Gustafson Wins 2023 Bass master Classic on Tennessee River
Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson, a Canadian angler, made history by becoming the first Canadian to win the Bass master Classic, an annual professional bass fishing tournament held in the US. Gustafson won the 2023 Bass master Classic on the Tennessee River by catching smallmouth bass weighing a total of 42 pounds, 7 ounces over three days, beating his nearest competitor by just 1 pound, 8 ounces. He took home the $300,000 prize money and the prestigious Bassmaster Classic Trophy.
Gustafson’s victory can be attributed to his expertise in using the Damiki rig, which is also known as Moping in Canada. He used a combination of his Humminbird Mega Side Imaging, Mega 360, and Mega Live to target fish directly. He fished with a 4-inch Z-Man Jerk ShadZ in the smelt color on a Bass Tactics Smeltinator Swimbait head, a G. Loomis NRX+ 872 rod, a Shimano Stella 3000 spooled with 10-pound PowerPro, and a 10-pound Shimano Mastiff fluorocarbon leader.
Gustafson found a great concentration of smallmouth on the first day and caught a limit weighing 18 pounds, 8 ounces within an hour. On the second day, he had to work harder to catch five good smallmouth weighing 17 pounds 3 ounces, but he still took a lead of over 6 pounds into the final round. However, the final day proved to be a challenge as the smallmouth bite was tough. Despite this, Gustafson was able to catch two fish, which were enough for him to win the tournament by 1 pound, 8 ounces.
Gustafson expressed his happiness by saying, “Knoxville has been very good to me. This is my Stanley Cup. I’m not sure how we’re going to do it yet, but we’ll figure out a way to drink a toast out of this trophy with my good friends and support circle that is here with me this week.” He also credited the Spot-Lock feature as one of the greatest inventions ever, which helped him catch more fish by keeping him on them.
Gustafson’s victory proved that smallmouth bass can be caught and won on, despite many people believing it couldn’t be done. His expertise in picking off isolated smallmouth out deep was what gave him the edge over his competitors.