Gerald Swindle is a lot of things. He’s the 2004 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year, winner of nearly $2 million 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,” Lee said. “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. I ran them over my head and things went pretty well until I got to the back of my neck. 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-foot waves,” Swindle said. “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.”
Speaking of bouncing around in 4-foot waves, Swindle is also quick to play the role of marine police officer, advising 20 miles per hour be your max speed in the sort of monster waves Lake Michigan is serving up this week.
“To be real honest, 20 miles per hour 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,” said Swindle, whose friend and Toyota teammate, Kevin VanDam thinks waves could easily reach 6 feet tall on day one 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,” Swindle said. “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.”
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 miles per hour, Jordan will pack us Smucker’s Uncrustables,” Swindle said. “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.”