Przekurat Takes Lead In Bassmaster Elite Series Event At St. Lawrence River
Jul 17th, 2022 by Keith Worrall
Modified Jul 17th, 2022 at 11:20 AM
Jay Przekurat of Stevens Point, Wis., is leading after Day 2 of the 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River with a two-day total of 52 pounds, 5 ounces.
Photo by Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.
July 15, 2022
Przekurat Takes Lead In Bassmaster Elite Series Event At St. Lawrence River
CLAYTON, N.Y. — Leveraging a Bass Fishing 101 concept, rookie Jay Przekurat caught a Day 2 limit of 25 pounds, 8 ounces and took over the lead of the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River with a two-day total of 52-5.
Hailing from Stevens Point, Wis., Przekurat heads into Semifinal Saturday with a margin of 1-13 over Canadian Cory Johnston.
Returning to Lake Ontario where he caught 26-13 on Day 1, Przekurat fished a drop shot and a marabou jig to put together his second-round weight. Finding his bass in what he termed a mid-depth range, Przekurat said the postspawn zone held an obvious attraction.
“This is an area where postspawners are trickling out,” Przekurat said. “The only difference between that area and other areas I have is there’s bait there. You can see it on the graph; it’s all over the place.
“The fish come up and jump and eat bait. It’s crazy.”
Przekurat said his area is rich with big bass, but the abundance of food — a typical postspawn priority — is making them difficult to catch. Competing with nature’s seasonal buffet is always challenging, but Przekurat said lure selection is not his only consideration.
“Baits don’t matter; it’s all about time of day and when the wind picks up,” he said. “This morning, I couldn’t do anything wrong. I’d throw (a bait) in there and they’d bite it.”
An early wind blowing onto his spot also benefitted Przekurat’s effort.
“Once it slicked off, it got really hard to get a bite,” he said. “This morning, when we turned the corner (out of the river), all of a sudden the wind was blowing. When I got there, it was instantly bang, bang, bang.
“Once 10 o’clock came around, it got really tough. They’d follow a bait down, look at it, touch it, but they wouldn’t bite it. I probably had 50 fish that did that. You could try every bait in the house, but you’re not going to get a bite.”
Przekurat said he enjoyed a good morning bite, but the midday doldrums tested his patience. The afternoon saw a resurgence, but Przekurat made a strategic decision to relocate.
“I got out of there because I wanted to start making my way back at noon,” he said. “I actually have another area where I caught a 5 1/2 and a 4 1/2 by 12:30.
“That’s my secondary area that I was going to save, but I had to go to it today. I was only at, like, 23 pounds and I knew I needed to get up there again.”
After boosting his bag in that second spot, Przekurat started making his way back to the weigh-in site. He made a stop in the St. Lawrence River and missed a final upgrade opportunity when a 5-pounder bit but came unbuttoned.
Johnston, who makes his home in Cavan, Canada, added 24-5 to the 26-3 he weighed on Day 1 and gained a spot from third to second, with a two-day total of 50-8. Johnston, winner of last year’s Bassmaster Northern Open on the St. Lawrence River, started his day fishing familiar spots on Lake Ontario.
“I ran straight to the lake and then I finished off in the river today,” Johnston said. “I just had some specific spots in the lake I wanted to get to before other guys got to them.
“I have a lot of spots in the lake that I haven’t even gotten to. I don’t know what I (might be) saving, because I don’t know what’s on a lot of them.”
Johnston said the fishery currently has fish in spawning and prespawn mode, so he’s leveraging both options. He threw a wide array of finesse presentations and caught his limit on several different baits.
Austin Felix of Eden Prairie, Minn., has turned in a remarkably consistent performance by matching the 25-pound bag he weighed on Day 1 exactly on Day 2 for an even 50-pound total. Despite his success, Felix said he’s planning to adjust his game plan for Day 3.
“I’ve been starting shallower each day because I figured the shallow fish would be heartier and I wouldn’t have to worry as much about fish care,” Felix said. “But it seems like the shallower fish are not as far along in the spawn, so they’re actually weaker.
“I’ve been culling out most of my bag with deep fish, so tomorrow I think I’m just going to go straight to the deep fish.”
Noting that he’s fishing a group of islands south of the river mouth, Felix threw drop shots and Ned rigs in 25 to 40 feet. He mostly targeted rock spines, high spots and sandy spots he had marked in previous tournaments.
Kyle Welcher of Opelika, Ala., is in the lead for the Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the week with a 6-12. Arkansas pro Stetson Blaylock took the $1,000 daily prize for catching Friday’s biggest bass with a 6-11.
Jacob Foutz of Charleston, Tenn., led the event on Day 1 with five bass that weighed 27-15 — a total that is currently in the lead for the VMC Monster Bag. Foutz caught 20-2 on Friday and fell to 10th with 48-1.
Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, leads the Progressive Insurance Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings with 618 points. John Cox of DeBary, Fla., is in second with 561, followed by David Mullins of Mt. Carmel, Tenn., with 555, Brandon Lester of Fayetteville, Tenn., with 545 and Drew Benton of Blakey, Ga., with 526.
Foutz leads the Falcon Rods Rookie of the Year standings with 461 points, followed by Przekurat (455), Cody Huff of Ava, Mo., with 392, Joseph Webster of Hamilton, Ala., with 386 and Josh Douglas of Isle, Minn., with 348.
Saturday’s takeoff is scheduled for 7 a.m. ET at the Antique Boat Museum. The weigh-in will be held at the museum at 3 p.m. Only the Top 10 anglers will advance to Championship Sunday with a chance to win the $100,000 first-place prize.
Coverage will be available on Bassmaster.com and the FOX Sports digital platforms. FS1 will also broadcast live with the tournament leaders beginning at 8 a.m.
The Bassmaster Elite at St Lawrence River is being hosted by Jefferson County in cooperation with the 1000 Islands Clayton Chamber of Commerce.
2022 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2022 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Progressive Insurance, Ranger Boats, Rapala, Skeeter Boats, Yamaha
2022 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: AFTCO, Daiwa, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Marathon, Strike King, Triton Boats, VMC
2022 Bassmaster Conservation Partners: AFTCO, Yamaha Rightwaters
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