Bass Fishing’s Future is in Good Hands

Most of my life I fished just to be fishing — walleye, bass, perch, crappie, bluegill, it didn’t matter. Like the majority of those who fish it was recreational, or to get a few fillets for the deep fryer. I always enjoyed the challenge that fishing presented but never thought more about it than that.

This all changed about 6 years ago when my now 18 year old son decided that bass were his favorite species to catch! I soon found myself spending 90% of my fishing trips targeting smallmouth bass on the Door County waters of Green Bay.

As his passion for bass fishing grew to the point that he was following the pro levels and naming off fishing pros like most kids name off NFL QBs, I realized I had a lot of catching up to do if I was going to be able to offer assistance as a father. So what had been a recreational pastime developed into a relationship between a father providing support for his son to follow his passion and hopefully achieve his goals and a son providing direction for a father entering the next chapter in his life.

In May of 2019 I was dealing with some warranty issues on my boat prior to a team tournament we were preparing for. As a courtesy the regional rep that I was dealing with for Lund Boats arranged for my son and I to meet one of their sponsored angler: Elite Pro Jeff Gustafson who was fishing the tournament with his partner, Elite Pro Seth Fieder.

We had a short casual conversation over dinner and as we were preparing to go our separate ways, Gussy (as he prefers to be called) said “if you ever need any advice, don’t hesitate to ask as I am always willing to help out a young angler”.

What I considered simply a kind offer by a professional athlete turned out to be much more. This wasn’t lip service but rather, as I would discover, a sincere gesture made by a young man that has his priorities in order.

Over the last year I have followed Gussy’s career not only on the Elite series but also on social media platforms as well, and I am impressed with how open he is to answer questions and share his insight with complete strangers. Any time I am researching information related to smallmouth fishing I would come across his name associated with articles written on the matter. He has been open to offering advice not only to my son but to myself as well.

So it should be no surprise when I asked him if he wouldn’t mind answering some questions so that I could help spread my message he didn’t hesitate in answering “Sure, I’d be happy to”.

In the sport of bass fishing I am sure there are many others that share the same kind of values and character as Gussy, and for sure some are more well-known names. But I can tell you from firsthand experience that if you have a son or daughter who is as passionate about fishing as mine is you will not go wrong in having them follow this young man as he proves himself on the Elite Series Tour.

I would like to add that outside of our dinner I have had no other dealings with Mr. Fieder, but knowing what I know about the character of Gussy and the fact that they fish some team events together Seth certainly is a stand up guy as well.

Part of our philosophy at Positive Fishing Power is to make a difference through our passion for fishing and the outdoors and to support those who share the same principles. This Father’s Day let’s remember those who introduced us to the joy of fishing and say thanks for the memories that were created. Together we can all make a difference, one fish at a time.

Q) How were you introduced to fishing and what kept you involved during your youth that ultimately led to you becoming a professional angler?

A) For me, growing up spending the summers at our family cabin on Lake of the Woods probably had the biggest influence on my fishing career. From an early age I have had the fishing bug and I have just always had easy access to some great fishing opportunities. I also had a father who took me fishing and made sure I had fun when I was a little kid. 

Jeff and Dad

Q) How much would you say that confidence plays a role in fishing success? 

A) Confidence in fishing is huge, obviously. I get asked all the time about what color lure I’m using… and the answer I often have for people is it doesn’t matter what color your jig or worm is if you aren’t putting it in front of fish. Finding fish is huge… for that reason I don’t carry a million colors of different baits with me on the water. I carry the ones I have confidence in.

Then it’s important to have confidence in your equipment. Put in the time to make sure everything works before you hit the water. Finally, spend as much time as you can on the water. You will learn something each time you’re out there and that helps to build confidence as well.  

Q) What do you remember most about your first Bass Masters Classic?

A) The rush of getting pulled into the arena, with the loud music, the large crowds, that was probably the most surreal moment that I’ve waited my whole life for.

I will also say I had a couple of happy tears when my name was called to blast off on the first morning and I thought about all of the people who have helped me along the way, to get where I am today. Some of them are gone now, others are still a big part of my life.

2020 Classic GUSSY provided by gussyoutdoors

Q) During a tournament every ounce is important. How do you remain focused and stay positive when you lose a fish, especially a big one?

A) Honestly, when I lose a fish now, within five seconds of it happening, my bait is going to be back in the water and I’m over it. I do everything I can to my equipment to help prevent fish losses but it’s going to happen from time to time. That is part of the luck factor in fishing and if it’s gone, it’s gone. You’ll rarely hear me talking about fish I lost after the tournament day is finished, you just carry on and find another one.

Q) Do you have any superstitions (like a lucky hat or a certain routine you follow) before an event?

A) I once had a small stone from a bass I caught out at Sturgeon Bay, I carried that with me for a few years and I’m not sure what happened to it.

Today, I have a Canadian Loonie (our $1 coin) embedded into the carpet of my boat – the story being at the 2002 and 2010 winter Olympics, the ice maker was a Canadian who put a Loonie in the ice and Canada won the gold medal in men’s hockey at both games.

Q) Knowing us northern anglers may be at a disadvantage over southern anglers because of a much shorter open water season, what advice would you give a young angler from up here that may give them an advantage if they are looking to compete in the sport of bass fishing?

A) I can tell you that no matter if you are fishing in Minnesota, Canada, Alabama or Florida, bass of all species relate to some sort of structure or cover wherever they are and they all spawn in the spring.

Having knowledge of spawning tendencies helps to find fish in the spring, then through much of the year bass location is based on where their forage is located.  

Q) Based on how the events of our recent history have affected us all, how would you suggest the fishing community can do its part to give back?

A) The current virus crisis is affecting all of us in some way or another. I think the best thing that we can all do is get out fishing when we can, follow the guidelines for staying safe and hopefully this will all be over sooner rather than later. I think the best thing the fishing community can do is to be cognizant of the situation we’re in and not be the cause of any further outbreak or ignore the social distancing guidelines, which would make us all look bad.

Gussy and wife Shelby sharing their passion together!
Smallmouth bass Door County

Late May Report

Fishing for smallmouth continues to be excellent along the Door County Peninsula. You will find everything from post spawn to pre spawn fish depending on location. Some of our recent trips have seen us catching over 50 fish a day.

Jerk baits and paddle tail swim baits have been a staple for us this spring. But it pays to be versatile, just the other day we were having a good deal of success throwing jerk baits when the wind switched and the mood of the fish changed with it. The bite we had going tapered off, so instead of abandoning the area we switched up our presentation and continued to land a bunch more.

We are looking forward to what June has to offer…..

Check out our Fish with PFP page for more info on how we can help you enjoy this fantastic fishery.

Season Underway

With the cancelation of some of our upcoming tournaments this May due to the current Covid-19 orders that are in place, we are still pursuing our passion. We want to thank both the Sturgeon Bay Bass Tournament and the Sturgeon Bay Open Bass Tournament for their past events and look forward to fishing them both again in the future.

Here is a look at some of our recent outings

Tips for early season smallmouth success

  • Ever changing weather patterns in early spring can make fishing unpredictable to say the least. Staying mobile and finding pockets of warm water with bottom transitions like gravel to sand or mud to rock etc. can make all the difference. Surface water that is slowly warming this time of year typically gets moved around by prevailing winds and the fish you caught yesterday can be gone today.
  • Becoming proficient in as many techniques as you can will go a long way to increasing your odds. Considering your main objective is to “catch” fish this may not always be a quick solution as some presentations take longer to developing confidence in than others. If you put the time in and you’re patient with a new approach it will pay off in the end. Having the ability to go from throwing a tube jig to a jerk bait may be the difference to catching more fish or the biggest fish in that school.
  • Don’t overlook ultra-shallow water. Some of our best days have occurred fishing in less than 5 feet of water.
  • Be bold! If you are catching fish on a particular bait chances are so are other around you. Fish are not smart but they do get conditioned to our intrusion on their environment. For instances say you are having success with a green pumpkin 3″ paddle tail swimbait and the bite slows a bit. Don’t be afraid to make a drastic change in colors or upsizing to a 5″ this could lead to catching a few more fish and possibly your personal best.

There is no magic equation to success other than spending time on the water and enjoying the pleasure that fishing has to offer. Confidence comes when effort meets results and we are able to realize it.

Stay Safe Enjoy Life!

Helping Others

Fishing through anxiety using when vs what

I was recently having a conversation with a non-fishing friend who wanted to know more about the idea behind Positive Fishing Power. This conversation revolved around the words what and why. What has helped? What made you decide to change? Why do you feel more positive?

I told him that for me the questions made more sense starting with when versus what or why — I guess it’s just more of a personal accomplishment to me this way.

My answer was, “When my attempt at making the bed every morning stopped feeling like a chore and actually became a habit.” But I didn’t mention how long that actually took…

I gave him a few other ways to help create a more positive mindset. He replied that I need to share more of this. I told him for now that most of my posts would be related to fishing topics with a few personal things sprinkled in along the way. I am focused on the passion part of PFP right now.

Yet after thinking about how he appreciated the advice I gave him on what I have done to start becoming more positive, I realized that here I was helping someone that is not nearly as hardcore about fishing as I am. Maybe my idea of making a difference through fishing isn’t crazy after all.

When I formed the idea for Positive Fishing Power I sought advice from family, friends and basically anywhere I could find it. Of all that I received these three things stood out to me: start small, speak from the heart, and stand behind it.

The Journey

So as I begin down what I have been referring to as “The PFP Journey” I will do my best to be as true to those three things as one can. As I share my pursuit of becoming a better person, husband, father and angler hopefully others can take away pieces to help them through their “Journey”. Below are a few things that have helped me.

  • Start by making your bed everyday.
  • Use music to motivate and inspire.
  • Stop blaming your issues/problems on others, even though others may have contributed to them.
  • Talking to yourself in the third person may help to control your emotions.
  • Start writing, even if it is just simple thoughts.
  • Find your passion — it has always been there, try to do something to cultivate it every day no matter how insignificant it might be.
  • Don’t blame yourself, it’s just a waste of energy keeping you from your goals. We all have shit, “Get a shovel and deal with it.”
  • Go to bed each night telling yourself it was a good day.

Keep in mind that building a better version of yourself doesn’t happen overnight it will take time and there will be hurdles and setbacks along the way. We have all heard about setting small goals to tackle larger ones — when you aim big you also miss big. I found rewarding myself once a goal was reached gave me more gratification. Like fishing, every day will be different. There is NO perfect way to go about it you just have to be committed, and as a close friend likes to say, “find a way”.

Stay safe and Enjoy Life!

Helps having a loyal companion!

Birthday Largemouth

Turned 51 yesterday and was able to get out on the water and start the PFP journey. Cold, windy and fantastic because I was able to create another memory. 

Learn to go to bed each night saying “it was a good day”. By doing this has helped me to keep things in perspective.

Be Safe!

Winter or Spring -Lion or Lamb

It appears that “Ole Man Winter” is losing his grip

Took a “social distancing” drive to check ice conditions and it won’t be long before we can start our annual pursuit of the Green Bay Smallmouth.

Stay safe and enjoy life!