After losing by less than a pound last year, Bryan Gustafson and Brian White were leaving nothing to chance this time.
The Fort Frances tandem turned in a record-setting performance with an unprecedented two-day haul of 34.57 pounds to capture the “Castin’ for Cash” bass fishing tournament hosted by Lake Despair Lodge this past weekend by nearly 4.5 pounds.
Their effort, which won them $5,000 for first place, included an extra $500 for reeling in the tourney’s biggest fish of this year and the second-biggest of all time (4.49) on Saturday, as well as collecting the second-best one-day haul in the event’s history on Friday with a total of 17.63 to give them a lead they would never surrender.
Gustafson won the tourney two years ago with Jamie Bruce, but said claiming the title with White was extra special.
“Me and Brian as boys fished at a real young age before it was ever cool,” said Gustafson, who finished well ahead of the runner-up couple of August and Jeff Gustafson from Keewatin (30.13).
The male Gustafsons from each team will renew what is becoming a battle for the ages in two weeks at the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship, were Jeff is the reigning two-time defending champion and Bryan is out for revenge after losing by a quarter of a pound last year.
“The line of the night came in the beer gardens about 11 p.m. on Saturday night,” chuckled Bryan Gustafson.
“I asked Jeff if he was ready to rumble in two weeks. He looked at me and smiled and said, ‘Let’s do that.’”
Defending champions Nathan Brigham and Brett Meyers of Emo bettered their winning total of last year, but only managed third place with a mark of 28.88.
Zack McBride of Fort Frances and Mike Wilson of International Falls placed fourth (28.28), while Dallas and Cameron Mosbeck of Emo rounded out the top five (28.11).