golden

Catching Fish from the Bank

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: You can get pulled out of the boat when you bass fish Lake Guntersville by the oversized bass that take your bait. Mark Menendez of Paducah, Kentucky, a bass fishing pro on the BASS Elite Series circuit, recently finished sixth at the BASS Elite Series Southern Pro Challenge held on Lake Guntersville in Guntersville, Alabama. “Every day I fished there, I’d catch from 60 to 100 bass per day weighing 4-pounds each or more,” Menendez said. “Each day, I’d throw back five-fish limits, weighing 20 pounds or more. This is a phenomenal lake, and right now is the best time to fish it.” After hearing Menendez talk about the huge numbers of big bass at Lake Guntersville, I called my long-time friend Captain Dallas “Buddy” Golden, a guide at Lake Guntersville and professional-tournament fisherman, and requested a bass fishing trip. Golden, Click to enlargewho’s fished Guntersville since the early 1980s and knows where to find the fish, promised not only to guide me to numbers of bass, but also to plenty of crappie, bluegills and catfish.

John E. Phillips’ Question: Buddy, you just caught one and missed two more fishing here at Mink Creek on Lake Guntersville. Why do you like to fish here?
Golden: The shad are spawning in the grass, and the bass are chasing the shad. I want to catch a big bass for you really quickly, so I’ll be using top-water baits, like the Heddon Zara Spook and Strike King’s Wake Shad, and fishing over the milfoil.

Phillips: As we started through the culvert that went from the main lake into Mink Creek, I noticed an angler standing on the bank by the culvert catching bass. Billy Gray of Huntsville, Ala., had a basket full of crappie he’d caught by casting a jig into the culvert and reeling it back against the current. Most of his crappie weighed from 1- to 1-1/2-pounds each. Gray told me, “I fish from the bank aClick to enlarget the mouth of the culvert here at Mink Creek about 3 or 4 days a week and usually catch about 30 crappie per day. I’ve caught crappie weighing as much as 3 pounds fishing from the bank. I use a pink-colored Bobby Garland crappie jig on 4-pound-test line. Early in the morning in the late spring and early summer, crappie will be holding deep. So, you have to let the jig sink and then reel slowly. As the sun gets higher, the crappie will move toward the surface, and you’ll have to reel the jig faster to keep it up more shallow. There’s a drop-off where the culvert comes into the creek about 13-feet deep, and that’s where the crappie are holding. If the crappie bite is good, I can catch 30 crappie in about 2 hours. I also caught and landed a 6-1/2- and a 7-1/2-pound largemouth while fishing here for crappie.” On the other side of the culvert standing on the bank fishing was Mike Jackson. He was catching bass from right at daylight until about 9:30 am or 10:00 am, and had caught and released 30 bass when we saw him. He caught a 10-1/2-pounder fishing from the bank next to the culvert. Click to enlarge

Phillips’ Question: Buddy, I can’t believe you can catch a limit of 30 crappie, 30 bass and/or a 10-pound-plus largemouth fishing from the bank at Guntersville. Why are there so-many fish in Lake Guntersville?
Golden: This lake homes plenty of baitfish for all the game fish to eat. Guntersville has a lot of grass, which provides food and cover for the baitfish and cover for the bass. Too, we have golden shiners like Florida has that the bass like to eat. Guntersville has a tremendous forage base, and the lake homes a number of not only bass, but bluegills, crappie, catfish, stripers and white bass.

To view a detailed description of my fishing trip at Guntersville, check out my Twitter page at If you want to see more pictures of the fish we caught at Guntersville, go to my Facebook page at To fish with Buddy Golden, call him at 256-603-9943, email, or visit

Tomorrow: Dodging the GPS Pirates

Check back each day this week for more about "Bass, Crappie, Bluegill and Catfish – Guntersville’s Got It All with Captain Buddy Golden"

Day 1: Catching Fish from the Bank
Day 2: Dodging the GPS Pirates
Day 3: Guntersville Has Got More than Just Bass and Plenty of ‘Em
Day 4: Guntersville’s Got the Bass – Plenty of ‘Em and Big Ones, Too
Day 5: New Spot, New Bait, More Bass


Entry 510, Day 1