UPCOMING EVENT: Walmart FLW Tour - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Tuesday Tour Update: Gussy does it all

Gussy guides for deer in the fall and occasionally gets to hunt.

A quick glance before takeoff at a Walmart FLW Tour event will uncover that most of the competitors drive high-end fiberglass bass boats decked out to the max. One boat, however, is not like the others. In fact, you'd probably think the 20-foot, 2-inch aluminum boat is best suited to tackle the large bodies of water found up north - and you'd be right. The proud owner of that tin boat would be Jeff "Gussy" Gustafson, who wrapped up his first full year on Tour just months ago.

Gussy hails from Keewatin, Ontario, which leads most people to ponder just how he even thought about bass fishing considering he lives in a region where walleyes are king. The fact of the matter is that Gussy lives to fish. He competed in his first tournament when he was just 10-years-old after receiving his entry as a Christmas present. And while he chases everything from crappies to lake trout, bass have always been his main passion.

While he has dominated the regional tournament scene in Ontario for years, it wasn't until just a Gustafson worked both shallow and deep to catch 18-5 on day one. year ago he had the chance to test his skills in the 2012 FLW Tour Opens. Don Nelson, president and CEO of Kruger Farms, primary sponsor, approached Gussy offering him the opportunity to fish the four Opens. Gussy pounced on the chance and packed his gear up for the 37-hour drive to Lake Okeechobee. He captured a top-20 finish on the Big O in his first FLW event - on a lake he had been to once prior - and wound up 14th in the Open standings.

This year was Gussy's first attempt at a full six-event FLW Tour season. Though he finished 87th in the AOY standings, he was still OK with how the season went - especially considering Okeechobee was the only lake he had been to before.

"Overall, this year wasn't bad," said Gustafson. "Obviously Okeechobee was disappointing because I did so well there the previous year and then this year I kissed my shot at the Forrest Wood Cup goodbye. I caught my limit in a half hour each day but couldn't find any big ones.

Gussy holds up a 7.19-pound beast caught out of Lake of the Woods."Smith Lake was cool because I have never fished for spotted bass before. I took a check at that event and on Beaver, which felt good. Then Eufaula was rough, the wheels sort of fell off on that one during the tournament. And on Grand I completely missed the boat. I didn't think it would be as easy as it was to catch them. But I closed the season off nicely at Chickamauga and cashed a check to rebound."

With a year under his belt, Gussy feels more prepared for the 2014 season.

"I really learned a lot this year," he said. "I didn't really receive any help and I had a blast. I definitely have a better idea of what to expect next year. The big eye-opener this year was just how congested those southern lakes can get. You think you found a few spots to have all by yourself and come tournament day there would be two or three other boats on it."

After leaving Chickamauga, Gussy traveled back north to prepare for the tournament season at home.

"We have a catch-and-release season for bass all year in Ontario, but July 1 is when you can begin to keep them so that is when the tournaments begin. A lot of people in Canada, and just up north in general, love to bass fish and the tournaments around northwest Ontario are top notch. Most of them are team events put on by the local communities and feature some really good payouts and some even better competition."

Gussy has been either practicing for a tournament or competing in one every week but two since leaving Chickamauga. And so far he has won the Bassin' for Bucks tournament on Lake of the Woods where he caught a 7.19-pound monster largemouth and took home the title at the prestigious Fort Francis Canadian Bass Championship held on Rainy Lake while fishing with John Peterson of Northland Fishing Tackle.

With the tournament season winding down, Gussy can begin to focus on his whitetail deer guiding, writing articles, filming for his TV show "Fishing with Gussy" and eventually ice fishing.

"I think I still have three more episodes to get done for the show and around a dozen articles I need to write. And coming up here in October I'll start guiding for deer on Lake of the Woods which runs until November 15. Once all that is over I generally can get out hunting on my own for a bit but then it is pretty much time to hit the ice."

Gussy enjoys ice fishing to pass the time in the winter months.The Ontario native also manages to guide on the ice and during open water when his schedule permits. Mashed in the middle of this non-stop lifestyle, Gussy recently married his long-time fiance, August Collison.

"It won't be too long and I'll be packing my gear up and heading back down to Okeechobee to start the 2014 FLW Tour season. I'm really excited about going to Sam Rayburn next year because it is such a large body of water. I think next year could be a little easier for me and I hope to be more open to the decisions I make on the water. I'm looking forward to giving it another shot."

Tags: kyle-wood  article 

/tips/2016-02-05-an-ill-wind-at-okeechobee-

An Ill Wind at Okeechobee?

The wind can be a bass fisherman’s best friend or worst enemy. On its best behavior, it creates a temporary current, positions baitfish and helps an angler move around more stealthily in shallow water. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-04-aquatic-plant-id

Aquatic Plant ID

Val Osinski, the owner of Gambler Lures and winner of the 2015 Costa FLW Series event on the lake, knows as much about the Big O as anyone and is an expert on finding and targeting bass in its various grasses. When we had the opportunity to ride along with him for a tour of the lake and to learn to identify some of the grasses, it was a no-brainer to accept. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-02-poche-services-set

Poche Services Set

Funeral services for Dylan Poche, the 18-year-old Bass Fishing League angler who was stabbed to death Saturday night, are scheduled for Thursday at 2 p.m. at Freedom Life Church in Natchitoches, La. Visitation will take place at Freedom Life beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-02-time-to-shine-for-setzer

Time to Shine for Setzer

With three years on Tour and a Co-angler of the Year (COY) award under his belt, Braxton Setzer believes now is his time to start casting from the front. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-02-01-ambassador

Ambassador

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-29-glenn-browne-s-timeout-is-over-

Glenn Browne’s Timeout is Over

By his own admission, Glenn Browne isn’t the most organized guy. After the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division opener on Lake Okeechobee, he spent hours returning stuff to its proper place and tossing out the usual flotsam and jetsam that accumulates in a bass boat during a tournament. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-28-flw-podcast-109-mike-surman

FLW Podcast 109 - Mike Surman

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-28-john-cox-gives-himself-a-makeover

John Cox Gives Himself a Makeover

Last fall there was a rumor going around that John Cox was entering the electronics age and souping up his boat with sonar gear. Just to clear the air, the Florida pro reports that though he did flirt with the notion of incorporating an offshore strategy centered on depth finders into his act, he eventually abandoned the idea. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-27-austin-felix-is-ready-for-the-big-time

Austin Felix is Ready for the Big Time

Back in the spring of 2014, Austin Felix and his University of Minnesota teammate Chris Burgan were on the top of the FLW College Fishing world. With a win in the National Championship on Lake Keowee, Felix was headed to the Forrest Wood Cup as a pro. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-27-flw-canada-sets-tournament-sites-dates

FLW Canada Sets Tournament Sites, Dates

FLW Canada, one of four partners in FLW’s International Division of the Costa FLW Series, recently released its 2016 tournament schedule. The season includes three two-day regular-season qualifying events and a three-day championship. Anglers fish as two-person teams. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-26-jigging-spoons-for-winter-bass

Jigging Spoons for Winter Bass

Of course, the application of the spoon hinges on finding bass in the first place, which is the biggest challenge. Walmart FLW Tour pros Jason Johnson and Clark Reehm are experts at finding winter bass in their respective regions of the country and offer FLW readers some advice on where to look and how to get them to bite the spoon. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-24-how-bryan-thrift-got-to-be-so-good

How Bryan Thrift Got to be so Good

My No. 1 focus out here is to support my family and make a living. Whatever I have to do to make that happen, I’m going to make a valiant effort. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-22-high-school-fishing-makes-the-grade

High School Fishing Makes the Grade

Jacob Smith and Daniel Clark are typical teenagers, at least in everything except bass fishing. In that, they are above average, as the two juniors from Travelers Rest High School in South Carolina proved in the TBF/FLW High School Fishing Florida Open held Jan. 17 on Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-22-flw-mexico-at-the-starting-gate

FLW Mexico at the Starting Gate

Our excitement is so great that we wanted to share this important news with all of you. Believe me, fishermen in Mexico are talking it up as if it were dock talk surrounding the Forrest Wood Cup. What really matters at the end of the line is knowing that FLW is showing its true devotion to promoting bass fishing and making it a truly international sport. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-22-making-the-case-for-haynes-as-aoy

Making the Case for Haynes as AOY

As many have noted, the Walmart FLW Tour schedule for this season looks a lot like it did in 2014. Back then, in his sophomore year on Tour, Randy Haynes had one of the strangest seasons you’ll ever see. He finished 104th at Okeechobee, 149th at Sam Rayburn (ouch) and cranked out top-30 finishes everywhere else. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-21-flw-podcast-108-jason-lambert

FLW Podcast 108 - Jason Lambert

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-20-bfl-choo-choo-division-postponed

BFL Choo Choo Division Postponed

The FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Choo Choo Division tournament on Lake Guntersville originally scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 23 has been postponed due to impending inclement weather. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-20-tigerodz-aligns-with-auburn-team

TIGERODZ Aligns With Auburn Team

Custom fishing rod manufacturer TIGERODZ of Scottsboro, Ala., has signed an agreement to become the official rod brand for the Auburn University Bass Sports Club. Scott Dobbins, president of TIGERODZ, is an Auburn alum, and he says the pairing involved a natural progression of involvement. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-20-becoming-aware-of-your-angler-strengths

Becoming Aware of Your Angler Strengths

The ongoing sentiment among fishermen is that versatility is the key to becoming a successful professional angler. While I’m certain that statement holds some weight, I think there is an alternate perspective that is worth entertaining. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-01-18-pundits-picks-for-aoy

Pundits Picks for AOY

Winning the Angler of the Year title is a tremendous feat. It can solidify a budding career or affirm a veteran’s status among the best. It also comes with a hefty reward – $100,000 and early entry into the 2017 Forrest Wood Cup. READ MORE »