For my last morning on Lake Guntersville, I had a graduate-level course in fishing swimbaits with Elite Series pro Byron Velvick, a pioneer of the technique. Velvick says the first rule is to match the forage size—that’s much more important than colour. As you can see from the giant hunk of plastic in the mouth of the seven-pound bass above, we were throwing seven-inchers to match the plentiful shad in Guntersville. Velvick also says most anglers fish swimbaits too fast, too shallow and too erratically. His formula is to let the bait hit bottom, then retrieve it slow and steady, letting the big paddletail do the work of attracting fish. And believe me, when the bass hit, they smack these bait hard. Velvick was determined to get me my biggest bass ever that morning, but I had to “settle” for a four-pounder. In April. With the ice just clearing off my home water in Ontario. Not too shabby.