Jeff Gustafson is nice, maybe too nice.
Anyone who’s met the affable Canadian can see he’s kind, gracious and would pleasantly fulfill any reasonable request for a favor.
Bassmaster Elite Series running buddy Seth Feider called him “the best dude on planet earth,” and "right as rain," but added he is probably too nice. So nice, in fact, that Gustafson, 38, would have let Feider fish around his winning spot in the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Tennessee River.
“Yeah, probably,” Gustafson admitted. “We talked about that. I just said, ‘If you wanted to come and mess around that zone and not get on top of me.’ He just said, ‘Hey Gus, there’s a time for sharing where we get checks, and there’s a time for winning. And you got to win.’”
Gussy and Feider, from Minnesota, are part of the “Eh Team” that includes Canadian brothers Cory and Chris Johnston, Chris Groh of Illinois, and “we’re starting to let ole trailer park Matt (Robertson) in there, too,” Feider said. The group rents a house for tournament weeks, where Gussy cooks a mean chicken strip and runs a tight ship by cleaning up for the crew, and they share fishing info to varying degrees.
Feider said he talks the most with Gustafson, giving and getting intel like baits, colors and depths. Upon hearing Gustafson found smallmouth schooled up deep, Feider knew it presented a great chance, and he wasn’t about to horn in.
“I didn’t try it because I knew he could win this tournament,” Feider said. “When he said he got his limit in 40 minutes on Day 1, I thought, ‘Yeah, it’s over.’ If I asked Gussy if I could come, like on Day 2 or Day 3, fish right next to him, he would have let me.
“It’s different when you’re on some mediocre stuff — if we all fish in here we’ll all get a check. He was on something where it was his opportunity to win, so I didn’t bother him. Still, if I asked him the night after Day 1 if I could have fished next to him, he would have said yeah. I didn’t want to ask him because he’s too nice and would have said yeah.”