An investigation is underway into the theft of approximately 20 rod and reel combos along with numerous tackle boxes from the truck of FLW Tour angler Jeff Gustafson.
Gustafson believes the items were taken either Monday or Tuesday while his truck and trailer were parked at the General Burnside State Park boat ramp, the same ramp used for last week’s Lake Cumberland FLW Tour. Gustafson stayed after the tournament to take a few of his sponsors out fishing.
“It looks like they broke in through the side window of the truck cap,” he said. “They just twisted the handle until popped loose.”
On Wednesday, fellow Tour angler Casey Scanlon told BassFan he also had items stolen from his truck either on day 1 or 2 of the tournament while his truck was also parked at Burnside State Park.
Among the items taken from Gustafson’s truck were an assortment of G. Loomis and Shimano rods outfitted with Shimano reels, all of his bulk spools of fishing line and 10 to 12 tackle boxes, including all of his crankbaits and tackle he was planning to use at Kentucky Lake next month.
He didn’t notice anything was missing until Tuesday evening after he parked his boat and truck at a friend’s house in Nashville.
“I unhooked the boat and went to pull some gear out of my truck and saw it had been cleared out,” said Gustafson, a native of Kenora, Ontario. “I was already a few hours away (from Cumberland).”
He said the weather wasn’t too nice Monday and Tuesday and only remembers seeing a couple other vehicles in the ramp parking lot. He said local authorities are going to review surveillance video from the hotel parking lot where he had stayed and also check if the state park had any surveillance video.
“Of all the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve been in sketchier places where you breathe a sigh of relief when you get up in the morning you’re your stuff is still there,” he said. “The tough part for me, especially when I have to leave my boat and truck down here, is I carry lot of gear with me because I’m fishing five or six lakes in one haul.”
He shared the story on his social media pages Tuesday night and already has received numerous messages offering help.
“It’s all just stuff,” he said. “It’s not the end of the world, but it’s still disappointing. You have a sentimental connection to your fishing stuff. I had a handful of discontinued rods and crankbaits that were given to me that work at certain places.”
He said the gear he had in his boat should get him through next week’s Tour event at Smith Lake, but his sponsors will help him get geared back up for Kentucky Lake.
Scanlon said he discovered he was missing a box filled with fishing line, some crankbait boxes and a couple rods when he began to organize tackle for the Table Rock Lake Central FLW Series.
“I drove straight home (last Friday) from the tournament and was re-gearing for this tournament and noticed I had quite a bit of room in my truck,” he said.
Scanlon reached out to police in Burnside on Wednesday afternoon to advise them of his situation. He had stayed at a cabin with other competitors during the tournament and thinks it’s unlikely the theft occurred there.
“The owners were staying there, too, and it was a pretty secure place,” he said.
He suspects it occurred on day 1 of the tournament when his truck and trailer were parked in a separate lot.
“I got super lucky,” Scanlon said. “Nothing I lost was irreplaceable – just a bunch of plastic crankbaits that I can replace and a bunch of line. They took a bunch of tournament ready stuff. It’s a bummer, but thankfully they didn’t get it all.”