Connell and Gussy winning baits, How to mope / Damiki / tight-line

What up! Few things:


1. Amazingly even MORE ginormous fish were caught in TX! Roundin’ ’em up for the next BB. Insane man wow.


2. Was down in VA this weekend for my daughter’s sports deal and was pretty shocked to see the virus fear is way worse there than in NJ. I love VA – lived there for a bit, learned to hunt there, lot of upper Potomac smallies caught. Hurt to see people’s fear – folks there said the governor has been jerking them around, also saw statues removed in Richmond. Made me sad man. If what they said was true, I hope good VA peeps stand up! Shoot we need to do that more here in Jersey too….


3. Little shorter News section today because of all the tourney madness – love it!

Today’s Top 5
How Dustin “AC/DCFishing” Connell won the Redcrest Champeenship.
How ’bout that! Dude BARELY squeaked into the knockout round with just 2 fish, then got on a pattern he was real familiar with – he’d been practicing it without knowing it – and cracked enough greenheads to win it bigly. Here’s some of what went down, full meal deal is on the BB website:


> “The brushpiles I was fishing were in 5-10′, fairly shallow, most were in 6-8′. The key to it was they had to be connected to the bank…they couldn’t be on a hump in the middle of a bay, or a long running flat way out. They wanted to be near that bank because they were staging up to spawn.”


> “I was using that [Lowrance] Active Target. I could pull up to a brushpile in 5-8′ and could see if there was fish on it or not…saving time for me. If I pull up and pan over there, and don’t see any on it or around it, I’ll make 1 cast just to make sure, then leave.


> “The 2nd advantage was being able to trigger them to bite. The water was so clear, they didn’t want to bite a jig…had to really make them bite. I’d throw the bait out there, reel it down, see them follow it, pause it, snap it a couple times – the fish would get fired up and eventually get it.


> “Without [Active Target] I’d be hung in the brush [and pulling his bait away from fish]…just way more accurate with it.


> “I was fishing those brushpiles so slow and meticulous. You had to be so careful…pulling up to these places…if you got too close they wouldn’t bite. You stay way out, make really good casts and try not to get hung. You had to concentrate a lot. That really paid off.”

> Jerkbait: Unnamed deep jerkbait (crystal shad) with #4 Owner ST36 trebles. “The main reason I was throwing that bait, a deeper version, was because it has a little bigger body so I could throw #4-size hooks on it. I don’t like throwing #6s – it’s hard to keep fish on those smaller hooks.”


> 6′ 6″ M Favorite Rush Rod – “The main reason I used a little shorter rod is it’s a lot easier to cast in close quarters…. The biggest advantage with that short rod…not using a 7′ rod…I could look at the bait with the unit…rod not slapping the water [when jerking].


> 12-lb Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon with a 6.3:1 reel.


> Jig: 1/2-oz casting jig (brown), Googan Baits Bandito Bug (gp), 7′ 2″ MH Favorite Summit Rod, 17-lb Seaguar InvizX [17-lb for driving the hook home and getting the fish out of brush], high-speed reel.

5 Qs with the champeenship champ.
1. What up with the bear?


> “That’s just something funny that me, Jacob Wheeler and Mark Daniels did a couple years ago…name was Ted. The loser or the winner – whatever we picked that day – had to take Ted out…strap him on the boat.


> “I took him out [the last day]…. I left him in the box because it was complete chaos in the boat…catching fish with $300,000 on the line. But I finally pulled him out.”


[Ted – not sure how they came up with that? ]


2. Please list all the ways you sabotaged your bud Jake “Forward Facing” Wheeler so he couldn’t get another win.


> “I threw at banana at him the first morning before the tournament.”


[Mental note: Wheels must have a serious bananaphobia.]


3. If someone told you beforehand the lake would change 3 times, would you say it was an advantage or disadvantage?


> “I think it’d be an advantage. The guys who fish off instinct, just rolling with the punches, do really well.


> “I didn’t think I could win the tournament shallow. It’s very hard to outfish these guys shallow because they’re so good…. But if you can get on a specific piece of structure and have it to yourself, you can do pretty well. I’d thought this tournament would be won shallow because of the time of year, but I had to just listen to the fish and [he found out] they’re not there yet.”


4. From your Insta it looks like you spent your entire offseason fishing for spotted bass – did that help you in this tourney?


> “100%. What’s crazy is all winter and all fall I was catching these big spots around brush on a jerkbait. I love doing that – it’s like one of my favorite things to do…. So I was right at home when I got that first bite on a jerkbait. I thought, Holy crap I might get to do something I love to do.


> “The week before the tournament I was on Jordan catching spots on a jerkbait so I was already dialed in….”

5. I’m sure you were stoked to see Redcrest sponsored by a sausage company. When you saw that, were you like, “It’s on”?


> “I’ve never eaten any of it – I probably need to now though.”


Hahaha heck yeah he does!

Gus.E Small.E Tenness.E Victor.E!
How does a Kenora Kid become a Canadian Snow Leopard?


How does a guy use a feeshn technique developed for walleyes so far north in Canada your nose would bleed if you went there – and that’s only if you survived on whale blubber and wild berries – end up winning a tourney on it in TN??


Who in their right mind chooses by far the hardest fish option (18″ minimum size) during a cold front, still leads every day and then grabs a blue trophy???


This dude:

If you’re still asking yourself if Gussy “Jeff” Gustafson is right in the head, the answer is no. He ain’t right – he’s from Canada hahaha! BUT he is a heck of a fisherman, and here’s a little of how he won this deal. Yep, as usual full juice on the BB site:


> “It was challenging because there was a lot of current there, a lot more than what you’d think. The current was ripping pretty good through there, and days 3-4 there was a little more wind…made drifts different. It changed the current up and changed the drift line a little bit. I missed the dots sometimes, so I’d just have to go back up and do it again.


> …18-24′, most were in 20-22′. It wasn’t big sexy boulders – it was man-made chunks of concrete kind of stuff. The pieces I was catching them off were probably the size of your boat.


> “Some would come up and smoke it – you couldn’t have pulled it away. Some would come up and you’d have to play cat and mouse with them – pull the bait up a little higher, give it a little shake. Watching the bait on sonar was pretty important. It was 2D sonar, a Humminbird Helix 10 – there’s no LiveScope on my boat.”

> “Southern guys call it the Damiki rig, I call it ‘moping.’ Ron Lindner termed it that….”


> 4″ Z-Man Scented Jerk Shadz (bad shad – “the buoyancy of it helps the bait sit horizontal and natural in the water”) on a 3/8-oz [Bass Tactics] Smeltinator jighead made by a friend. He said he could have used other jigheads but likes the 2/0 Gamakatsu hook for that bait.


> 7′ 3″ M G Loomis NRX 872 Rod, Shimano Exsence 3000 Reel. “You can really feel what your bait’s doing. I’m playing with the bait constantly.” 10-lb PowerPro braid (yellow) and 8-lb fluoro leader.


> “It’s very important that your knot is straight up off your jig so [the bait is] horizontal in the water. Every time I reeled it up I made sure it was nice and straight.


> “I’ve probably caught more smallmouth using that technique than anything else. I started fishing the FLW Tour in 2013 and have been waiting for a tournament to do that. I did not expect in a million years that that this one would be the deal.”

5 Qs with the Gussmaster.
1. Are you aware this is the only time in bass fishing history that a technique used on Lake of the Woods has ever won a pro tourney?


> “I did not know that no.”


[Shoot most bass-heads don’t even know where that lake is!]


2. Before you joined the Elites, was there a secret meeting between you, the Johnston bros and Dave Mercer about plotting a maple leaf takeover of US bassin’ – and if there was would you ever admit it?


> “There were group text messages between Mercer, Chris, Cory and I in October of 2018.”


[He would not say more. ]


3. Has Mercer ever held his pinky on the weigh scale for you?


> “No but Trip didn’t and Lisa doesn’t let him stand very close to the scale.”


4. What critter are you more likely to see in your yard: beluga whale, polar bear or penguin.


> “Polar bear.”


[I’m pretty sure this is Gussy’s home lake:]

5. Do you think the “snow leopard” nickname is weird at all since Mercer and Zona say it like it’s a smoochy cuddly thing rather than some kinda big masculine animal?


> “Seth Feider and Mercer came up with the nickname, so you have to take it up with those two.


> “How it came up was NatGeo had this show called ‘Hostile Planet,’ and we were at Lake Hartwell in 2019…watching this show…scene with a snow leopard taking down a goat on the side of this mountain. They tumbled for like a mile down the mountain, the goat was killed and the snow leopard was really bad…unbelievable it was still alive. It ends up living off this goat and surviving…one of the coolest clips I’d ever seen on TV.


> “I have a couple cats at home and the guys are always making fun of me for that. Friday night at tournaments, Chris, Cory, Seth, Chris Groh and I go to dinner with Mercer. The show came up…Seth said, ‘I think you guys should start calling Gussy snow leopard.’ Then the next morning at takeoff I was the ‘Canadian snow leopard.’


> “[Dave] doesn’t give nicknames to everyone so I feel lucky.”


[Does this mean Gussy likes to eat goats or roll down cliffs? I’m confused on this deal….]



“They all really support me and send me messages all the time, good or bad.”
Gussy talkin’ ’bout his family ‘n buds…which support him by sending him bad messages sometimes? Must be a Canadian deal like:


If you ask me been a long time coming man. HAHAHA! Nope BeatDown’s a ‘lectronics mount…. You skated this time Watson!


2. Stephen Browning now in a Ranger.


Was Triton. No link 🙁


3. FLW pro Bill McDonald on BassEdge Radio.


4. New BOOYAH Coverts for the mud and night feesh.


How are these!

1/2-oz with a #5 blade and a 3/4-oz with a #6, already on TW.


4. SC: Hartwell college tourney will have $878K impact?


Big number for anyone, let alone a bunch of college folks – Bassmaster tourney.


5. OK: Registration already open for July Ft Gibson tourney.


Lucky 13 team derby where 13th place gets a nice check.


6. ON: New MLF-type tourney series starting.


7. Bunch of folks promoted at Rapala USA.


8. CA: Environmental group wants Clear lake hitch relisted.


Couple things:


  • It’s the Center for Biological Diversity, a lawsuit-happy environmental group. The news site calls it a “conservation group.” Remember I pointed out in the last Blaster that that term was also misused about a group in a WI article about wolves. No coincidence, it is intentional – “they” are trying to steal what we are, and to make their point of view seem “conservat…ive.”


  • The CBD (CBD??) claims the “Interior Dept’s action under the Trump administration in Dec relied on ‘misinformation and climate change denial.'”



Line of the Day


The most anticipated transition in bass fishing, the pre-spawn….


I think that dude’s right because it IS the official start of aggressive bass…or getting thataway anyhow….

On right now… 


How Dustin Connell won the Eufaula Redcrest Championship


Wheeler dots addiction, Bank bashing, Better tourney tips


Note: The TackleWarehouse links in this email are affiliate links, meaning if you go through them to make a purchase I might earn a commission…at no cost to you. Click here if you want to learn a little more about links in the BB.

Tip of the Day


Good Bassmaster vid. Highlights:


> “It’s almost like ice fishing.” Well that doesn’t help at all Gussy….


> Hold the rod horizontal and don’t move it.


> He said Jim and Bill Lindner won a big Canadian tourney doing this – sounds like what’s also called tight-lining, when you drift or troll slowly and holding your bait at a constant depth.

Quote of the Day
“Hard to catch up only catching one at a time.”


Michael Neal talkin’ after finishin’ 2nd at the Redcrest. Gonna have to assume he was hopin’ for a few doubles on his jerkbait…?

Shot of the Day
Not sure why exactly I like this Low Down Custom Rods shot – is it the weird composition (fish halfway in/out of the water, rod in the water)? Is it the pop of color from the swimbait? It sorta looks like the ocean to me too. EMOJ Whatever it is, I dig it:
Ya got me!
Jay Kumar’s BassBlaster is a daily-ish roundup of the best and funniest (sometimes worst) stuff in bassin’, picked by me – Jay Kumar. I started, co-hosted Loudmouth Bass with Zona, was a B.A.S.S. senior writer and a bunch more in bassin’. The Blaster is the #2 daily read on any given day in the wide world o’ bass so thanks for readin’!


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