Jeff Gustafson, of Keewatin, Ontario, Canada, is leading after Day 2 of the 2021 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Tennessee River with a two-day total of 33 pounds, 8 ounces. 

                                                                                                                                                   Photo by Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.

February 26, 2021

Gustafson Sticks With Smallmouth, Maintains Lead At Bassmaster Elite On The Tennessee River

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Despite cool, rainy conditions, Jeff Gustafson maintained the lead during Friday’s second round of the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Tennessee River, catching a limit of smallmouth bass that weighed 15 pounds, 10 ounces.

His two-day total of 33-8 gives him more than a 3-pound advantage of Tennessee pro Brandon Card, who is second with 30-7.

Gustafson, a two-time Bassmaster Classic qualifier from Canada, said he never expected to catch two limits of smallmouth with the 18-inch minimum size restriction in place for this week’s tournament waters.

“It feels awesome,” he said. “Now with the position I’m in, there’s that stress. It’s been a good week so far. You could have signed me up for 50th place on Wednesday night. One thing I’ve learned doing this, these chances to win don’t come along very often and you just hope you take advantage of it when it happens.”

While the area Gustafson is fishing is still producing quality smallmouth, the bites didn’t come quite as fast Friday as they did on Day 1. The Keewatin, Ontario, native said he had more bass bump his bait instead of eating it.

After catching four fish in the first two hours, it took Gustafson until just before 1 p.m. to secure his final keeper.

“There are still some fish there, but they were harder to catch today and they are getting harder to catch,” he said. “I wasn’t really able to expand a whole lot, and part of that was it took me so long to catch my fifth fish.

“It was important to get that last one.”

With bass setting up in two or three “sweet spots” in his primary area, precision has been important. If he misses his spot by a couple of feet, he feels there is little chance of getting a bite.

The specific technique used to catch his fish on Day 1 has continued to produce, however.

“The way I’m fishing is the primary way we catch smallmouths back home in mid-summer through the fall, and I’ve been dying to utilize it in a tournament down here since I started fishing in 2013,” Gustafson said.

With very few options outside of his current strategy, Gustafson will return to the same area for Saturday’s semifinal round.

“I’m not leaving that area I’m fishing. I’m sure the fish are there, it’s just a matter of if I can wrangle five of them,” he said. “It seems like the morning is better and hopefully I can capitalize on that. Hit the juicy stuff first thing.”

With the big bag of the day at 16-10, Card jumped from fourth to second. The Knoxville native, who recently moved to North Carolina, used a flurry around mid-morning to secure four of his five bass, including a 4-pounder and a 3-pounder on back-to-back casts.

“I’m just grinding it out in an area,” Card said. “I have a section that seems like there is big fish. You can go hours and not even get a sniff. And then, you will catch like two or three or four in a row.

“I went from zero to five fish in literally 20 minutes. I culled and then to catch my seventh fish, it took me hours.”

While dragging an Advantage Baits Wild Card Finesse prototype jig was the key for Card on Day 1, he relied on jerkbaits and a jig on Day 2. Although he’s fishing a reaction bait, Card said he is using a deliberate approach.

“Yesterday with the high sun, they wouldn’t come up on a jerkbait,” Card said. “So yesterday, I had to drag. I’m fishing so slow it is unbelievable. I’m barely even moving.”

On his final cast Friday, Mississippi native Brock Mosley caught a 6-10 largemouth on spinning gear to anchor his limit of 14-10. The fish took Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the Day and helped move him from fifth to third with a two-day total of 27-10.

“I was stuck on four fish, and I saved enough time to hit two spots on my way back,” Mosley said. “One was the exact same spot I caught a big smallmouth yesterday.

“About 10 casts into it, I leaned into her. I actually thought I had some carpet or something until she shook her head. I got her in the boat to fill my limit and that’s huge on this place.”

With largemouth being the primary target, Mosley said he is trying to change with the conditions.

“It seems like this lake wakes up in a different mood every day,” he said. “I decided not to go to Tellico today about lunch as I was working that way. I figured I would stay up here and grind it out.

“I was really fortunate to get that last bite. Otherwise, I would have only had 8 pounds.”

The Top 50 remaining anglers will take off tomorrow from Volunteer Landing at 7 a.m. ET. Weigh-in will begin at 3 p.m. at World’s Fair Park Performance Lawn. After Saturday’s round, only the Top 10 will advance to Championship Sunday.

Live coverage of the event can be streamed on Bassmaster.com and the FOX Sports digital platforms. FS1 will also broadcast the action live from 8-11:30 a.m. Saturday.

The tournament is being hosted by the Visit Knoxville Sports Commission.

2021 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Tennessee River 2/25-2/28
Tennessee River, Knoxville  TN.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 2

   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Jeff Gustafson         Keewatin Ontario CANADA 10  33-08  100
Day 1: 5   17-14     Day 2: 5   15-10
2.  Brandon Card           Salisbury, NC           10  30-07   99   $1,000.00
Day 1: 5   13-13     Day 2: 5   16-10
3.  Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS        10  27-10   98   $1,000.00
Day 1: 5   13-00     Day 2: 5   14-10
4.  Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA            10  25-05   97
Day 1: 5   12-01     Day 2: 5   13-04
5.  John Cox               Debary, FL              10  23-14   96
Day 1: 5   09-14     Day 2: 5   14-00
6.  Scott Martin           Clewiston, FL           10  23-14   95
Day 1: 5   10-07     Day 2: 5   13-07
7.  Scott Canterbury       Odenville, AL           10  22-15   94
Day 1: 5   10-14     Day 2: 5   12-01
8.  Justin Hamner          Northport, AL           10  22-09   93
Day 1: 5   11-09     Day 2: 5   11-00
9.  Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY             10  22-05   92
Day 1: 5   11-11     Day 2: 5   10-10
10. Taku Ito               Chiba JAPAN             10  22-04   91
Day 1: 5   09-14     Day 2: 5   12-06
11. Brandon Cobb           Greenwood, SC            7  22-02   90
Day 1: 4   08-11     Day 2: 3   13-07
12. Jake Whitaker          Fairview, NC             9  22-01   89
Day 1: 4   10-15     Day 2: 5   11-02
13. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA               10  21-15   88
Day 1: 5   13-14     Day 2: 5   08-01
14. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK           10  21-13   87
Day 1: 5   09-10     Day 2: 5   12-03
15. Ray Hanselman Jr       Del Rio, TX             10  21-12   86
Day 1: 5   12-00     Day 2: 5   09-12
16. Hunter Shryock         Ooltewah, TN            10  21-10   85
Day 1: 5   08-15     Day 2: 5   12-11
17. Jamie Hartman          Newport, NY              9  21-08   84
Day 1: 4   06-14     Day 2: 5   14-10
18. Bob Downey             Hudson, WI              10  20-15   83
Day 1: 5   10-12     Day 2: 5   10-03
19. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               7  20-01   82
Day 1: 5   14-00     Day 2: 2   06-01
20. Chad Morgenthaler      Reeds Spring, MO         8  20-00   81
Day 1: 4   07-09     Day 2: 4   12-07
21. Ed Loughran III        Richmond, VA            10  19-07   80
Day 1: 5   09-03     Day 2: 5   10-04
22. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               8  19-06   79
Day 1: 3   05-07     Day 2: 5   13-15
23. Frank Talley           Temple, TX               9  18-10   78
Day 1: 5   11-02     Day 2: 4   07-08
24. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           9  18-09   77
Day 1: 4   09-10     Day 2: 5   08-15
25. Caleb Sumrall          New Iberia, LA           7  18-06   76
Day 1: 2   04-08     Day 2: 5   13-14
26. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           8  17-13   75
Day 1: 5   11-00     Day 2: 3   06-13
27. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          7  17-05   74
Day 1: 4   10-03     Day 2: 3   07-02
28. Matt Robertson         Kuttawa, KY              9  17-03   73
Day 1: 4   07-03     Day 2: 5   10-00
29. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            9  17-01   72
Day 1: 5   09-13     Day 2: 4   07-04
30. Kyle Welcher           Opelika, AL              8  16-15   71
Day 1: 3   04-07     Day 2: 5   12-08
31. Patrick Walters        Summerville, SC         10  16-14   70
Day 1: 5   08-01     Day 2: 5   08-13
32. Pat Schlapper          Eleva, WI                8  16-14   69
Day 1: 3   08-02     Day 2: 5   08-12
33. Cory Johnston          Cavan CANADA             7  16-07   68
Day 1: 4   11-03     Day 2: 3   05-04
34. Marc Frazier           Newnan, GA               7  16-05   67
Day 1: 2   04-10     Day 2: 5   11-11
35. David Fritts           Lexington, NC            8  16-05   66
Day 1: 4   06-10     Day 2: 4   09-11
36. Lee Livesay            Longview, TX             8  16-05   65
Day 1: 5   08-03     Day 2: 3   08-02
37. Brandon Palaniuk       Rathdrum, ID             8  16-03   64
Day 1: 5   11-06     Day 2: 3   04-13
38. Todd Auten             Lake Wylie, SC           7  16-02   63
Day 1: 4   08-08     Day 2: 3   07-10
39. Drew Cook              Cairo, GA                7  16-00   62
Day 1: 5   10-01     Day 2: 2   05-15
40. Derek Hudnall          Denham Springs, LA       8  15-15   61
Day 1: 3   04-13     Day 2: 5   11-02
41. Koby Kreiger           Alva, FL                 8  15-14   60
Day 1: 3   05-10     Day 2: 5   10-04
42. Skylar Hamilton        Dandridge, TN            6  15-07   59
Day 1: 1   01-13     Day 2: 5   13-10
43. Seth Feider            New Market, MN           8  14-10   58
Day 1: 3   05-09     Day 2: 5   09-01
44. Bryan New              Belmont, NC              6  14-02   57
Day 1: 1   02-01     Day 2: 5   12-01
45. Gerald Swindle         Guntersville, AL         6  13-15   56
Day 1: 5   11-01     Day 2: 1   02-14
46. Chris Johnston         Otonabee Ontario CANADA  7  13-12   55
Day 1: 2   04-01     Day 2: 5   09-11
47. Gregory DiPalma        Millville, NJ            8  13-11   54
Day 1: 5   09-04     Day 2: 3   04-07
48. Bryan Schmitt          Deale, MD                7  13-10   53
Day 1: 2   03-07     Day 2: 5   10-03
49. Austin Felix           Eden Prairie, MN         8  13-04   52
Day 1: 3   04-05     Day 2: 5   08-15
50. Shane LeHew            Catawba, NC              8  13-02   51
Day 1: 3   04-11     Day 2: 5   08-07
51. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             7  12-15   50   $2,500.00
Day 1: 2   02-15     Day 2: 5   10-00
52. Clark Wendlandt        Leander, TX              7  12-13   49   $2,500.00
Day 1: 5   09-15     Day 2: 2   02-14
53. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               7  12-10   48   $2,500.00
Day 1: 2   03-03     Day 2: 5   09-07
54. Stetson Blaylock       Benton, AR               8  12-10   47   $2,500.00
Day 1: 3   04-03     Day 2: 5   08-07
55. Drew Benton            Blakely, GA              6  12-06   46   $2,500.00
Day 1: 2   03-07     Day 2: 4   08-15
56. Chris Groh             Spring Grove, IL         5  11-06   45   $2,500.00
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 5   11-06
57. Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL           7  11-06   44   $2,500.00
Day 1: 5   07-02     Day 2: 2   04-04
58. Joshua Stracner        Vandiver, AL             6  11-04   43   $2,500.00
Day 1: 5   09-00     Day 2: 1   02-04
59. Wes Logan              Springville, AL          6  11-03   42   $2,500.00
Day 1: 3   04-08     Day 2: 3   06-11
60. Buddy Gross            Chickamauga, GA          4  11-02   41   $2,500.00
Day 1: 2   04-15     Day 2: 2   06-03
61. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  10-13   40   $2,500.00
Day 1: 2   04-08     Day 2: 3   06-05
62. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  10-07   39   $2,500.00
Day 1: 4   08-13     Day 2: 1   01-10
63. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            6  10-07   38   $2,500.00
Day 1: 2   03-07     Day 2: 4   07-00
64. Dale Hightower         Mannford, OK             6  10-07   37   $2,500.00
Day 1: 3   05-11     Day 2: 3   04-12
65. Randy Pierson          Oakdale, CA              5  10-01   36   $2,500.00
Day 1: 1   01-10     Day 2: 4   08-07
66. Mike Huff              Corbin, KY               4  09-08   35   $2,500.00
Day 1: 2   02-15     Day 2: 2   06-09
67. Bill Weidler           Helena, AL               6  09-08   34   $2,500.00
Day 1: 3   04-15     Day 2: 3   04-09
68. Kenta Kimura           Osaka JAPAN              4  09-03   33   $2,500.00
Day 1: 4   09-03     Day 2: 0   00-00
69. Caleb Kuphall          Mukwonago, WI            5  09-02   32   $2,500.00
Day 1: 4   07-01     Day 2: 1   02-01
70. Chad Pipkens           Dewitt, MI               5  09-00   31   $2,500.00
Day 1: 3   05-00     Day 2: 2   04-00
71. Tyler Rivet            Raceland, LA             5  08-11   30   $2,500.00
Day 1: 2   04-00     Day 2: 3   04-11
72. Destin DeMarion        Grove City, PA           5  08-09   29   $2,500.00
Day 1: 2   04-00     Day 2: 3   04-09
73. KJ Queen               Catawba, NC              4  08-00   28   $2,500.00
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 4   08-00
74. Garrett Paquette       Canton, MI               4  07-15   27   $2,500.00
Day 1: 1   01-12     Day 2: 3   06-03
75. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              3  07-11   26   $2,500.00
Day 1: 3   07-11     Day 2: 0   00-00
76. Robbie Latuso          Gonzales, LA             3  07-09   25
Day 1: 2   05-10     Day 2: 1   01-15
77. Tyler Carriere         Youngsville, LA          3  07-04   24
Day 1: 1   03-10     Day 2: 2   03-10
78. Hank Cherry Jr         Lincolnton, NC           4  07-02   23
Day 1: 3   05-10     Day 2: 1   01-08
79. Kyle Monti             Okeechobee, FL           3  07-01   22
Day 1: 1   02-13     Day 2: 2   04-04
80. Matt Arey              Shelby, NC               4  06-13   21
Day 1: 1   01-09     Day 2: 3   05-04
81. Cody Hollen            Beaverton, OR            4  06-11   20
Day 1: 1   01-12     Day 2: 3   04-15
82. Brett Preuett          Monroe, LA               4  06-10   19
Day 1: 1   01-09     Day 2: 3   05-01
83. Jay Yelas              Lincoln City, OR         3  06-09   18
Day 1: 2   04-06     Day 2: 1   02-03
84. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               4  06-08   17
Day 1: 2   02-15     Day 2: 2   03-09
85. Shane Lineberger       Lincolnton, NC           3  06-08   16
Day 1: 1   03-03     Day 2: 2   03-05
86. Darold Gleason         Many, LA                 4  06-07   15
Day 1: 3   04-05     Day 2: 1   02-02
87. Carl Jocumsen          Queensland AUSTRALIA     2  06-06   14
Day 1: 1   02-11     Day 2: 1   03-11
88. Rob Digh               Denver, NC               4  06-04   13
Day 1: 2   03-03     Day 2: 2   03-01
89. Harvey Horne           Bella Vista, AR          2  06-02   12
Day 1: 1   02-02     Day 2: 1   04-00
90. Brad Whatley           Bivins, TX               3  05-07   11
Day 1: 1   01-13     Day 2: 2   03-10
91. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            3  05-05   10
Day 1: 2   03-12     Day 2: 1   01-09
92. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  2  05-01    9
Day 1: 1   01-13     Day 2: 1   03-04
93. Gary Clouse            Winchester, TN           1  04-11    8
Day 1: 1   04-11     Day 2: 0   00-00
94. Chris Zaldain          Fort Worth, TX           2  04-06    7
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 2   04-06
95. Luke Palmer            Coalgate, OK             2  04-01    6
Day 1: 1   03-00     Day 2: 1   01-01
96. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              2  04-00    5
Day 1: 2   04-00     Day 2: 0   00-00
97. Randy Sullivan         Breckenridge, TX         2  03-13    4
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 2   03-13
98. Rick Morris            Lake Gaston, VA          2  03-13    3
Day 1: 1   01-12     Day 2: 1   02-01
99. Justin Atkins          Florence, AL             1  02-08    2
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 1   02-08
100. Quentin Cappo          Prairieville, LA         1  00-09    1
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 1   00-09
———————————————————————–

PHOENIX BOATS BIG BASS
Day
1   Brandon Card             Salisbury, NC       05-09      $1,000.00
2   Brock Mosley             Collinsville, MS    06-10      $1,000.00

———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        29       300       626-05
2        39       327       724-04
———————————-
68       627      1350-09

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