Guide to rat fishing at Lake Guntersville

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Already rated as one of the best bass fishing lakes in the nation, Lake Guntersville is about to celebrate one of its heralded features &8212; fishing a &8220;rat&8221; in the grass mats.

As the first cool fronts of autumn sweep across northeast Alabama, the fishing on this 67,900-acre Tennessee River impoundment starts a shift to a pattern that gives any angler a thrill. And although most people call it &8220;rat&8221; fishing, the anglers are actually using a lure that looks more like a frog, mainly Snag Proof&8217;s Moss Master Tournament Frog.

Although the bass are going to hang out where they&8217;re the hardest to reach the majority of the time, that&8217;s not always the case, according to Chandler.

Chandler said a water temperature drop of as little as five degrees can trigger the bonanza in the grass, which consists of milfoil, hydrilla and coontail moss.

For me, it took a bit of coaching from Chandler to get the hang of the retrieve the fish prefer at Guntersville. I was accustomed to a steady retrieve that worked on the bass in the lily pads on Ross Barnett Reservoir in Mississippi, which has a purpose at Guntersville.

The main thing I did learn about frog fishing at Ross Barnett was to delay the hook-set as long as possible.

Fishing on Guntersville, which has a 15-inch minimum size limit on largemouth and smallmouth bass, goes through another transition in November when the serious cold fronts come blowing through. The wind associated with the fronts will break up the grass mats and send them down the river or push pieces back into coves.

David Rainer is with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.