Pro-staff Contributor: Jeff Gustafson
The fifth stop on the 2013 FLW Tour took place this past weekend at Oklahoma’s Grand Lake. I arrived in Grove, Oklahoma the day before practice started, and while I drove over a bridge on the lake I was shocked to see the high, dirty water. There were literally thousands of logs and pieces of debris floating down the lake—a result of heavy rains accompanying the nasty storms that have gone through Oklahoma recently. Fishing this type of water was going to be a new experience for me.
During my first morning of practice, things started out pretty well. It didn’t take me long to start catching some nice fish by flipping a ½ oz jig in some of the flooded bushes and wood along the bank of the lake. Over the course of the day, I caught several good fish and figured I was onto a solid program that would carry me through the weekend. But, the next two days of practice were not as good as the first. I wasn’t sure if I had simply found a good area on the first day or if the pattern was not as solid as I thought.
Heading into the event I figured that 13 pounds per day would likely be enough to get a check at this event, based on what I saw in practice and what some of the other anglers were saying. But as it turns out, I was way off on that prediction. I brought in 12 pounds the first day of the tournament and found myself sitting in 94th place. On day two, I did a little bit better and caught 13 pounds but it didn’t help my final standings. I ended up with a 99th place finish at this tournament.
Even though I ended outside of the money, I still had some success with my techniques. I caught most of my fish with a jig on a 7’5″ G. Loomis GL2 flipping stick matched with a 7:0:1 Shimano Core 100 and 20 lb Sunline Sniper Fluorocarbon. I also caught a few fish with a Jackall SK-Pop Grande on a 6’8″ Shimano Crucial topwater rod matched up with a 7:0:1 Shimano Chronarch reel and 30 lb Power Pro Super Slick line.
Obviously I’m disappointed with where I finished, but I am taking some positive notes from the experience. I lost two big fish during the first day of the tournament, they just jumped off on me, so I ended up weighing a couple of small fish that day. I’m not trying to give you the “woulda, coulda” routine, but I know that if I would have landed those two fish I would have been flirting with getting a check and a happy finish. So I feel like I was on the right program with my technique but maybe needed to find a better location. I’m taking the positive out of all of these events and hopefully next year when I’m faced with similar conditions I’ll be able to adjust a little more quickly.
There is one event left on the 2013 FLW Tour Majors schedule coming up in a couple weeks at Tennessee’s Lake Chickamauga. I’m looking forward to getting on the water on Chickamauga and trying to put together a solid game plan to end the season on a strong note.
Jeff Gustafson is a professional angler living in Kenora, Ontario on the shores of Lake of the Woods. Outdoor writer, fishing promoter and host of “Fishing with Gussy.” You’ll see him fishing the Walmart FLW Tour representing krugerfarms.com and Lund boats among others. You can follow him on Twitter (@GussyOutdoors) and like him on Facebook (facebook.com/gussyoutdoors).