FORT WORTH, TEXAS — Canadians Jeff Gustafson and brothers Chris and Cory Johnston have made history at the US$1-million Bassmaster Classic for a second straight year.
The trio qualified for the 2020 event, the first time three Canadians had ever done so. And on Saturday, all three qualified for the final round of the Elite Series premier event Sunday on Lake Ray Roberts -- another first for Canucks -- where the winner will earn $300,000.
The three will also break the mark for the highest finish in the event by a Canadian, which is currently No. 31 registered by Ottawa's Charles Sim in 2016. Sim and Hank Gibson of Keswick, Ont., (1990) are the only other Canadians to have qualified for the Classic.
Japan’s Takahiro Omori (2004) is the event’s only non-American winner. Gustafson finished 31st last year while Chris Johnston, of Peterborough, Ont., was 34th and Cory Johnston, of Cavan, Ont., was 47th.
Chris Johnston will head into the final day of competition standing sixth overall. Johnston has weighed 10 fish over the first two days -- competitors can weigh up to five fish daily -- for 29 pounds, nine ounces, leaving him five pounds, five ounces behind leader Hank Cherry Jr.
Chris Johnston's catch Saturday weighed 13 pounds, nine ounces after he opened the event with 16 pounds Friday.
Gustafson stands 19th overall with 21 pounds, 13 ounces, a heady accomplishment given he opened the tournament with four fish weighing eight-and-a-half pounds. Gustafson moved up 23 spots Saturday after catching five fish weighing a combined 13 pounds, five ounces.
Cory Johnston stands No. 22 with 21 pounds, 11 ounces. After weighing five fish for 16 pounds, four ounces Friday, Johnston had three fish for five pounds, nine ounces Saturday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published