Z-Man Fishing Products, makers of the ChatterBait and an wide range of soft plastics and terminal tackle, has signed Jeff Gustafson to its pro staff. Gustafson will make his Elite Series debut this year after seven seasons on the FLW Tour.
Gustafson has used Z-Man baits throughout his career and finished a career-best 2nd at last year's Harris Chain FLW Tour behind fellow Ontario native Chris Johnston while throwing a ChatterBait Jack Hammer.
“Formally linking up with Z-Man is especially cool because I’ve been friends with these guys and have fished their baits for years,” said Gustafson, who lives in Keewatin, Ont. “These days, you almost have to fish ElaZtech softbaits and ChatterBaits to stay competitive. Z-Man makes some high-level stuff that helps a lot of guys cash checks.”
“First time I fished with Gussy about five years ago, I immediately knew we needed to have him on the Z-Man team,” said company president Daniel Nussbaum. “Gussy’s genuine, engaging personality perfectly matches his intense passion for the outdoors. But what also stood out to me was his ability to succeed in tournaments from Ontario all the way to Florida. That level of fishing intuition and versatility is a special gift.”
Prior to formally signing with Z-Man Gustafson had incorporated the company's soft plastics into his finesse fishing, especially the Hula StickZ in a Ned Rig application in tournaments around the Ozarks. As he also fishes for pike and walleye in Ontario, the durability of Z-Man baits is a big plus for Gustafson.
“When I’m chasing smallmouths in Canadian lakes – places full of pike and walleyes – durability is huge," he said. "I can catch 40 or 50 bass on a single ElaZtech bait. And the buoyancy of a bait like the StreakZ makes it sit horizontal in the water, so bass see a totally natural presentation."
“Working with pros like Gussy who come in with a pre-existing belief in our baits is a dream scenario,” Nussbaum added. “His passion is authentic; it makes him the ideal person to help us spread the word about our baits and to expand our product line even further.”