Jeff Gustafson Recap’s His 11th Place Finish at Beaver Lake
Jeff Gustafson continues to make the trek from Canada down to the US to fish the FLW Tour and this year his stay at the Tour venues have been extended, as Gussy has now made the day three (top 20 cut) in the last two events.
Gussy was able to get back home sooner from this event thanks to his dad and friend Jamie Bruce making the trek. Jeff who was battling a cold throughout the event was able to put together and 11th place finish at Beaver Lake.
Jeff’s practice was pretty good and began by spending a couple days fishing on nearby Table Rock Lake before the official three day practice began. “Doing this really allowed me to get a feel for what the fish were doing. The water was still cool (mid-50’s), but when you went up shallow it was easy to notice fish were starting to make beds,” stated Gussy.
By putting this time in on Table Rock, he learned that these Ozark bass were not easy to catch on beds, thus Gussy decided he would only make a few casts at any beds that he saw, but not commit any amount of time to an uninterested bass.
Gussy was able to accomplish something pretty special as well, “on the first day on Table Rock I got pretty lucky and caught a smallmouth, spot and largemouth over four pounds, there aren’t many lakes that you can do that on all in one day!”
On Beaver Jeff had a few things going on, but his main plan was to focus on smallmouths that were holding on pea gravel points. “I caught a few nice ones in practice so I was expecting to commit much of my time to trying to catch them,” said Jeff.
The first two days Gussy spent the first couple of hours trying to catch those smallmouths, but did not much success. “During practice the wind blew pretty hard and I think that helped the bite on the smallmouths in the super clear water I was fishing near the dam. There was very little wind the first couple days of the tournament and I think that hurt the bite,” stated Gussy.
So Jeff just went fishing and headed further up into the creek he was fishing on day one and ended up catching three good largemouths that anchored his day one bag (13 lb 2 oz). Again on day two, the smallmouths denied Gussy and he again switched gears to his largemouth program and ended up having a great day with a 14 lb 9 oz limit and moved up to 10th place.
On the third day, Gussy skipped the smallmouth plan altogether and spent all his time fishing for largemouths and put together a 12 lb 10 oz limit, he ended falling three ounces short of qualifying for the final day, and ended up in 11th and is still in 6th place in the year end points standings. “I was disappointed, but it was still a great tournament. I was sick all week with a bad cold and could barely talk on days one and two, so I think that hurt me a bit in the end, I just didn’t have all the energy that I usually do. I’m sure it’s something I picked up at a restaurant or hotel along the way. I can’t even remember the last time I was sick.”
Gussy caught his fish on a couple of different baits, a Jackall Squad Minnow 115 jerkbait and a Z-Man Hula Stick. Gussy got the heads up on the Hula Stick from a friend who told him it’s a great bait to use in the Ozarks and is similar to their Ned Rig. “I think it’s even better, the plastic floats and it was just something that was working,” said Gussy. I was catching the smallmouths on a Northland Impulse Tube in practice. He fished the jerkbait on a G-Loomis 842C rod, Shimano Chronarch CI4 6.2:1 reel and 8 lb Sunline fluorocarbon and he used a G-Loomis 852S rod, Shimano Stradic CI4 2500 reel, 8 lb Power Pro braid with an 8 lb fluorocarbon leader for the Hula Stick.
Jeff is now home for a week before he’ll head back down south to get ready for the Pickwick Lake event. “I’m looking forward to fishing Pickwick for the shot at catching some big fish. When we were there in 2014 I caught the biggest bass of my life the first day of the event, a 10-12 monster and actually led the event after day one. I’ll be ready to go when we get there in a couple of weeks!”