Gustafson Wins Wire-to-Wire at the Bassmaster Classic


Canadian pro Jeff Gustafson completed a wire-to-wire win at the 2023 Bassmaster Classic on the Tennessee River to become the first Canadian to ever hoist the championship trophy on the biggest stage in tournament bass fishing.

With a bite that cooled significantly on Championship Sunday, Gustafson brought just two fish for 6 pounds, 12 ounces to the scales on the final day of the three-day competition. His total weight of 42 pounds, 7 ounces was enough to hold off the competition and secure the Ray Scott Trophy and a $300,000 check.

Maryland’s Bryan Schmitt and Alabama’s Scott Canterbury finished second and third, with total weights of 40-14 and 40-1, respectively.

Gustafson built his early lead and held onto it with a pattern he used to win a 2021 regular-season Elite Series event wire-to-wire on the same fishery. He found schools of smallmouth bass in Tellico Lake and dropped a soft-plastic jerkbait on a jig head to them.

Forward-facing sonar was critical to the technique, which he called “moping.” He actually watched fish interact with his lure on screen. Most of the time getting them to bite was a matter of just “quivering” the lure like an injured baitfish. The technique has been compared to ice fishing.

The 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic presented by Toyota set another new record for fan attendance. It is estimated a crowd of 163,914 fans attended Classic events in Knoxville over the weekend.

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