Z-Man president Daniel Nussbaum recalls his first day in the boat with Gustafson. “Had the good fortune to meet and fish with Gussy five years ago in Canada, and I knew that day he was someone who belonged on the Z-Man team,” says Nussbaum. “Yeah, he’s one of the nicest, most genuine dudes I’ve met, but he also completely ‘gets it’ in terms of recognizing and relying on the benefits of our ElaZtech material.”
Driving back home to celebrate with friends and family, flashing the friendly grin that’s endeared the Keewatin, Ontario angler to fans across the continent, Gussy reflected on his game-winning pattern. “Actually drove by my spot in prefishing a few times before fishing there. It was a canal area connecting Tellico and Fort Loudoun lakes—a 35 mile run from the weigh-in. My friend Clent Davis told me he’d had several bass come up in there and look at his swimbait. So, I motored through the canal and marked a lot of rock and cement chunks and quite a bit of bait and just felt there had to be some bass in there.
“One of my first drops, the Jerk ShadZ went whap! and I caught a 17-incher. Started hooking bass pretty regularly and would see other fish on the screen. Probably caught 20 to 30 smallmouths each day here, and some of them were the bigger ones.”