Good week in Tennessee

The sixth event of the Bassmaster Elite Series season took place this past weekend at Pickwick Lake, Tennessee, our last southern event of the nine tournament season. After a decent start to the season, my goal heading into this tournament was to try and make the day three cut and essentially survive the final tournament in the south. The remaining three tournaments will take place later this summer, up north in New York, South Dakota and Wisconsin where I will feel a little bit more comfortable fishing water more similar to home.

After the three day practice before this Pickwick event, I was unsure if I would be able to catch five bass each day. It was just tough fishing and a lot of the spots that I’d found were being fished by other anglers, so there was potential that I wouldn’t even be able to fish any of the places that I wanted to. It was somewhat stressful for sure.

The first couple days of the tournament turned out pretty good, but it was far from easy. It was around lunch time each day before I had a five fish limit in the boat. My fish were coming from a variety of spots, a few shallow and a few on deep structure, just mixing it up. It was also full summer in the south with temperatures pushing 40 degrees every day, so the heat was a workout. I can’t wait to get home to enjoy some pleasant weather! You would be sweating at six in the morning this week!

Jeff Gustafson holds up a pair of bass he caught at Pickwick Lake in Tennessee this past weekend on his way to a 14thplace finish.

Fortunately, everything worked out and I left Tennessee with a 14thplace finish. It ended up being a great event but there is always some disappointment when you get that close to making the top ten cut to fish the final day. I did lose a couple of big fish that would have put me into the final day if I could have landed them, but those things happen. I was using lighter tackle, catching some of my fish with finesse techniques and you are going to lose some of the bigger fish on the smaller hooks. You have to hook them to catch them however, so that’s the trade-off I guess.

Coming out of these past couple events in Texas and Tennessee with solid finishes was a really nice bonus on this last trip because both fishing was tough at both waterbodies. I am now in 25th place in the Angler of the Year standings, with three events remaining. The goal for the season in to finish in the top 40 in points to qualify for the 2023 Bassmaster Classic tournament, which is taking place next March at the Tennessee River, in Knoxville, TN, where I won a tournament last year.

After a few weeks being in the southern heat we are definitely ready to get home and enjoy some summer and some fishing in Sunset Country. It’s been a couple months since I’ve been able to catch any walleye so that’s on the agenda for me this week. I’ll also spend some time catching crappies and lake trout over the next week. Crappies should be starting to slide up into some shallow water and lake trout should be fairly aggressive at mid-depths. After a lot of bass fishing over the past month, I’m looking forward to catching some different species.