Gerald Swindle is a lot of things. He’s the 2004 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year, winner of nearly $2 Million dollars in prize money, a great husband to “Lulu” – by far the funniest guy among all pro anglers – and now – add to the list – rookie pro, Jordan Lee’s roommate and barber during the Toyota Angler of the year Championship on Sturgeon Bay.
Beneath Swindle’s humor is a big heart. So when the 24-year-old Lee struggled to get a haircut amid several straight weeks of travel, and showed-up at Sturgeon Bay looking a little shaggy – Swindle stepped-in to help.
“I went to Target and bought some $20 clippers,” says Lee. “The box says they’re ‘heavy duty, with a long lasting motor that easily cuts the thickest of hair’ – really, that’s exactly what the box says,” laughed Lee. “I ran them over my head, and things went pretty well until I got to the back of my neck – and that’s when “G” had to step in.”
“He had a line back there that looked like the bottom contour on your Humminbird screen when you’re bouncing around in 4’ waves,” says Swindle.
“By the time I got done trimmin’ him up, his neckline looked as crisp as one of those Lake Michigan sand bar shelves – the only catch was he had to make our lunch sandwiches in exchange for my barbering skills. And I’ll tell ya’ - he’s a good little sandwich maker,” proclaims Swindle.
Speaking of bouncing around in 4’ waves, Swindle is also quick to play the role of marine police officer – advising 20 mph be your max speed in the sort of monster waves Lake Michigan is serving-up this week.
“To be real honest, 20 mph might be too fast in these waves – you simply can’t go anywhere quickly in waves like this – if you do you’ll tear up your equipment,” says Swindle, whose friend and Toyota teammate, Kevin VanDam, says waves could easily reach 6’ tall on Day 1 of competition.
“It’s frustrating not to be able to go look at more and different places to fish – but you can only take what Mother Nature gives you – and if you try to take more – you better be wearing nothing but flip flops and a snorkel – because you’re fixin’ to fill up your bass boat,” adds Swindle.
In the rare and unexpected instance the wind should lay calm this week, and allow the pros to run at faster speeds, Swindle and Lee have a backup plan.
“If it gets calm, and we can run 60 mph, Jordan will pack us Smucker’s Uncrustables. They’re 210 calories a piece, and best of all, the edges on them are sealed, so you can run wide open without your jelly blowin’ out,” concludes Swindle.