You are here

Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

Eager to make my Bassmaster debut

It's the start of a new chapter in my fishing career down in Florida this week with the first Bassmaster Elite Series event of 2019 taking place at the St. John's River.

After six seasons fishing the FLW Tour, I have changed things up this year and will fish the Bassmaster Elite Series.

While the format is similar between to two circuits, there are some differences that I'm excited about. For instance, there only are 75 anglers competing on the Elite Series, which will be a pleasure compared to the 185 anglers that I fished against last year on the FLW Tour.

Goal is to survive first event in Florida

In preparation for the upcoming start of the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament season next week at the St. Johns River in Florida, my fiancée, Shelby, and I decided we had experienced enough of the cold weather in Northwestern Ontario and so we hit the road last week and got down to Florida a little bit early.

While I know I'm not going to get any sympathy from anybody at home about the weather in Florida, I can tell you it's cold down here, as well! That just means tough fishing in my world.

Taking on frigid weather

The Arctic deep freeze that has camped out over much of Canada over the past week is pretty standard for January, especially here in Northwestern Ontario.

Enjoying outdoor activities when it's blistering cold like it has been recently is tough. But if you dress properly, you still can have some fun outside.

Big lakes versus the small ones

Across Sunset Country, we are blessed with more water than most places in North America.

Minnesota boasts about having 10,000 lakes. Well, Sunset Country has more than 75,000 bodies of water! And all of that water means we have many options for places to fish on lakes both small and large.

What about perch?

When I was a kid, I was taught that you were to never get caught dead with a perch in your bucket or on your stringer. I learned this from my Dad and his fishing buddies.

Perch were for the seagulls and eagles in the open water, and for the foxes that would come around out on the ice in the winter.

It was different back then because people simply didn't know any better. Catch-and-release still was a foreign concept to most anglers. If they caught a big fish of any species, they were bringing it home to show their friends and family—that's the way it was.

Angler resolutions for 2019

Around this time every year, it's safe to say most people at least consider some sort of New Year's resolution, which could be to make themselves more fit, to eat healthier foods, or simply to better their life.

As someone who constantly is thinking about fishing, and how to have better results on each outing, I know there are plenty of small things I can do to improve my results. So my resolutions each year usually are related to being a better angler.

Last moose hunt a success despite milder weather

In last week's column, I mentioned that my friends and I were headed north to spend the last few days of the Northwestern Ontario hunting season chasing moose around.

It's an annual trip that I've been making since 2005. Over the years, there probably has been more than 20 people who have come and gone from the group. But over the last several years, there have been six or eight of us who make the trip every year.

Last week for hunters to fill tags

Hunting season started a couple of months ago but for hunters who have yet to fill their deer or moose tags, they are running out of time because the season will come to an end on Dec. 15.

It has not been a very successful season for me. I have a bull moose tag and will head northeast of Kenora for the last few days of the season to try and find one. I also put off deer hunting until the past couple of weeks and it's been tough for me.

Early-season ice fishing offers lots of fun

While we haven't experienced a lot of super cold weather so far, it has been cold in general for well over a month so all of the smaller bodies of water across Sunset Country are covered with ice.

The minimal amount of snow also has helped the ice to form nice and strong because there is no layer of insulation, which always is nice early in the winter season.

This all means there are some great ice-fishing opportunities out there for anglers eager to get a new season started.

Warm-weather Christmas gift ideas

At this point of the year, the start of our long winter, it's hard to believe that warm weather ever is going to come around. But every spring, the snow melts and we get to experience the beautiful Sunset Country summers year after year.

For the angler on your Christmas list, finding a gift is easy because there are so many new and functional items we can use throughout the season.