Bigger Than Bass Fishing

Gerald Swindle had every right to be upset at the end of day two’s weigh-in at the TNT Fireworks Bassmaster Elite on Smith Lake. The fan favorite and Alabama native finished the day in 51st place, falling just one ounce short of the top 50 cut and the chance to fish on semifinal Saturday.

To throw a little salt in the wound, Swindle caught enough weight to finish well within Saturday’s cut, but a four-ounce dead fish penalty on Thursday cost him seven places and a $10,000 check. Anglers knew ounces would be critical on Smith Lake this week, with weights being stacked as tightly as any tournament in recent memory. Unfortunately for Swindle, a single ounce cost him big time.


But following the weigh-in the Team Toyota pro wasn’t complaining or gloomy, and instead was sporting a soft smile as he gave his new friend Aiden Beck a behind the scenes tour of a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament. Aiden is a fellow Alabamian and came to Smith Lake in hopes to meet his favorite angler, Gerald Swindle.


12-year-old Aiden Beck is battling cancer in the form of an inoperable brain tumor, but he doesn’t let that diminish his positivity or his love of the outdoors. Dan’O Sullivan of Advanced Angler is friends with Aiden’s family and made sure to make the introduction before Swindle crossed the stage on Friday.


Swindle heard his story, gave the young man a big hug and insisted he joined him on the Bassmaster stage to help him weigh his fish. The duo looked like old friends as they posed with a pair of Smith Lake spotted bass before Swindle summed up the moment in a genuine, heartfelt interview with emcee Dave Mercer.




“This puts things in perspective for me because I get so stressed with wanting to catch them and do good, but you come in and meet somebody who is fighting a bigger issue than trying to catch a stupid fish it kinda brings me back down to earth,” Swindle said.


“Sometimes we get caught up with work or what we’re doing, but we need to sit back and realize that our problems aren’t that bad. I guarantee if I asked everyone here to stand up and put your problems in a briefcase and you looked around at everyone else’s battles, you’d probably pick your problems back up and go home because you’d see your problems really aren’t too bad.”


Swindle closed this sentiment by asking for prayers and positivity for Aiden, reiterating that the young man is going to “bring it home” and continue to whoop cancers butt. The 8th grade outdoor obsessed young man from Rainbow, Alabama loves to fish Texas-rigged flukes and is determined to beat cancer so he can one day get back to the Bassmaster stage as a tournament angler.


Sure, Swindle was disappointed with his competitive result yesterday but as big of a personality as “G-man” is known to be, he’s got an even bigger heart, and he knows some things are bigger than bass fishing.


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