Monday, August 3, 2015

Gustafson wins again at Atikokan Bass Classic

If losing is the best teacher, Bryan Gustafson must have received the equivalent of a Masters degree last month.
The last two weeks, he’s been taking the competition to school while working on his PHD—Plentiful Heaps of Dough.

Describing himself as “fishing angry” since finishing second by less than a quarter of a pound at the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship in July, the Fort Frances angler took top honours for the second straight weekend in a major tournament.
This time, he partnered with Jon Austin from International Falls captured the 28th edition of the Atikokan Bass Classic, as their combined haul of 42.55 was enough to squeak past the team of Matt Goldamer from the Fort and Mike Wilson from the Falls, who were runners-up with 42.44.
The Atikokan combination of Cody and Jared Wood, whose house Gustafson stayed at during the tournament, took third with 41.12.
Another all-Atikokan team of Shawn Anderson and Pete Politis was fourth with 39.95, while defending champions Todd and Steven Bryk of Atikokan finished fifth with 38.24.
Bill Godin of Devlin and Leroy Wilson from the Falls were sixth (37.04), while Atikokan’s Dave and Eric Williams took seventh (36.81).
The top 10 was rounded out by Travis Schallock and Dany Michel from Nakina in eighth (35.34); Luc Levesque of Fort Frances and Trevor McQuay from Atikokan in ninth (34.97) and Tina Sampson and Liela Loew (hometowns unavailable) in 10th (34.73).
“I think this is kind of anyone’s best stretch of all time around here, but certainly mine,” said Gustafson, who split $7,000 with Austin for the win and who has backed up his confidence with his performance.
He had been on the final truck which signifies the leader entering the final day in the top 10 parade of boats in each of his last four tournaments.
That’s going back to the “Castin’ for Cash” event at Lake Despair Lodge and carrying on through the FFCBC, the Kenora Bass International and then Atikokan.
Gustafson teamed with Jamie Bruce to take first place in Kenora earlier this month and a change in partners didn’t necessarily mean a change to Gustafson’s winning ways.
“In all the team tournaments, it takes two guys fishing good to do well,” he stated.
“Some days you catch more than the other guy and some days, it’s vice-versa,” he continued.
“I’ve probably done more fun fishing with Jon than anyone else. So we’re really comfortable in the boat together.
“It’s not fishing with different partners that’s so challenging as it is different lakes,” stressed Gustafson.
“In Atikokan, we were looking for deeper-water fish while in Fort, everyone knows now the way to go is shallow water power fishing.”
A humongous Day 1 catch of 22.74 pounds had Gustafson and Austin well in front entering Saturday.
“That was pretty fun,” said Gustafson, who followed it up with a haul of 19.81 on Saturday.
“There’s some big fish up there.”
The rest of the field entered in this weekend’s 10th International Falls Bass Championship can breathe a little easier knowing the red-hot Gustafson is taking a pass on the event due to his having to attend a wedding.
“I need a break,” he confessed.
“(Sunday) was the first day I’ve slept in my own bed since the day after the Fort tourney ended. It will be nice to relax.”
But he will be back at it on Sept. 5-7 when he and Winnipeg teammate Darrin Bohonis enter the 18th “Bassin’ for Bucks” tournament in Sioux Narrows.

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