“It’s very exciting, I’m tickled to death,” Gluszek says. “From the Original Floating Minnow to the crankbaits and jerkbaits, Rapala lures are the some of the greatest baits ever designed.”
The Rapala team is equally enthusiastic about Gluszek, with whom its worked previously as a Bass University sponsor.
“Working with Pete over the last few years through The Bass University has given me the opportunity to get to know him and see what he does in the industry,” says Rapala Field Promotions Manager Dan Quinn. “He stays busy, works very hard and is an incredible angler — which all adds up to him being a top-notch representative for Rapala. It’s an honor to have Pete join the Rapala Pro Staff and I look forward to a long and prosperous relationship.”
Co-founded by Gluszek and fellow Rapala pro Michael Iaconelli, Bass University offers numerous educational programs, including on-water training and weekend-long bass-fishing classes taught by leading bass pros. Students meet and talk with the pros to learn proven bass-fishing secrets, tactics and techniques,.
In addition to his work with The Bass University this year, Gluszek will fish the Bassmaster Northern Opens, competing on Virginia’s James River, New York’s Oneida Lake, and Lake Erie, launching out of Sandusky, Ohio.
“It’s going to be a lot of smallmouth fishing this year,” he says. “So Rapala baits will be a huge factor for me, from the X-Rap® to a new bait that will be unveiled at the Bassmaster Classic. I can’t wait to get that one on the water!”
A ten-year veteran of top-tier tournament bass fishing, Gluszek has competed in three Bassmaster Classics and one Forrest Wood Cup. He won a Bassmaster Northern Open on New York’s Cayuga Lake in 2012 and owns an FLW Stren Series record for the heaviest winning margin, having finished almost 18 pounds ahead of the runner-up. Although known as a river and tidal-water specialist, he can catch ‘em anywhere in the country.
In and around his home state of New Jersey, you’ll often find Gluszek slinging a Rapala Shad Rap — especially in the winter and spring. “It’s got to be one of the greatest-all-time cold-water baits ever designed,” he says.
One of his favorite smallmouth baits is Rapala’s X-Rap. “It’s an amazing tool,” he says. “I call it a ‘power jerkbait,’ because you can make it dart back and forth in a really erratic fashion. In the right conditions, that’s a huge trigger for smallmouths.”
In addition to fishing for smallmouth and largemouth bass in tournaments, Gluszek fun-fishes for striped bass on the Upper Chesapeake Bay, the largest freshwater estuary in the world.
“I love stripers,” he says. “I live near the Upper Chesapeake Bay and spend a lot of my free time chasing them. … The majority of the stripers on the East Coast migrate into the Chesapeake every year to spawn.”
Come spring, Gluszek will have to make room in his tackle box for Saltwater X-Raps, a go-to bait on the East Coast for linesides. But for now, he’s stuck on the bank, anxiously awaiting the melting of ice that’s locked up local lakes this winter.
“Some years, we can fish all year long up here,” he says. “But this winter, we’ve got a lot of ice on the lakes. Worst-case scenario, I’ll be fishing in March. And the first bait I tie on after ice-out will be a Rapala.”