By Luigi De Rose
|Shimano pro Gussy is all smiles |
with this monster.
It’s been just over a week but Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson’s knees are still knocking. The second year FLW pro took the lead at the Walmart FLW Tour Pickwick Lake tournament at Florence, Alabama in grand fashion. Not only was this his first opportunity to lead a national tournament, he anchored his limit with his personal best largemouth bass, a 10-12 monster. By the end of the tournament, Gussy slipped to 17th by netting 52-08 for the tournament. The drama of that first day will be vividly replayed in his mind and heart forever.
IBASSIN got a change to chat with the Shimano and G. Loomis pro as he re-lives that magical day.
“Day 1 was amazing but I didn’t start off exactly like I wanted.” Recalls Jeff. “ I was boat number 165 which was almost next to last to leave.” Knowing the post-spawn bass would be schooled in community holes, Jeff knew he wouldn’t have any privacy. Gustafson was mentally prepared to fish in a crowd but knew it wasn’t what he wished to do.
Racing down the lake, he just passed spot after spot because they were already crowded. He finally stopped to fish at one of his spots that wasn’t crowded. This first spot yielded four keepers with ease but then the fishing slowed. After some dead time, he relocated to another shell bed.
“Surprisingly, that big bass jumped right out of the water…it totally cleared the surface. When I saw that I was shocked at how large it was.” Remarks Jeff.
NEW FOUND SECRETS
Although, Jeff Gustafson couldn’t match his day 1 success, he did finish the tournament with a great sense of accomplishment and increased knowledge of how to fish TVA lakes.
I asked him what secrets did he unearth from this tournament. Jeff explained that even through the community holes held huge amounts of bass, finding subtle structure adjacent was vital to success. Locating obscure out-of-the-way places were top producers for anglers who finished highest in the tournament. Greg Hackney won the event from a single spot that had almost zero fishing press from other contestants. This lesson will affect Jeff’s practice at Kentucky Lake, the next tournament on the FLW Tour.
Another import discovery is the potency of the swimbait. Many lures get the attention of the press at a national tournament. Crankbaits, jigs and swimbaits were three of the most common lures thrown at Pickwick but Jeff didn’t realize until this event how critical a single swimbait rigged with a heavy exposed jig head is to many pros. It hasn’t flown under the radar but the average guy doesn’t realize the popularity of these baits. Most pros don’t chat about the swimbait’s merits fearing it might transform into another craze just like the Alabama rig did two years ago.
Crankbaits get the lion share of the press but swimbaits are really stealing the show even with the hard-core crankbait guys. Jeff favours a football jigs for it’s ability to telegraph the bottom structure but is determine to put the swimbait into play more often.