Mercury pro Jacob Powroznik wins Toledo Bend B.A.S.S. Elite Event
May 05, 2014
MANY, La. – Every bass an angler weighs at the highest level of tournament competition is critical to his success, but for Mercury pro Jacob Powroznik, two fish in particular made the difference between a Top 10 finish, and walking away from the Evan Williams Bourbon Bassmaster Elite Series event at Toledo Bend Reservoir with a championship trophy: his biggest fish of the tournament, and the fish he caught on his last cast.
Powroznik, an Elite Series rookie from Prince George, Va., hooked the biggest largemouth of the final day – a 7-pound, 13-ouncer – midway through Championship Sunday, and then upgraded his total catch with a 5-pound “miracle fish” with a minute left in his fishing time to bring 19 pounds, 11 ounces to the scales. “J-Proz” (as B.A.S.S. emcee Dave Mercer dubbed him) finished the four-day event with 79 pounds, 12 ounces to sneak past fellow Mercury pro Chad Morgenthaler (77-6), Randall Tharp (76-10), Mark Davis (74-7) and Casey Ashley (73-12) for his first Elite win, and a check for $100,000.
Powroznik’s victory guarantees him a berth in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic, and propels him into fourth place in the Angler of the Year standings.
“I guess I was blessed with a couple of miracle fish,” joked Powroznik, who entered the final day trailing Toledo Bend veteran Dean Rojas by nearly 3 pounds. “I had never fished Toledo Bend before, but right when I got here, I realized that this lake set up really well for me and I could do what I do best and compete pretty well. It’s funny how a tournament can boil down to one or two fish, though.”
To go one step further, Powroznik caught his most important fish of the tournament – his 7-13 – on a bait that he rarely throws. After racking up several pounds a day by throwing a shallow-running jerkbait for the first two hours of each day, Powroznik fished the rest of the tournament tight to the banks, flipping a red/black Berkley Power Craw to bedding fish. On Sunday, though, J-Proz agonized for a major part of the mid-afternoon over the big 7-plus-pound female, who simply had no interest in the Power Craw.
So he threw her a curve.
“My buddy David Dudley (the most winning angler in FLW history) and I joke all the time about throwing white baits,” Powroznik said. “I almost NEVER flip with a white bait – it’s usually either green pumpkin or something black with maybe a little red in it. That fish wouldn’t react to the Power Craw, so I figured I’d try something different. I searched around my boat for quite a while to even find a white bait, but as soon as I flipped that thing up there, she sucked it right in.”
J-Proz’s last fish, a 5-pounder that he had fished to with no success earlier in the day, came in similarly miraculous fashion. Powroznik had gone back to the fish to try to upgrade a 2 ½-pounder, and literally stretched his fishing time to the last few seconds of the day before the fish reacted.
“I had flipped up into the bed, and then walked back to my Lowrance to find out what time it was,” Powroznik said. “I told my marshal ‘This is my last chance right here, if she doesn’t bite right now, she’s not going to.’ When I got back up to the front deck, I could see that she had nosed right up on that bait. I gave it a little twitch and ‘slurp!’.”
Powroznik’s victory guarantees him a berth in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic, and propels him into fourth place in the Toyota Angler of the Year standings.
NOTES: Powroznik and Morgenthaler sit 1-2 in Rookie of the Year standings with 327 and 321 points, respectively. Powroznik now moves on to the Toyota Texas Bass Classic at Lake Fork in Texas, a lake that he says “Sets up really well for me.” Four of the top seven anglers in the event (Powroznik, Morgenthaler, Ashley and Skeet Reese) run Mercury outboards.