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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

A great day on the Rainy

My column this week is coming from Rogers, Ark., where I’m getting ready for the third FLW Tour stop of the year at Beaver Lake.

Through two days of practice, I haven’t quite figured out how to win this tournament yet. I had one more day to go, then a day off today before the tournament starts tomorrow (April 23).

Last week, I was fortunate to sneak down to the Rainy River on the last day of walleye season with my buddy, Jay Samsal, where we filmed an episode for my TV program, “Fishing with Gussy”

Searching for shed antlers

With the quick warm-up in temperatures over the weekend, the ice on waters across Sunset Country deteriorated very quickly.

By early this week, many of the small lakes were totally open and the ice had pulled away from shore on the bigger ones. So the ice-fishing season quickly came to a halt.

As much as I like to ice-fish, it’s always a good day when the ice no longer is safe because we have so much to look forward to in the coming months in this part of the world.

Catching burbot is plenty of fun

As the ice lingers on lakes across Sunset Country after a cold snap over the past couple of weeks, there is not much else an angler can do except just keep ice-fishing.

Earlier this week, my friend, Sean McAughey, and I got out to chase burbot—a fish species that’s widely available across Northwestern Ontario.

Perhaps better known by other local names such as eel pout, lawyer, or ling cod, these fish are great fighters and pretty good to eat.

Back on track at Lewis Smith Lake

After a tough start to the FLW Tour season down in Florida earlier in March, I had a much better result this past week at Lewis Smith Lake in Alabama.

My 56th place finish narrowly landed me in the money (the top 60) so that made for a good trip!

Lewis Smith Lake is one of the best spotted bass lakes in the southeast United States so I was excited to get fishing out there last week.

Returning to the tournament trail

After a nice break at home last week and some quality time on the ice, fishing with friends and family, I was back on the road this past weekend headed to Alabama for stop No. 2 on the FLW Tour.

This week we’re fishing Lewis Smith Lake in northern Alabama, a place we visited in 2013 so I have a little bit of experience on this water.

I had a decent tournament here last time and snuck out with one of the last cheques, so I’m looking to improve my finish this time around.

Prime time to hit the ice

As winter grows old for many across Sunset Country, late March is prime time for those of us who like to ice-fish.

Longer days, warm sun, and great fishing are some of the highlights to hitting the ice at this time of year.

Before I head down to Alabama later this week for my next FLW Tour bass tournament, I’m hitting the ice hard—getting in as much fishing as I can while the conditions are still good.

Tough slugging on Toho

In my column last week, I mentioned that as much as I love bass fishing in Florida, there is a lot of anxiety about competing in tournaments because it’s easy to have bad days down here, as well.

In the FLW Tour-opening tournament this past weekend at Lake Toho, I continued my tournament struggles in Florida with a 127th place finish—not exactly how I wanted to start the year.

My brother, Ben, came down and joined me for the three-day practice period last week and we had a few glimmers of hope when we found several stretches of water that had some fish on them.

Preparing to do battle on Lake Tohopekaliga

After several months of planning and preparation, the bass tournament season is set to kick off for me this week on Lake Tohopekaliga down in central Florida.

The first FLW Tour event of the year starts tomorrow (March 5) and based on the predictions of some anglers, the records could be in jeopardy as giant female largemouth bass move up to spawn.

The all-time professional tournament one-day catch record was set at Toho by Dean Rojas in a Bassmaster event back in 1999, when he brought a five-fish, 45.09-pound limit to the scales.

‘Snowpocalypse’ made for rough trip

For a guy from Kenora getting to travel around the southern U.S. to fish bass tournaments on the FLW Tour, I truly can say I’m getting to live one of my dreams.

Last week, I left home for Florida to get ready for my first tournament of the season at Lake Toho, just south of Orlando, which takes place the first week of March.

Over the past three years that I’ve been travelling across the U.S. to fish these tournaments, I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve not had to travel through too much bad weather, nor have I experienced any mechanical breakdowns with my equipment.

Back on the road again

After several months off from fishing out of a boat, I’m back on the road this week—heading to Florida to get ready for the 2015 FLW Tour season which starts the first week of March at Lake Tohopekaglia.

After the Arctic blast that hit us across Sunset Country over the past weekend, the opportunity to head south could not have come at a better time.

As has become a tradition over the past few years, the first event of the FLW Tour season is taking place in Florida.