Gussy Begins Bassmaster Season

Gussy Begins Bassmaster Season

For the professional bass fishing world, there is usually a common theme every January or February, regardless of the tournament circuit they usually begin their seasons off in Florida.

But this year, both the Bassmaster Elite Series and the Bass Pro Tour are beginning in the state of Texas. Toledo Bend located on Texas-Louisiana border, just hosted the BPT, will now move its focus to hosting the Elite’s on February 22nd. Northland Fishing Tackle Pro Jeff ‘Gussy’ Gustafson will begin his sixth year fishing the Elite Series and is very excited to begin the season somewhere other than Florida.

“Texas is the land of the giants, they’ll for sure be big bass weighed, and big limits of them brought to the scales,” said Gussy. “This isn’t just an exciting way for us anglers to begin our season, but it is very exciting for bass fishing fans, people love big bass!”

Gussy Begins Bassmaster Season
Gussy Begins Bassmaster Season

Gussy isn’t just excited to head south and get out on open water, he’s ready to start the 2024 season off on the right foot with a fresh slate, the 2023 Bassmaster Classic Champion wasn’t pleased with his tournament results following his Classic win last March.

“After the Classic, my tournament results weren’t what I had hoped they would be. I love this year’s schedule and am very excited to start the season off hopefully fishing the way I want to.”

With the Elite Series season kicking off in someplace other than Florida, and with the dramatic and unpredictable weather patterns that the south has seen this winter, Elite Series anglers should be able to fish their strengths on Toledo Bend. With some anglers fishing the abundant amount of shoreline cover, while anglers like Gussy can focus on offshore structure for schools of bass and utilize Forward Facing Sonar to load their live well with five big bass each day.

“I’ve never been to Toledo Bend, but familiar with the type of lake it is,” said Gussy. “It’s big and daunting, but very excited as you look at previous February results, there should be a few 30 lb bags caught.”

Being that the weather will play a big factor in what the bass are doing at Toledo Bend, and the second event of the 2024 season, Lake Fork, which is immediately the next week on February 29th, Gussy is ready for any conditions he may be faced with on the water. From working shallow cover with a ChatterBait to what he prefers to do, fishing offshore structure for schools of pre-spawn bass with a trio of Northland Fishing Tackle jigs and Bagley crankbaits.

“Without a doubt, I’ll have the Smeltinator Jig, Smeltinator Underspin Jig, and the Mimic Minnow Swim Jig rigged up and ready to go for both events. The biggest thing for these first two events is you need to be open minded and be willing to adapt.”

Jeff has been to Lake Fork before, and has had some success, including a 5th place. The weather will again play a role in what the bass are doing. “I have a lot of time in to fishing offshore on Fork, and even when they are spawning, you can catch them off the bank.”

The 2023 Classic winning Smeltinator Jig will be Gussy’s main trump card…hopefully, but he will let the bass clue him in on what they want, in terms of the weight of the jig, and corresponding hook size based on the size soft plastic bait. “With the wide range of jig weights, and hook sizes on the

Smeltinator, you can use the same style head, but just pick a different weight, and or hook sized jig based on the water depth, wind and bait sized you are fishing,” explained Gussy.

He’ll turn to the Smeltinator Underspin if the water has some color to it, which could be key if more rain falls in Texas. Gussy described the Underspin as a finesse umbrella rig.

Gussy Begins Bassmaster Season


Lake Fork bass for sure get pressured, but by searching out water with a soft plastic swimbait rigged on the Mimic Minow Swim Jig, Gussy should be able to locate several areas of bass producing water, and then sit his boat down and catch a big limit of bass.

With a new season, comes a renewed focus and goal of winning the Angler of the Year award, and going after another coveted blue Elite Series trophy for Gussy, and that all starts in Texas on the famed Toledo Bend Reservoir and Lake Fork.

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