UNION SPRINGS, N.Y. — Canadian pro Jeff Gustafson came into the SiteOne Bassmaster Elite at Cayuga Lake with modest expectations.
But his confidence has grown with each passing day — and on Friday, it grew by leaps and bounds as Gustafson caught five bass that weighed 25 pounds, 6 ounces and took the lead with a two-day total of 49-1.
His catch of 25-6 is the biggest of the tournament so far.
“It was a dream day — both of the last two days were,” said Gustafson, who lives in Keewatin, Canada. “I was expecting that to happen either day, but now the expectations are pretty high. I’ve seen what’s out there, and it’s pretty impressive.”
While much of the field has been concentrating on shallow grass, Gustafson has focused on small patches of hard bottom offshore. Since this is his first trip to Cayuga, he said he doesn’t know a lot of spots to try.
So, he’s been sticking mainly with one area.
“There’s just not a lot of rock here,” he said. “In practice, I idled for hours and every couple of hours I’d kind of find something.
“When I started the tournament, my plan was to get a limit of largemouth and then go fish for smallmouth. I thought the smallmouth would be my biggest fish, but they disappeared.”
Gustafson has been using an Aqua-Vu underwater camera — and on Friday, he saw a few smallmouth that gave him an extra tinge of hope for the final two days.
“Even though I caught 25 pounds today, it wasn’t as easy as it might have seemed,” he said. “I’m really just catching one here and one there, but they’re the right ones.
“If the smallmouth turn back on, that could really make a big difference for me.”