Skip to main content

Swindle Wins Second Bassmaster Angler-of-the-Year Title

Gerald Swindle will take home $100,000 and the title of Angler of the Year after his win at the Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship at Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota

Swindle Wins Second Bassmaster Angler-of-the-Year Title
Swindle Wins Second Bassmaster Angler-of-the-Year Title

ONAMIA, Minn. - Gerald Swindle of Guntersville, Ala., clinched his second Angler of the Year title since 2004 at the Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship at Mille Lacs Lake in central Minnesota.

A total purse of $1 million was paid out to the Top 50 Bassmaster Elite Series pros, along with berths to the 2017 Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro. Swindle collected $100,000, and the remaining 49 anglers earned shares of the remaining $900,000.

The Top 39 anglers at this event will be competing in the Classic next March on Lake Conroe near Houston, Texas.

Swindle, a 15-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier, struggled to catch competitive limits on Mille Lacs Lake during the first two days of the championship, but he figured out the fish on the final day of the championship today, bringing in a five-fish limit of smallmouth bass that weighed 22 pounds.


“The last thing I wanted was to win this title without catching the kind of fish that Mille Lacs is known for producing,” Swindle said. “I left the docks this morning with the full intention of going out and catching them how I wanted to catch them. I threw a jerkbait and a vibrating jig and had an awesome day. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut.”


Swindle said a 7-pound largemouth he caught during the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Wheeler Lake in Decatur, Ala., in late April was the turning point for his season.

“When I caught that fish, I knew that I was back in the AOY race, and I decided right then and there to ride that momentum to the end of the season,” he said. “Of course it was long from over at that point, but looking back, that fish changed the season for me.”

An emotional Swindle, with his wife LeAnn by his side, explained how humbled and grateful he is for the opportunity to earn a title of this magnitude.

“My parents were in the crowd to watch me win AOY,” Swindle said. “And my wife has stuck by me, through thick and thin — she’s kept my head in the game and helped me stay focused when it was most important. I’m so thankful for the support I receive from her and my family. This is a team sport for the Swindles, and it’s a victory we all get to celebrate together.”


While Swindle was surrounded by media, LeAnn talked about how much this title means when compared to the 2004 AOY title.

“Honestly, I really had no idea back in 2004 how hard it was to win Angler of the Year, and how highly respected the title is,” she said. “He puts his heart and soul into this sport, and not because he has to, but because he loves it. We’re so blessed to be here, and no one is more proud of him than I am.”

The objective of any bass tournament is to catch the most and the biggest bass, but this tournament was won by points accrued throughout the season.


However, Seth Feider of Bloomington, Minn., wowed his hometown crowd after producing an enormous limit of smallmouth bass that weighed 26-2 — his largest limit across the three days, and the best performance of the tournament.

“After the Potomac River event in August, I wasn’t sure fishing this tournament was going to be a possibility,” Feider said. “It’s really a dream come true, and I’m very proud of Minnesota for showing off the best smallmouth bass fishery in the world.”

Last week, Feider was able to make a solid comeback during the Plano Bassmaster Elite at Mississippi River presented by Favorite Fishing out of La Crosse, where he finished in second place.

“To beat these guys anywhere is an accomplishment not to be overlooked, but to do that at home on two fisheries I care deeply about means the world to me,” he said. "Having my friends and family here made it even sweeter.”

Feider caught all of his bass on a drop shot rig near large rocks. He said the key was being patient and fishing slowly.

“There were times I’d leave my bait on the bottom for several minutes and not move it,” he said. “It took time, but thanks to my Humminbird electronics, I knew the fish were there.”

Rounding out the Top 5 in AOY points were Keith Combs of Huntington, Texas, (881); Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., (852); Jacob Powroznik of Port Haywood, Va, (830); and Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., (830).

The Top 5 in weight at Mille Lacs included: Feider (76-5); Brent Ehrler of Newport Beach, Calif., (69-13); Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa, (67-12); Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla., (67-5); and James Elam of Tulsa, Okla., (67-3).

Feider earned the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $500 for leading on the second day.

The Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award of $1,500 was presented to Ehrler for weighing in the overall biggest bass of the event — a 6-10 bass caught on Sunday.

Ehrler earned the A.R.E. Top Angler Award of $1,000 for being the highest placing angler using A.R.E. products.

The Toyota Bonus Bucks Award of $3,000 was given to the highest-placing eligible entrant in the program. The second-highest-placing eligible entrant received $2,000.

Dick Cepek Rolling Forward Award of $1,000 will be presented to the angler who makes the largest gain in Toyota Angler of the Year points from tournament to tournament.

Click here for complete event results.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

New for 2021: Rage Broadhead, Nockturnal Nock, Carbon Express Arrows

New for 2021: Rage Broadhead, Nockturnal Nock, Carbon Express Arrows

New for 2021, here's a look at the new Rage Trypan NC, Nockturnal Shift Nock, Carbon Express Maxima RED Contour and D-Stroyer PileDRIVER arrows.

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

Hobie MirageDrive 360 Kayak Propulsion: Amazing Control and Power

The Hobie MirageDrive 360 pedal propulsion system is the pinnacle of kayak control with more efficient fin designs, glide technology and allows the boat to be moved in any direction.

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

New for 2021: Elite Archery Bows, Slick Trick Broadheads and CBE Sight

Learn more about two new Elite Archery bows, the Enkore and Remedy, two new broadhead from Slick Trick and a new site from Custom Bow Equipment (CBE).

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

New for 2021: Bear Redemption EKO, Legit RTH Compound Bows

Bear Archery's newest bows - Redemption EKO and Legit RTH - are light, adjustable and fast.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

With its innovative gas system and shooter-friendly features, the Savage Renegauge semiauto shotgun ushers in a new era of American firearm design and function.Savage Renegauge Shotgun Review: A Fast-Shooting, Smooth-Cycling Semiauto SHOT Show

Savage Renegauge Shotgun Review: A Fast-Shooting, Smooth-Cycling Semiauto

Scott Haugen - November 16, 2020

With its innovative gas system and shooter-friendly features, the Savage Renegauge semiauto...

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers.3 Proven Bait Rigs for Stripers Striper & Hybrid

3 Proven Bait Rigs for Stripers

J.B. Kasper

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers.

The Havoc RS440 XERO, Havoc RS440 and Siege RS410 bring cutting-edge tech to your hunt.New for 2021 from TenPoint Crossbows Crossbows

New for 2021 from TenPoint Crossbows

Game and Fish Staff - December 29, 2020

The Havoc RS440 XERO, Havoc RS440 and Siege RS410 bring cutting-edge tech to your hunt.

Enjoy canned venison warmed or use it in stews, chili, and other hot dishes.Canned Venison Recipe Wild Game

Canned Venison Recipe

Raschell Rule - January 15, 2021

Enjoy canned venison warmed or use it in stews, chili, and other hot dishes.

See More Trending Articles

More News

The pulse of the American outdoors remains strong, as recent surveys show people continue to enjoy the hunting and fishing pursuits.State of the Outdoor Union: Improving and Strong News

State of the Outdoor Union: Improving and Strong

Michael R. Shea - September 21, 2020

The pulse of the American outdoors remains strong, as recent surveys show people continue to...

President Donald J. Trump put himself into the nation's history books for one of the most significant pieces of conservation legislation to ever be signed into law.President Trump Signs Great American Outdoors Act into Law News

President Trump Signs Great American Outdoors Act into Law

Lynn Burkhead - August 05, 2020

President Donald J. Trump put himself into the nation's history books for one of the most...

Listed as endangered just half a century ago, the American alligator now thrives across the South and represents one of our great conservation success stories.Once Endangered, the American Alligator Survived Potential Disaster Thanks to Conservation Efforts News

Once Endangered, the American Alligator Survived Potential Disaster Thanks to Conservation Efforts

Carolee Anita Boyles - September 21, 2020

Listed as endangered just half a century ago, the American alligator now thrives across the...

With the latest giant weighing in at 151.9 pounds, Oklahoma's Keystone Lake is ground zero for record-size paddlefish.World-Record Paddlefish Déjà Vu - Oklahoma Gives Up Another Weighing 151.9 Pounds Records

World-Record Paddlefish Déjà Vu - Oklahoma Gives Up Another Weighing 151.9 Pounds

Lynn Burkhead - July 24, 2020

With the latest giant weighing in at 151.9 pounds, Oklahoma's Keystone Lake is ground zero for...

See More News

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now