At just 23 years of age, Wisconsin native Jay Przekurat has already made quite the name for himself. During the 2022 Bassmaster Elite Series season, Przekurat not only won himself a Rookie of the Year title, but also became the youngest Elite Series champion to date, setting a record for the largest four-day smallmouth bass weight B.A.S.S. has ever seen on the St. Lawrence River. As Przekurat looks back on his magical rookie season, he shares his 5 biggest takeaways and pieces of advice from the past year.
TOUGH COMPETITION AT THE PRO LEVEL
As people may expect, fishing on the Bassmaster Elite Series isn’t exactly easy. A young and wide-eyed Przekurat quickly learned just how difficult it actually is to compete on bass fishing’s biggest stage. “These guys catch them every single time…”, Przekurat says. It truly is a mental battle when it comes to this high of stakes, something Przekurat was able to adapt to and overcome in an incredibly short amount of time during his rookie year.
FISHING CONSERVATIVE VS. SWINGING FOR THE FENCES
Przekurat’s strategy to begin the year was to fish conservatively and try to cash checks. By the third tournament of the year, Przekurat realized that 15 pounds a day wasn’t going to cut it. Knowing when to move on from average size fish and try to put a kicker in the boat is extremely important to Przekurat’s gameplan.
The number one key for Przekurat throughout his rookie season was maintaining confidence. Going to new bodies of water can be a challenge. He says that staying true to what you know will give you the confidence to get bites in tough situations. For Przekurat, a dropshot, flipping jig, and bladed jig are staples that he was able to carry over and apply to different fisheries around the country.
LIFE ON THE ROAD
Living in Wisconsin, Przekurat had to travel south for the bulk of the tournament season. He says that having a travel partner helped soften the blow on both the financial and mental side of being on the road. When spending this much time away, knowing your equipment is crucial. As a part-time auto mechanic, Przekurat has learned to not only rig his own boat, but also perform a bulk of the work on his truck. Understanding the ins and outs of his gear helps Przekurat stay up and running if/when things may go sideways.
THE IMPACT OF SPONSORS
For Przekurat, sponsors are everything. “Without them, you really cannot fish the Elite Series.” He says that giving back is key. Helping out and promoting on social media are just a few of the things Przekurat says grows your relationship with a company and betters your odds of continuing fishing at the professional level.