When an angler gets a sponsor, he’s expected to perform, and not necessarily just in competitive events.
Nobody knows that better than Michiana’s Ken Holder who helped put a former NBA basketball player in a fully loaded Caymas CX21 with a Merc 250 from Starboard Choice Marine in Edwardsburg, Mich.
Floyd Wolkins and Steve Martin recovered from a slow start at Paw Paw Lake the first day of the Arjay’s two-day Classic to wrap up the win Sunday at Duke’s Bridge.
The 2023 Bassmaster Classic wasn’t the first time that Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson had stacked big weights and solid limits of smallmouth bass on the Tennessee River out of Knoxville, Tennessee. Back in March of 2021,
Word of the “moping” technique traveled quickly through social wires, sending serious bassers on the hunt for Gussy’s favored jig head—Bass Tactics’ Smeltinator Jig.
BASS Report March 24, 2023
Jeff Gustafson of Kenora, Canada, is leading after Day 1 of the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Toyota with 18 pounds, 8 ounces. - Photo by James Overstreet/B.A.S.S
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Jeff Gustafson’s motto during the opening round of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Toyota seemed to be, “Why make it complicated?”
The fifth-year Bassmaster Elite Series angler from Kenora, Ontario, Canada, took the lead Friday in the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing on the Tennessee River — and instead of starting over or trying to reinvent something, he caught his bass the same way he did when he won a regular-season Elite Series event on this same venue back in 2021.
Fishing the same canal that connects Fort Loudoun Reservoir and Tellico Lake where he parked himself during that 2021 event, the 40-year-old pro caught a five-bass limit of smallmouth that weighed 18 pounds, 8 ounces and positioned himself for a run at a spot in pro fishing history.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — With guests soon arriving for the grand affair, the Tennessee River’s table is set for peak potential as a field of 55 anglers make their final preparations for the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Toyota.
Competition days will be March 24-26 with daily takeoffs from Volunteer Landing in downtown Knoxville at 7:15 a.m. ET and weigh-ins each day at Thompson-Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus. Doors open at 3:15 p.m. with weigh-in starting at approximately 4:15 p.m. The winning angler will take home the coveted Ray Scott Bassmaster Classic Trophy and $300,000.
Bassmaster LIVE kicks off tournament coverage Friday morning at 8 a.m. ET on Bassmaster.com, Tubi and the FOX Sports digital platforms. FS1 will broadcast live with the tournament leaders on Saturday and Sunday mornings before afternoon action from Championship Sunday picks up on FOX. A full viewing schedule can be found at Bassmaster.com/how-to-watch.
Tournament waters include portions of the Holston and French Broad rivers, the confluence of which forms the Tennessee River headwaters. The dominant waters are Fort Loudoun Lake — the first of nine reservoirs on the Tennessee — and Tellico Lake, which links to Fort Loudoun through a canal passing beneath the U.S. Highway 321 Bridge.
While the long-range forecast shows the potential for rain all three days, Bassmaster Elite Series pro and Tennessee River standout Brandon Lester has a largely optimistic outlook. In his view, seasonal patterns should be ripe for an impressive show.
“I think the fishing is going to be really good; honestly, I think it’s going to be about as good as it can possibly be,” Lester said. “Loudoun has plenty of good fish, but it’s not on par with, say, a Guntersville. But if you were to look at the calendar and pick one week for us to be there, I think the third week of March is the best week of the year.