A Fishy Forecast for the Bassmaster Classic

Bass Fishing’s Largest Prize Awaits One Versatile, Resourceful Angler
By Dena Woerner-Vick

The eye of the bass fishing universe is targeted squarely on Lake Hartwell close to Greenville, South Carolina this week, as 55 skilled anglers – together with 16 rookies – compete within the 2022 Academy Sports activities + Open air Bassmaster Basic offered by Huk. As veteran Elite Sequence execs Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson and David Mullins rig rods, tie knots, and devise plans to achieve the pivotal ultimate day of competitors, they every opened their playbooks to supply us with their greatest guesses about how this yr’s Basic will unfold. 

Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson

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Hailing from the rocky shorelines of Ontario’s expansive Lake of the Woods, Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson is on a quest to turn into the primary Canadian champion on the Bassmaster Basic. No stranger to hoisting the heavy {hardware}, Gussy scored his first Bassmaster Elite Sequence victory on the Tennessee River in 2020 and is now making ready to compete in his third Basic. “I really feel fortunate and grateful to be again on the Bassmaster Basic,” displays Gustafson, who is barely Elite Sequence angler to have a “Loonie” – Canada’s one-dollar coin  – completely embedded inside his boat’s carpeted deck. “It jogs my memory of dwelling and all of the individuals who helped me get the place I’m immediately – and there’s little doubt that it brings me good luck!”

“I’ve fished Hartwell a few instances earlier than,” notes Gustafson, “so I do know what to anticipate. The water is chilly, so this must be a pre-spawn occasion. In actual fact, I need it to remain chilly – I’d be tremendous if my Lund Professional-V Bass boat was frozen to the trailer each morning. Chilly climate and chilly water will arrange a robust offshore chew – and that’s my greatest power. There was some rain close to the lake not too long ago, and it’s forecast to rain some extra. That inflow of water will heat up the backwaters and muddy them up, so I’m certain some opponents shall be fishing shallow, soiled water – and little doubt, there shall be some large fish caught that manner. However I’m on the lookout for consistency offshore; that’s the sport I’m going to play.” 

“I’m most snug with a spinning rod and finesse sort out in my hand,” displays Gustafson, who usually collects trophies and paychecks from clear, bass-infested waterways. “I’m fortunate that I get to fish with among the most delicate spinning rods ever made: NRX+ rods from G. Loomis. These rods give me an unbelievable tactile benefit when detecting bites and studying backside composition. I pair NRX+ rods with Shimano’s new Stella reels, that are the smoothest, strongest spinning reels you possibly can ever think about. Having used that Stella-NRX+ mixture, it’s laborious to think about selecting up the rest. I’ll spool up with 10 pound-test PowerPro and end with a ten lb-test fluorocarbon chief. As for baits, I’ll be biking by means of some finesse fishing classics, like small swimbaits, dropshot rigs, and Ned rigs. Comfortable baits from Z-Man will play an outsized position for me; that supple, dependable and sturdy ElaZtech materials simply flat-out catches ‘em.”  

“This derby is what we work for all yr,” concludes Gustafson, “and I’m going to take advantage of out of each solid and each alternative. Hopefully you’ll see me on stage with a giant smile on Championship Sunday!”

David Mullins

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David Mullins is driving a wave of event success into the Bassmaster Basic, having notched a pair of top-10 finishes in every of the primary two occasions of the 2022 Bassmaster Elite Sequence. The present factors chief within the Bassmaster Angler of the Yr standings, Mullins is able to do battle on bass fishing’s greatest stage.  

“Whereas we’re seeing somewhat little bit of hotter climate,” notes Mullins, “I feel this may greater than doubtless be a pre-spawn chew. Water temperatures must be within the mid-to-upper 50s. Proper now, there’s a good quantity of water readability. If the rain holds off and water ranges stay steady, I feel this occasion goes to be received within the shallows, with each finesse and energy fishing displays coming into play.” 

A famend laborious bait aficionado, Mullins is able to leverage fishing’s most superior sort out applied sciences to assist him climb the leaderboard. “In clear, chilly water, the FLASHBOOST system in Shimano’s World Minnow jerkbaits will play a giant position. Even because the bait sits immobile, the shimmering reflective foil that’s suspended inside the lure’s physique retains shifting, dispersing flash all through the water column identical to a dying baitfish. When the water is evident, bass can see that flash from distant and are instinctively drawn in to research – and strike. Lengthy casts are vital in clear, shallow water and the JETBOOST system within the World Minnow, coupled with the sleek, long-casting Shimano Curado MGL 150 reel will assist me launch baits distant from the boat and canopy extra water on each solid. If the water does begin to soiled up within the creeks from runoff, the brand new Shimano Macbeth collection of crankbaits will emerge as key gamers. These baits hint their origins on to Japan, and are packed to the gills with Japanese high quality and innovation. Macbeth has already paid dividends for me on the Elite Sequence, and I’m wanting ahead to knocking the paint off just a few on Hartwell.”

“As I get able to compete in my third Bassmaster Basic,” displays Mullins, “I can’t assist however take into consideration Aaron Martens. He was considered one of my nice associates, and I wore his colours on the third day on the Harris Chain occasion. He gave me my first Shimano reels, and I wouldn’t be right here – competing on bass fishing’s greatest stage – with out him.” 

Maybe not surprisingly, Mullins and Gustafson envision completely different pathways to turning into a Bassmaster Basic champion. Now, these two Elite anglers have just a few days to apply and dial of their bites on Lake Hartwell, hopefully reserving a spot in bass fishing’s most prestigious historical past guide. Be sure you comply with their progress up the leaderboard on the 2022 Bassmaster Basic. 



Dena Woerner-Vick is an avid angler, outside author and advertising and marketing skilled. She manages King Eider Communications, a public relations firm specializing in the outside house, particularly fishing, searching and adventuring.

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