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Jeff Gustafson - Livewell

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.

Learning to trap hard work

Growing up around Lake of the Woods, I’ve been fortunate to experience nearly all of the outdoor activities available to us around Sunset Country over the years.

I’ve spent many hours fishing, hunting, looking for shed deer and moose antlers, hiking, and camping.

But one activity that I haven’t been exposed to is trapping, which has a long history in our area. In fact, many of the communities across our region originated because of the prosperous fur trade industry centuries ago.

Trout derby a good time

Despite some cold weather, 68 anglers showed up for the 23rd-annual Crystal Harbour Resort Lake Trout Derby on Saturday in Sioux Narrows.

I wrote about this one-day, catch-and-release event in my column last week and figured I would share the results with everybody this week.

A group of eight of us went down from Kenora and stayed at Crawford’s Camp on Friday and Saturday nights. We were up late both nights, and had fun socializing and playing dice games.

Somebody brought fireworks and there were a few drinks to be had. A great weekend at a cabin on the lake!

Trout derby slated

Over the past three years, I’ve been fortunate to be down in Florida in late January getting ready for the FLW Tour season to start up.

For the past few years, my first tournament of the year has taken place the first week of February.

It’s been great to get to fish in the boat in February in Florida, but I’ve missed out on what was a tradition since high school with my buddies in Sioux Narrows: participating in the annual lake trout derby on Regina Bay.