Thursday, June 5, 2014

2014 Walmart FLW Tour Lake Pickwick Day 1: Jeff Gustafson Grabs Lead with 10 Pounder Kicker!

Canadian angler take his first lead on the FLW Tour
by Curtis Niedermier
FLW Press Release
Last week he was catching 65-pound sturgeon in British Columbia. Today, he was hauling his personal best bass, a 10-pound, 12-ounce brute, over the gunwale on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour event on Pickwick Lake, which is presented by Straight Talk Wireless and hosted by the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Bureau.
Such is the life for Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson, the second-year pro and popular Canadian outdoor television host from Keewatin, Ontario, who took the early lead on what began as a beautiful, mild morning in Florence, Ala., and ended with a thunderstorm that washed out weigh-in and sent nearly the entire crowd running for cover.
Gussy’s first-day total of 24 pounds, 8 ounces gives him a 15-ounce cushion over the hands-down favorite in this event, Randy Haynes.
As a well-traveled outdoorsman, Gussy has been exposed to some of the best fishing in North America, but he says today ranks right near the top of his greatest fishing experiences.
“I’ve been to Mexico five times, and I’ve never caught one over 10,” he says. “I was shaking like a leaf. When I caught it, I had pulled up to a spot and caught three 1 1/2-pounders in three casts. Then I fired back out there and it bit.
“I’ve never been in this position before,” Gussy adds. “It feels awesome. I picked the right day to catch the biggest bass of my life.”
About 98 percent of the pros in the field – save a few holdouts – are fishing offshore ledges, and the best community holes have gotten extremely crowded. A few have chosen to bounce from spot to spot to try and see as many schools as they can. Others are camping on “mega-schools” and working with other pros to control the area. A third group, which includes Gussy, is working the perimeter of the schools and keying on subtle details that hold “outliers” from the primary was of bass.
“Every place I caught my fish was a little odd-ball spot,” Gussy says. “The main spots I want to fish were loaded up with boats, and I don’t have the nerve to pull in on someone. I’m fishing mid-lake ledges, and when I can find a school, I can catch them every cast.”
The “odd-ball spot” pattern was something Gussy picked up on in practice, when he found a school on a little inconspicuous piece of structure. That’s when the light bulb went on and he realized he could hang with the community-hole campers without having to play bumper boats. Plus, those obvious holes, which everyone knows are holding schools of fish, can offer the occasional opportunity when someone else leaves the spot vacant.
Gussy’s rods are rigged with the same old, same old ledge-fishing lures, but there were three that produced best for him today. He caught the double-digit slob on a football jig, caught a pair of 3-pounders on a crankbait and caught his second biggest on a swimbait. The crankbait has been his school locator, while the swimbait is more of a follow-up option to tempt a bigger bite.
As for tomorrow, Gussy suspects he can get on a good bite on a pair of nondescript humps that he located near the end of the day today. He had a flurry there in the afternoon and caught them on every cast. If that doesn’t work out, he’ll go hunting for a big school and try to rekindle some of his day-one magic. Win or lose, for Gussy, who makes his living in the outdoors year-round, this tournament has already been a dream event.
“If you’re a bass fisherman and you catch a 10-pounder, that’s like shooting a Boone and Crockett whitetail,” he says.
Check back later for the complete details on the top five pros from day one at Pickwick.
For complete results, click here.
The rest of the best
2nd place – Randy Haynes – 23 pounds, 9 ounces
3rd place – Richard Peek –23 pounds, 1 ounce
4th place – Michael Neal – 23 pounds
5th place – Greg Hackney – 22 pounds, 4 ounces
6th place – Robbie Dodson – 21 pounds, 11 ounces
7th place – Casey Ashley – 21 pounds, 10 ounces
8th place (tie) – Shane Lehew – 20 pounds, 9 ounces
8th place (tie) – Wesley Strader – 20 pounds, 9 ounces
10th place – Jason Lambert – 20 pounds, 2 ounces
Co-angler standings
1st place – Cody Kelley – 19 pounds, 8 ounces
2nd place – Jimmy Kowalski – 19 pounds, 5 ounces
3rd place – John Jacobs – 18 pounds, 2 ounces
4th place – Daniel Buswell – 17 pounds, 13 ounces
5th place – Nick Hensley – 17 pounds, 8 ounces
6th place – Brad Roberts – 16 pounds, 10 ounces
7th place – Alan Woodford – 16 pounds, 9 ounces
8th place – Kyle Monti – 15 pounds, 9 ounces
9th place – Dennis Kirby – 15 pounds, 1 ounce
10th place (tie) – Eric Self – 14 pounds, 12 ounces
10th place (tie) – Ronald Young – 14 pounds, 12 ounces
Bridford Big Bass winners
Pro: Scott Gustafson – 10 pounds, 12 ounces
Co-angler: Jimmy Kowalski – 7 pounds, 12 ounces
Competition format
In Walmart FLW Tour competition, pros and co-anglers are randomly paired each day, with pros supplying the boat, controlling boat movement and competing against other pros. Co-anglers fish from the back deck against other co-anglers. The full field competes in the two-day opening round. After day two the field is pared to the top 20 pros and co-anglers. The co-angler competition concludes at Saturday’s weigh-in, and the top 10 pros continue competition Sunday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from all four days.
For more coverage
For those who can’t catch the weigh-in action in person, offers FLW Live, an online application that brings fans real-time weigh-in results, streaming video and audio.
In addition to FLW Live, offers real-time updates from the water. Simply click on the tournament ID within the “On the Water” banner at the top of the FLW or Walmart FLW Tour home pages.
Walmart FLW Tour event information
Location: McFarland Park, 200 James M. Spain Drive, Florence, Ala.
Time: 6:30 a.m.
Thursday and Friday location: McFarland Park, 200 James M. Spain Drive, Florence, Ala.
Time: 3 p.m. Thursday and Friday
Saturday and Sunday location: Walmart, 2701 Cloverdale Road, Florence, Ala.
Time: 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
FLW Expo
Date: Saturday and Sunday, June 7-8
Location: Walmart, 2701 Cloverdale Road, Florence, Ala.
Time: noon to 4 p.m.
Admission: FREE
Free Concert: See country star Chris Janson live in concert Sunday at 3 p.m. Admission is free.
Follow FLW
For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Walmart FLW Tour on Facebook at and on Twitter at

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