The ink remains to be drying on Canadian Jeff ‘Gussy’ Gustafson’s title in bass fishing file books. Gussy simply received the 53rd Bassmaster Basic on Fort Loudon/Tellico in Knoxville, Tennessee, amassing 42 kilos, 7 ounces of smallmouth throughout three days of fishing. 

The fishing on Fort Loudon and Tellico Lakes was excruciatingly sluggish, however the grind made for an attention-grabbing Basic as persistent shallow water specialists tried to chase down the constant Gussy out deep. Ultimately, Jeff Gustafson turned the primary Canadian to hoist the Ray Scott Bassmaster Basic trophy. Along with his win, he additionally turned the tenth angler to ever win wire-to-wire in Bassmaster historical past, in response to Bassmaster’s Ronnie Moore. On prime of that, he’s now led seven straight days of competitors on Fort Loudon/Tellico in Knoxville.

We sat down with Gussy to debate his victory and achieve some perception into how he was capable of dominate in a subject of one of the best bass anglers on the planet.

What does it really feel wish to change into the primary Canadian to ever hoist the Ray Scott Bassmaster Basic trophy?

That is my Stanley Cup. I’ve had quite a lot of help from all people again residence, and fishing with Chris and Cory Johnston over the previous few years has been a tremendous alternative. There are lots of people that love bass fishing again residence, so with the ability to show that any individual from Canada may compete with one of the best guys on the planet and win is a tough feeling to explain.

After a dominant first two days, what have been you pondering as you got here again to weigh-ins with solely two fish on the ultimate day?

Truthfully, I didn’t suppose I even had an opportunity at profitable. My cameraman Bryan minimize the digital camera after a couple of minutes into the boat trip again, and I screamed a couple of occasions. I used to be mad and disillusioned. After we bought again, Bryan checked BassTrak and easily mentioned, “You’re going to have an opportunity.”

In your opinion, what made your chew flip off on the ultimate day?

The wind was non-existent and the solar was beating down. It was simply flat calm many of the day, and people smallmouth have been already fairly finicky. On the primary day, I caught all 5 of them in a single spot. Once I checked there on day two, there weren’t practically as many however I nonetheless caught three good ones. On the third day, with it being flat, calm, and sunny, they didn’t need to chew something I put in entrance of them. There have been additionally quite a lot of boats spectating, and I’m certain everybody’s sonars have been turned on, so all of that additional noise and commotion most likely harm my chew as properly. 

Whereas ready to weigh-in, did anyone provide you with an concept of how shut the weights could be on the ultimate day?

After checking BassTrak, I had an concept that it could be tight, however these guys all wish to sandbag a little bit. So you actually by no means know what they’ve. The attendants stored us separated so we wouldn’t speak to one another, which was sensible and made it extra thrilling on stage, but in addition stored me at the hours of darkness for a couple of hours. It felt like I used to be alone on an island. 

Gussy after his 2023 win.

What makes your Damiki rig method so particular? Different anglers tried it in observe and through the match, however no person else caught fish such as you did.

Primarily based on my end in 2021, I knew the opposite anglers would a minimum of be checking these areas across the canal. In observe, I pulled in there and it was loaded with locals and rivals, so I made a decision to idle round close by and see if I may discover a faculty or two. After an hour or so, my graph simply lit up. I used to be excited, this spot ran for about 50 yards and had as many smallmouth as you can jam onto a degree. I bear in mind pondering there was no approach the opposite guys received’t discover this, however once I confirmed up on the primary day of the match, I had it to myself. That’s once I knew I actually had a shot to win. What it got here right down to was merely discovering a faculty that wasn’t getting pressured and placing my bait in entrance of them.

Are you able to describe the way you have been utilizing your reside imaging sonar to catch these fish?

The important thing to fishing the Damiki rig is to maintain the bait above the fish. This makes them feed up, which is how chilly water smallmouth usually goal baitfish this time of yr. It’s similar to ice fishing, and my Humminbird Mega Dwell permits me to maintain my eye on the bait and watch the smallmouth come up off of the underside to test it out. That lets me transfer my bait or twitch it to persuade them to strike. It might be practically inconceivable to catch these fish like I used to be with out my Mega Dwell.

Fisherman on a boat holding a fish.
Gussy on the water exhibiting off a giant catch on day two. Bassmaster

In your thoughts, what separates Elite Sequence anglers?

A: Elite anglers break down the water so rapidly. They’re capable of simply hit the water and discover biting fish. Quite a lot of it comes right down to time on the water. We all know what to do based mostly on climate situations and water situations as a result of we’ve fished in all of it. I don’t usually do quite a lot of analysis for our tournaments, I like to only present up, put the trolling motor down, and go fishing. If I believe it appears to be like good, I’ll fish it. I simply preserve doing that till I discover a biting fish or two and start to piece the puzzle collectively. 

Learn Subsequent: Spring Bass Fishing Secrets and techniques From the Professionals

What was your most memorable second of the traditional, except for hoisting the trophy?

The takeoff on day three. There have been so many individuals down there together with my family and friends and there have been Canadian flags hanging off of the bridges. It was simply unbelievable to expertise.

Bassmaster classing 2023, fans watching boats in a river.
The banks have been lined with followers to observe the takeoff on day three. Bassmaster

What’s one piece of recommendation you’ll give to a youthful angler who goals of profitable the Bassmaster Basic?

The very best recommendation I may give is to only fish, fish, fish. Fish totally different our bodies of water, don’t simply fish lakes the place you recognize you’ll be able to catch bass—that received’t enable you study. In order for you it unhealthy sufficient and also you find it irresistible sufficient, you’ll work out a strategy to make it occur.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *