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Big brands celebrate Bassmaster Classic victory for first Canadian winner


Z-Man, Shimano and Humminbird were among the brands celebrating Jeff Gustafson’s win in the Bassmaster Classic.

The Canadian pro, known as Gussy, pocketed the $300,000 purse after leading from start to finish on the Tennessee River at Knoxville, finishing with a three-day total of 42lb 7oz.

The first ‘international’ ever to lift the trophy, he fished a Z-Man Jerk ShadZ to target bass located on his Humminbird MEGA Live forward-facing sonar. He fished the lure on a G. Loomis NRX+ 872 rod paired with a Shimano Stella 3000 spooled with 10lb PowerPro line.

“I’ve been using the Z-Man Jerk ShadZ for years – long before they sponsored me – just because I feel really comfortable with them and they work,” said Gustafson.

The Canadian also said he relied heavily on his Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor with Spot-Lock to stay on top of the fish. “Spot-Lock is the greatest thing ever invented,” he added. “It kept me on the fish.”

But MEGA Live was the key to his win. He said. “Not everyone likes forward-facing sonar, but if you don’t have it you’re not gonna’ come close to competing.”

The 2023 Academy Sports Classic, presented by Toyota, set a new record attendance of 163,914, fulfilling the prediction made by Bassmaster CEO Chase Anderson when he spoke to Angling International last week.

But the competition itself was one of the toughest, with only five anglers weighing in three five-bass limits.

Other supporting brands to benefit from Gustafson’s win include wader and apparel company Simms, X2Power and Lund Boats.

The Classic Outdoors Expo was again a huge draw for consumers. “It continues to be the pre-eminent consumer outdoor show in the US and has become the go-to event for fishing brands launching new products,” said Emily Harley, B.A.S.S. Communcations Manager.

“There was a new boat launch as well as lots of new gear and apparel. Booth space filled faster for 2023 than any other previous event, despite it being the biggest ever Expo for square footage. And the size of the booths continues to grow.

“There were lines of fans at all the booths as people enjoyed engaging with displays, seminars and meeting their favourite anglers and celebrities.

“When people think of the Bassmaster Classic Outdoors Expo, they may immediately think of browsing gear, but the Expo is really what makes the Classic a complete experience for anyone who loves fishing and the outdoors. There are fun, kid-friendly activities like a fishing pond, inflatable archery and crafts, seminars from pro anglers and celebrity appearances. Groups also use the Expo as a central place for in-person meet-ups.

“The Expo is a major contributor to the economic impact of the Classic, which regularly tops $30m for the host community.”

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