Home, sweet home?


Michele Fanfani

Lake Guntersville

2023 February 16-19

MLF Toyota Series Central, Stop 1

Scottsboro, AL

After a journey of 1480 miles, round trip, Jacopo returns to Guntersville Lake for the second event in his annual schedule. While it could be called his “home lake” due to his chosen place of residence in America, it is also true that, being a huge lake, he has never really been able to explore it thoroughly. He often says that he has been able to fish it very little, especially at the beginning of the season. So much so that for this Toyota Series event of MLF, Jacopo arrives having only tried it out for two days.
Four were the techniques that mainly caught good fish: Umbrella rig (with only three hooks) for offshore weeds; Heavy lipless (up to 1/2 oz.) bright red color; soft swimbait, and the inevitable Chatterbait from 3/4 to 3/8 oz.
All approaches for fast reaction fishing.
And as often happens in these latitudes, the first day of the competition is cancelled due to a tornado (winds up to 100 km/h and torrential rain), which makes fishing impossible.
The following day, however, the weather conditions improve a bit and in the actual Day 1, 260 boats (pro-anglers and co-anglers), all very determined and prepared, are deployed in this competition.
But the cold front and the tornado from the day before have still changed the water conditions of the lake with rising levels, colder temperatures, and muddy color.
Despite this, Jacopo decides to start from the spots where he had caught fish before, even though the conditions were different.
The first spot, to fish with an Umbrella rig, does not yield as Jacopo hoped, but he still manages to put 3 keepers in the boat.
Then, changing pattern decisively, Jacopo moves to the side coves, fishing in the innermost part, in shallow water at the mouth of the small streams, where he completes the quota with a lipless (as described above) and also begins to improve the size by making several discards.
He ends the day in a spot similar to the last one, which, sheltered from the wind that still blew at 50 km/h, still had clear and less cold water.
He improves his limit and goes to weigh-in with 18-11 pounds. A great result for such a difficult day, and he ranks 23rd.
During the night, the outside temperature drops sharply, with a minimum of -5°C.
The conditions on Day 2 have therefore changed again: less wind and more sun, but very cold.
Jacopo is still attempting to approach Umbrella rig in order to catch the larger fish, but the water has become too murky everywhere, which doesn’t allow him to execute this technique properly. He then switches to Lipless and catches many fish, but they are all too small, except for a couple of decent ones that he puts in the livewell.
He continues fishing in other similar coves to those of the previous day, but mainly focuses on those without small tributaries carrying dirty water. He completes his limit and begins to try to improve his overall weight by changing patterns in favor of grassy areas where he can cast the Chatterbait.
He hooks some fish that could have been important, but for various reasons, he is unable to bring them into the boat. In the end, he finishes 49th with a total weight of 28-01 pounds, which may seem like a poor result, but considering the truly extreme weather conditions, it should not be considered as such.

Equipment used.

For fishing with the Umbrella rig (or Alabama rig), Jacopo used a 13 FISHING OMEN series casting rod that is 8 feet long with a Fast action. Paired with a CONCEPT A casting reel with a 7.5:1 gear ratio and spooled with 20-pound Fluorocarbon Sufix Advance.

For Lipless fishing, he used a 13 FISHING ENVY Moderate casting rod that is 7’4″ long with a 3/4 oz. power. Paired with a CONCEPT C2 casting reel with a 7.5:1 gear ratio and spooled with 14-pound Fluorocarbon Sufix Advance.

For Chatterbait fishing, he used a 13 FISHING “New Prototype” MUSE casting rod that is 7’4″ long with a 3/4 oz. power. Paired with a CONCEPT C2 casting reel that had a 17-pound Fluorocarbon Sufix Advance line.

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Michele Fanfani
Michele, 60 years old, Florentine like Jacopo, followed him during all phases of his sporting career in Italy and accompanied him to America at the start of his professional career. He achived several successes fishing along with Jacopo but above all he conceived and created the Italian magazine “Bassfishing” and the publication “The Secrets of Bassfishing”. He currently follows Jacopo along his career and is the creator and administrator of the “Curva Gallelli” Fans Club.