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Bill Vanderford

Bill Vanderford has lived his dream and now earns his living by writing, photographing, traveling or making his World Famous Swirleybird Fishing Lures. He also speaks, teaches and writes about his favorite subjects...including road racing, throughout the country.


After a successful auto racing career in Europe, Bill turned to professional bass tournament fishing and simultaneously started his guide service in 1971. Though he won many local tournaments and placed well in national events sponsored by BASS, BCA and Project Sports, Inc., his love was the slower-paced pleasure of taking other people fishing. So, in 1977, he gave up competitive fishing to concentrate on his flourishing guide business. Since then, Bill has become a fishing legend in this area. In fact, during 1993, he was inducted into the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame in Hayward, Wisconsin as a legendary guide . . . the first southerner to receive this honor. He has since retired from taking people fishing and returned to driving race cars in 2004   where he was the Southeast Champion in his class, and in 2014, he placed 3rd in his class nationally, followed by winning the National Class Championship in 2015  in HSR (Historic Sportscar Racing).



fishing lure

Catch and Release World Records
Verified by the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame

These records are all called "line class" world records for fish that were caught, measured, and released before a witness.

  • Spotted Bass - Fly Fishing - 2 pound/test tippet

  • Spotted Bass - Fly Fishing - 4 pound/test tippet

  • Spotted Bass - Fly Fishing - 6 pound/test tippet

  • Spotted Bass - Fly Fishing - 8 pound/test tippet

  • Spotted Bass - Fly Fishing - 10 pound/test tippet

(A tippet is the leader tied to the end of the fly line)

  • Spotted Bass - Rod and Reel - 2 pound/test line

  • Spotted Bass - Rod and Reel - 8 pound/test line

  • Spotted Bass - Rod and Reel - 14 pound/test line

Bill caught all of these World Records on Lake Lanier during mid-April, 2000 and all on his Swirleybird Spinners!

Though Bill is recognized everywhere as "The Expert" on Lake Lanier, he has also become well-known as a writer and photographer. His writing career has flourished, and today, Bill is an award-winning member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA), the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA), the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW), and the Georgia Outdoor Writers Association (GOWA). Bill's byline and photography have appeared in many well-known publications, including Field and Stream, Sports Afield, Bassin', North American Fisherman, In-Fisherman, Road and Track Magazine, many outdoor, travel, and online magazines, numerous newspapers, and he served many years as the Georgia Editor for Outdoor Life Magazine. In addition, he has recorded fishing segments for national and local radio and television shows, and for four decades he taught an adult education class on fishing for local community schools. Bill has also produced educational videotapes on many facets of fishing.

In Bill's book, "Lake Lanier Fishing Secrets Revealed" [Kindle Edition] ( one will learn the habits and habitats of the most popular fish found in Lake Lanier. Throughout, the reader will discover many of the tricks and tactics that Bill has employed during his more than forty years of fishing and guiding on Lake Lanier, which makes him uniquely qualified as Lanier's Most Knowledgeable Expert.


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