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Of the 102 high school and college teams that participated in the no entry fee, prize rich Quantum Next Generation Open event on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake, crankbaits were among the most popular choice of lures. And whether cast into shallow muddy water uplake, or dredged deep in the southern end’s clearer water, treble hooked diving plugs of both varieties eventually proved victorious.  

The high school team of Noah and Micah Belt caught the highest winning weight overall with 17 pounds 8 ounces using Tennessee Shad colored shallow diving sqaurebill crankbaits tied to 12-pound Seaguar line. 

“This is incredible. What an awesome event! Our family drove three hours up here to Grand from home, and rented a house on the lake to have sort of a vacation around the tournament, and to win is just unbelievable,” says Noah Belt, whose dad Lloyd served as their boat captain.  

In great contrast, the highest winning weight posted by a college team was 13 pounds 8 ounces from much deeper cleaner water by Blaine Timonera and Colton Harper of the University of Oklahoma, who caught their fish in nearly 20-feet of water on a Strike King 6XD crankbait. 

 

This fast growing event begins Saturday evening with a registration meeting featuring truckloads of free pizza, a chance to visit with pro angler Matt Lee, and a pitching contest. And by its conclusion on Sunday, nearly every team walks away with incredible prizes from Carhartt, Costa, Garmin, Honey Creek Tackle Store, Lowrance, PowerPole, Plano, Yamaha, and Quantum.  

“As somebody who came up through the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series, it just blows my mind how incredible the prizes are at this event, and the whole thing is just so well run and organized. It’s just awesome,” says Matt Lee. 

The large team of Zebco Brands employees who graciously volunteer to organize this popular event are already making plans for the 2019 edition of the fast-growing tournament, and encourage all young anglers to follow Quantum.Fishing on Instagram for more details. 

  Alan McGuckin

Posted By Balay Hartman

J-Proz” previews AOY at Lake Chatuge

September 18, 2018 12:00:00 AM EDT

The 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series season concludes this week with the crowning of a Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Champion on gorgeous Lake Chatuge Reservoir in the ountains of Northern Georgia, on the North Carolina border.

 It’s a small body of water where the Elites have never competed previously. But Quantum pro Jacob Powroznik who has had one heck of a year, and sits inside the Top 10 of the prestigious season-long points race, graciously helps fans grow a little more familiar with the postcard perfect patch of water with a deep Cherokee heritage.

 

 Q: Jacob, paint a picture for angling fans to give them a feel for how Chatuge sets up as a bass fishery.

 J-Proz: It’s surrounded by mountains and it’s awesome looking. The water is pretty clear, but not super clear. There will be guys who fish in a wide range of water depths here. The surface temp is still hot at 82 degrees; so it’s pretty much a summer pattern, with a lot of surface schooling activity as largemouth and spotted bass chase both shad and blueback herring.

 Q: Tell us about the structure and habitat.

 J-Proz: Man, you’ve got tons of red clay points, plus brushpiles, and docks. It’s gonna be “all out, game on” – guys will be running around doing a variety of things from really shallow, to pretty deep.

 Q: This reservoir is a really pretty place, but it’s only 7,000 surface acres, which is very small compared to most Elite Series playing fields, will pros be crowded, or is there plenty of water for everybody?

 J-Proz: Nah, it’s gonna be crowded. Here’s the deal, I can run my Ranger from one end of Chatuge to the other in about 8 minutes, but it does have plenty of shoreline habitat to cast at in between.

 Q: Compare this reservoir to places where the Elite Series has fished before.

 J-Proz: It looks a lot like Lake Martin in Alabama where we kicked-off this season way back in February. And it shows a little bit of resemblance to Buggs Island where B.A.S.S. used to go back in the day.

 Q: Rattle of a list of lures we’ll see pros throwing this week on Chatuge.

J-Proz: Shaky Head, drop shot, topwater, and swimbaits

 Q: When the green flag drops on Thursday morning, how’s it going to fish?

 J-Proz: Well, it’s no secret that surface schooling activity is key here, especially early. So you’ll see guys pick-off a keeper or three, then maybe hit a lull for an hour or two, then go do something different and catch a couple more. It’ll be sort of wide-open. But I think 14 pounds a day here will get you a really high finish – and you might even win if you have 14 pounds a day. 

 

  Alan McGuckin

Posted By Lisa Adams

It’s easy to love Matt Lee

August 24, 2018 12:00:00 AM EDT

I knew the first time I borrowed Matt Lee’s bathroom inside the college rental home he shared with a handful of other anglers on Auburn’s campus that I was dealing with a special dude.

 Oh sure, there were empty pizza boxes on the kitchen counter, bass fishing posters stuck on the wall, and copies of Bassmaster Magazine tossed on the coffee table, but just beyond the upper level engineering text books in his bedroom, were Post-it notes stuck to his bathroom mirror. They contained Bible verses the 2013 Carhartt College Series Bassmaster Classic qualifier had written to remind himself how his young life should be best lived.

 That was nearly six years ago, and I’ve had the good fortune of working with Matt Lee ever since. So seeing him vault to the top of the Bassmaster Elite Series leaderboard here on the St. Lawrence River with a nearly 28 pound limit of record-setting smallmouth became special on a personal level.

 Frankly, the dude is easy to cheer for. He loves Jesus. Still makes notes of his Bible readings. Holds dual engineering degrees from Auburn. Wears Carhartt britches. Fishes with Quantum reels. Tows with a cool Toyota Tundra. And he love, loves, loves to pick on me. I mean straight-up makes fun of me, right to my face.

 The guy is a class act and a joy to work with. He always returns texts and emails. He grants fantastic, articulate interviews. Heck, he knows more about the science of social media than 83% of the marketing folks I know. Maybe 84%.

 Plus, he has a smoking hott new wife with an RN degree, who might be smarter than him. His in-laws think he invented the Internet, ranch dressing, and fantasy football. And amid his convictions, still lives a man willing to drink a 96-calorie beer and sing Kenny Chesney’s, “Flora-Bama” aloud in a really bad harmony.

 All that while constantly wearing an insulin pump strapped to his hip. “It’s really not a big deal when you think of the way worse problems other people have,” he’ll tell you about the pump.

 See why I love the guy? And I’m not the only one. Just ask bass fishing’s funniest man, 2-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year, Gerald Swindle about Matt Lee.

 “Let me tell you something about Matt – he may be the shortest Elite Series pro on tour, but along with Terry Scroggins, he may have the biggest heart out here too,” says Swindle. “And as an angler, Matt is underrated, overshadowed, and deadly. He’s a freakin genius when it comes to using his electronics,” warned Swindle en route to a boat launch port-a-john with a pocket full of Dude Wipes just before Day 2 blast off.

 Heck, even Matt Lee’s mother-in-law loves him. “If I’d have tried to find a better man to marry our daughter Abby, I’ll promise ya, I’d have messed the whole thing up,” grins Cindy Myrex, a real estate agent on gorgeous Smith Lake, Alabama. “Matt is very genuine. He puts God first in he and Abby’s new marriage. He’s fun no matter what we’re doing as a family. There’s no drama with Matt Lee. I tell Abby if she ever decides to leave him – I’m staying with Matt,” she laughs.

 But this week, everybody is together in Waddington. Cindy actually flew into Syracuse from Northern Alabama just in time to see her son-in-law soar to the top of the Day 1 leaderboard.

 Now all she can do is keep Abby from looking at BASSTrakk dozens of times each day, and take comfort knowing that a lot of people are cheering for Matt, who believes as much as all of us that his life is under the guidance of something way bigger than a smallmouth’s willingness to bite his drop shot rig.

 Just check his Post-it notes. 

 

  Alan McGuckin

Tags:

Posted By Lisa Adams

As a tight end for the Dixie Hornets in rural South Carolina, 2015 Bassmaster Classic Champ Casey Ashley didn’t get to touch the ball much.

 “We ran the wishbone all the time, so my job was to block,” says Ashley. “Every team in the county knew what play we were gonna run next, but the tough part was stopping us.”

 After two full days of practice at the 2018 Huk Bassmaster Elite on the St. Lawrence River separating New York and Canada, Casey has already had his hand on several footballs -- big, fat, bronze colored footballs with fins, better known as smallmouth bass.

 “I ain’t gonna lie, I’ve already touched a handful of smallies over 4-pounds, and I think a whole bunch of other pros probably have too,” grinned Ashley. “I actually think the fish have gotten bigger on the St. Lawrence since we competed here last summer.”

 The Quantum pro had no problem putting his guitar picking paws around a Wilson football on the shores of the Chippewa Bay boat ramp, however, getting ahold of the St. Lawrence’s beefy smallmouth has been far more challenging.

 

 

 “I’ll put it to you this way, there were a few fish I tried to grab here in practice that were way too strong, and way too thick to get a handle on. You may not catch tons of fish here, but I’ll promise you, when you get a bite, there’s a real good chance it’ll be a ‘football’.”

In much the same way the Dixie Hornets didn’t disguise their offensive tendencies, Ashley doesn’t hide his love of the St. Lawrence River.

 “I love this place, because even though I consider here and Lake St. Clair to be the two greatest smallmouth fisheries we compete on, this place also offers some pretty strong largemouth fishing too,” says Ashley.

 Last year, Ashley notched a Top 12 here with a mixed bag of smallmouth and largemouth. Now, with four Quantum size 30 spinning reels and nine baitcasting reels on the front deck, it’s obvious he’s sampling a wide range of the diverse habit offerings on this primary shipping channel connecting the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean.

 And as for Ashley’s favorite high school football memory from back in 2002… well, that’s pretty clear too. “We beat a team nobody thought we could. They were our archrival, Calhoun Falls, and they had a running quarterback we nicknamed ‘White Shoes’ – man, that sucker was fast,” grinned Ashley, still shaking his head with admiration 16 years later.

 Maybe even faster than a 5-pound St. Lawrence “football” screaming drag from a spinning reel on 7-pound test, perhaps. 

 

  Alan McGuckin

Posted By Lisa Adams

 Alabama anglers Matt Lee and Gerald Swindle are facing the same flooded and muddy Upper Chesapeake Bay as 106 other Bassmaster Elite Series pros, but on the eve of competition, both offered an admirable attitude of perseverance, and a bit of humor too.

 

 Q: What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen floating in the floodwaters this week?

 Matt Lee: I made a few pitches at a PetSmart shopping cart.

Swindle: I saw a matching set of tires and rims, and you can bet I checked to see if they’d fit on my Toyota Tundra.

 

 

Q: What is one tip you can give fans at home for fishing high, muddy water?

 Matt Lee: Look for places where strong current forms an eddy in shallow water to cast your lure.

Swindle: Make your mind like an Etch A Sketch, start with a clear screen in your head every day. Don’t get mentally rattled about how bad the conditions are. Just keep moving.

 

Q: Name three lures we can expect to see the Elite Series pros use a bunch this week?

 Matt Lee: Spinnerbait, ChatterBait, and a Strike King Rage Cut-R worm.

Swindle: Green pumpkin Chatterbait, spinnerbait, and a black/blue Chatterbait.

  

Q: How much weight will an angler have to average each day to make the Top 12 cut on the final day here on the Upper Chesapeake?

 Matt Lee: 12.8 pounds per day

Swindle: 11 pounds per day

  

Q: Have you eaten any of the Chesapeake Bay’s famous blue crabs this week?

 Matt Lee: I have not, because my wife Abby is highly allergic to shellfish. But I love seafood, so maybe I can talk her into leaving a day earlier than me, and I’ll stay here and hammer down on some blue crabs.

Swindle: I have not, but Lulu made us some shrimp tacos the other night that were awesome!

 

  Alan McGuckin

Posted By Lisa Adams

 The Kiefer, Oklahoma Bass Fishing Team of Jeremy Tolle and Garrett Hale competed against 766 other young anglers through three hot days of mid-summer fishing on Pickwick Lake near Florence, Alabama before the field was cut to 31 teams for the final round, when they brought a massive 23 pound 9 ounce limit to the scales to win the TBF Student Angler Federation’s High School Bass Fishing World Championship.

 The likeable and talented young men caught their big 5-fish limit of largemouth, including a nearly 8-pound bass that vaulted them to victory, using Quantum S3 PT reels and a homemade green pumpkin/black 3/4-ounce football jig around shell beds located on Tennessee River channel ledges in 18 to 25’ of water. Tolle made the jig himself, and said they only had three left by tournament’s end.

 

 

 

 

“I make my own jigs because it allows me to show the fish some different skirt colors they may not be used to seeing, and it saves me money,” says Tolle, who has been obsessed with bass fishing since he was old enough to hold a rod and reel. “The really heavy 3/4-ounce jig allowed us to remain in contact with the shell beds on the bottom, and cause the kind of disturbance those big fish seemed to love.”

 Long casts, smooth retrieves, and speedy line pick-up were key to covering long stretches of river channel ledges, and Quantum’s new Smoke S3 PT reel in a 7.3:1 ratio SM100HPT served as the perfect tool according to Tolle’s teammate Garrett Hale. “That reel just casts so smoothly, and it’s a super dependable reel too,” says Hale.

 Along with two really tall trophies, the passion-rich high schoolers hauled home a variety of prizes in their boat captain Jeff Tolle’s Toyota Tundra along the 9-hour drive back home to Oklahoma, including large flat screen televisions, a Lowrance sonar/GPS unit, and $56,000 in scholarship offers from West Tennessee’s Bethel University should they choose to attend college there, and be a part of the tradition-rich Bethel Bass Fishing Team.

 For now, Tolle is calling the recent victory the best moment of his young life, and celebrating all the goodness of competitive high school fishing. “In high school bass fishing, you don’t have to worry about trying to win back your entry fees. You can just go fishing, have fun, get to know other anglers, and there are lots of cool opportunities that come from having a successful tournament.”

 Tolle is right, as he and Hale suddenly find themselves receiving a great deal of media attention, and even autograph requests from anglers barely younger than they are. Indeed it’s good to be a high school bass fishing world champion. 

 

  Alan McGuckin

Posted By Lisa Adams

 

Casey Ashley caught a solid limit amid Thursday’s sweltering heat to sit near the top of the leaderboard. The always easy-going 2015 Bassmaster Classic Champ took a minute prior to Friday’s launch to talk about Lake Travis, Toyota Trucks, swimbaits, and even a mention of Texas native Willie Nelson.

  

 

 

 

 

  

Q: What was the biggest surprise amid Day 1 of competition here at Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest to benefit Texas Parks and Wildlife Department?

 Casey: The biggest surprise was that I actually caught a decent limit, because while you may catch 100 fish a day here, the randomness of catching a big one is truly an unknown.

 

 Q: Your biggest fish yesterday was a 4 pound 5 ounce largemouth. How did you catch it?

 Casey: I caught it on one of my absolute all time favorite lures – a green pumpkin Zoom trick worm rigged on a Casey Ashley Shaky Head from Greenfish Tackle.

  

Q: This week’s tournament is title sponsored by Toyota, and you’ve bought a bunch of Tundras. How many Toyota Tundras have you owned throughout your Elite Series career?

 Casey: I’ve bought five Tundras, and my daddy has bought two as well - so seven Tundras total between the two of us.

  

Q: You’re a music man. You recorded a demo CD in Nashville a few years back, and you’ve sang the National Anthem on a handful of occasions before blast-off at an Elite Series tournament. What song is stuck in your head this morning?

 Casey: Kenny Chesney’s “Lucky Old Sun” – which is pretty fitting for the hot weather we’re having here, and the fact it features Texas native Willie Nelson singing along with Kenny.

  

Q: Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest helps raise money that Texas Parks and Wildlife uses to fund urban youth fishing initiatives. You have a youth angler of your own – a 5-year-old son named Troy. Tell us about fishing with him?

 Casey: I’ve learned from taking Troy fishing that size and species don’t matter. It’s all about getting a bite. And still there are times when I can be catching one crappie after another, and he’ll still lose interest. So when they tell you they’re done, don’t make them stay, or you’ll ruin the experience.

 I will say here at Lake Travis would be a great place to take a kid fishing, because there’s so many fish in here. I’d just tie on a little 3” swimbait for him, and let him cast and wind it on a Zebco reel. And as many little 12 to 13” bass that swim here – I’ll promise ya he’d have a real good chance of catching one. 

 

  Alan McGuckin

Posted By Lisa Adams

Two of professional bass fishing’s classiest guys, Matt Lee, who is getting married in 16 days, and Kevin VanDam who has been married for 26 years, gladly took a break from the 95-degree sunshine in Central Texas to sit in the shade and answer a few questions about this week’s Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest to Benefit Texas Parks and Wildlife Department that starts Thursday on Lake Travis.

  

Q: Lake Travis is super healthy and full of fish. What’s the most number of bass you caught in a single practice day here this week?

 Matt Lee: 30

 KVD: 75

 Q: Name two lures we’ll see Elite Series pros slinging on Lake Travis to try to catch a big fish that will go a long way in separating themselves from the pack?

 Matt Lee: Topwater and a swimbait

 KVD: Swimbait and a big creature bait

  Q: There’s a lot of clear water on Lake Travis. Will the front deck of your boat be more full of Quantum spinning reels, or baitcasting reels?

 Matt Lee: An equal mix

 KVD: Just about even.

 Q: When the scales stop spinning after Day 1 – how much weight would you guess the guy sitting in 20th place will have?

 Matt Lee: 16 pounds

 KVD: 16 pounds

 Q: The hilarious and talented B.A.S.S. photographer, James Overstreet wants to know, if you could only eat one species of fish, what would it be?

 Matt Lee: walleye

 KVD: yellow perch from the Great Lakes region 

 

  Alan McGuckin

Posted By Lisa Adams

  The famous yellow mustard flowers are blooming around the banks at Kentucky Lake this week at the Bassmaster Elite, and that means the bass should be biting.

 Straight-shooting veteran anglers Greg Hackney and Jacob Powroznik preview the event that begins Friday and concludes on Monday near Paris, TN in Henry County.

 Q: Before we dive into this week’s event at Kentucky Lake, let’s flashback to a great Elite Series event at Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees in Oklahoma a few days ago. What’s your best memory from that event?

 Hackney: Watching Kevin VanDam win his 25th tournament on Bassmaster LIVE. Because here’s the deal, I’m not just a pro angler, I’m a huge fan of our sport, and that was pretty amazing to watch.

Powroznik: The second cast of the second day – I caught a 5 pound 10 ounce beast.

 

 

 

Q: Will this tournament at Kentucky Lake be won deeper or shallower than 5-feet of water?

 Hackney: Shallower

Powroznik: Shallower

 Q: We’ve been to Kentucky Lake many times. How is this week’s Kentucky Lake different that recent stops here?

 Hackney: Mostly that we’re here at a totally different time of year. We’ve always been here in post-spawn before. But the weather forecast is a great one, and that’s all you can ask for.

Powroznik: It’s a lot tougher. I’m not getting many bites compared to years past.

 Q: What will the toughest part of this tournament?

 Hackney: Surviving the long grind between bites. But don’t get me wrong – the bass still live here.

Powroznik: Getting five keeper bites a day.

 Q: How much weight will you need to average daily to make the Top 12 cut?

 Hackney: You’d better have 17 or 18 pounds a day.

Powroznik: 14 pounds a day. 

 

  Alan McGuckin

Posted By Lisa Adams

The limestone, sandstone, and dolomite beds that cradle Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees yielded a disappointing 11-pound limit for Casey Ashley on Day 1 of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite.

 But the diamond he presented to longtime girlfriend Kenzi Hartman, in front of her friends and family at her parent’s home just down Interstate-44 in Broken Arrow last weekend, provided the emotional equivalent of his 2015 Bassmaster Classic win.

 Grand Lake holds special significance to Casey and Kenzi. The first time they met one another was when the South Carolina pro traveled to the 2013 Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake to work for sponsors such as Triton, Costa, and Quantum at the Classic Outdoor Expo.

 It was one of the few Classics he’s failed to qualify for in his illustrious young career, but he netted a first date during the visit when Bob Bagby, a longtime marketing leader at Quantum, arranged for Casey to meet Kenzi, who Bagby knew through her former part time job at a local golf course.

 To say the first date went well, would be like saying Casey ain’t half bad at pitchin’ a jig. Six months after they met, Casey asked Kenzi to move from Northeast Oklahoma to be with him fulltime in South Carolina, and to travel the Bassmaster Elite Series tour with him.

 The Oklahoma State grad resigned a great job she had in sales, said a gut-wrenching goodbye to her parents and many close friends, and has been with Casey in South Carolina, and wherever the professional angling lifestyle takes them, ever since.

 For the last five years, romantic trips to the mountains, beaches and many other significant destinations passed without the marriage proposal every girl dreams of. “All those great times came and went, and he never proposed, so I really had no clue he would ask me to marry him at my parents last weekend, but it was absolutely perfect,” says Kenzi.

 “Rule #1 before any serious bass angler gives a girl a diamond ring is that she has to be a good cook, and she has to be able to back a boat trailer down a ramp. Kenzi can do both, and not only can she cook, but she’s a dang good cook,” says the Quantum pro.

 The other rule is no runny eggs. The 2015 Classic champ and country boy, who once recorded a demo CD in Nashville under the tutelage of highly accomplished songwriter and avid angler Rodney Clawson, refuses to eat eggs over easy. But Kenzi’s homemade chicken Alfredo … well, now … that’s the tall brunette’s very best dish according to Casey.

 Kenzi’s chicken Alfredo, Popeye’s spinach, General Mills’ Wheaties – whatever it takes to get Casey back in the hunt on the leaderboard – should probably be on the menu to make up for Casey’s small limit on Day 1.

 “Back home, you don’t even start to think about looking for bass on spawning beds until the water temp hits 60-degrees. So with the water being in the high 50s and dingy here, I went shallow crankin’ until late in the afternoon on Thursday when I saw two 3-pounders on a spawning bed, and I knew right then I had missed-out on how they were catchin ‘em here,” says Ashley.

 He mighta missed Grand Lake’s largemouth, but he’ll head east to the next Elite Series event at Kentucky Lake with one heckuva catch named Kenzi, and a diamond on her finger.

 

  

  Alan McGuckin

Posted By Lisa Adams

Matt Lee: Misplaced wallet and a lot of caffeine

April 26, 2018 12:00:00 AM EDT

Carhartt angler Matt Lee began the first day of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Grand Lake with scrambled eggs, low carb wheat toast, and black coffee in his 5th wheel RV, but soon realized on the dark drive to the Wolf Creek launch that he had misplaced his wallet, and had no way to stop at a convenient store for a bag of ice and the day’s supply of caffeine drinks.

 So at 5:37 a.m. he and fiancé Abby phoned a friend -- me.

 “Matt can’t find his wallet, we think it fell out of the grocery bag as we left the camper, and now we’re stuck in the boat launch line. So can we beg you to stop and buy us a black coffee, two sugar free Red Bulls, a bag of ice, and a honey bun with icing?”

 Of course, I obliged. First, because we take care of one another out here. And second, because I know Matt is a Type 1 diabetic who wears an insulin pump, and needs the proper blend of dietary fuel to make his body meet the demands of an energy-burning tournament day.

 

 Turns out the Honey Bun with icing was for Abby, but the caffeine was definitely for Matt. And ironically, Matt’s ride-along Marshall for the day is Susan Forbes, a dietician from nearby Neosho, MO hoping to garner some pointers for the Grand Challenge tournament she’s competing in next week.

 “He’s got a lot of quick energy and refined carbs, but not much fiber, so I don’t think we’ll have to worry about him having to use the restroom,” grinned Forbes.

 That’s good news. And so is the fact that Abby found Matt’s wallet upon returning to the RV after launch, as Matt made his way down lake to Duck Creek.

 “I didn’t have a real good practice, so I’m going to the one area where I feel like I can slow down, fish thoroughly, and catch some keepers,” says Lee.

 Hopefully, the Auburn grad with dual engineering degrees can continue his streak of Top 12 finishes this week. And one thing’s for certain, Abby will be waiting on the dock as he pulls into weigh-in, just as she does during every tournament day, with a sandwich he can eat immediately – and today, a once temporarily misplaced wallet too. 

  

  Alan McGuckin

Tags:

Posted By Lisa Adams

 Quantum pro Jacob Powroznik is a seasoned pro fishing in his fourth Bassmaster Classic, and he made a serious run at winning the Classic here on Lake Hartwell in 2015. Much the opposite, 19-year old Carhartt Bassmaster College Series Champ, Jacob “The Paperboy” Foutz is fishing his very first Classic.

  Despite their contrasting levels of experience, both anglers graciously took a moment to discuss their stress levels, lures that will be used, lake conditions, and more. 

 

Q: What’s your biggest concern or source of stress right now?

Powroznik: Trying to catch a 5-pounder, because a 5-pounder is a game changer here, and so far in practice I haven’t had my hands on one that big.

Foutz: The randomness of the bite. I’ve had bites in 6” of water, and I’ve had bites in 30-feet of water, but I’ve not seen a real defined pattern yet.

Q: What do you like best about Lake Hartwell?

Powroznik: It reminds me of Buggs Island Lake back home with all its red clay points and shoreline, and bass relate really well to that red clay at this time of year.

Foutz: It’s a really diverse fishery. You can fish deep near the dam, or run up the two rivers and fish shallow if you want.

Q: A lot of people say this Classic is anybody’s ballgame to win. Do you agree with that?

Powroznik: Yep, absolutely. Somebody is going to win this Classic that has absolutely no idea they’re going to win it right now.

Foutz: I agree with that. With water levels rising the fish have spread out more, and it’s a real possibility that somebody could stumble into the winning school of fish that may not be expecting to right now.

Q: What four lures can fans at home expect to see Bassmaster Classic competitors casting this week on Lake Hartwell?

Powroznik: Jerkbaits, Shaky Heads, a jig, and a crankbait that will run about 4-feet deep like a Livingston 2.0.

Foutz: Jig, Shaky Head, jerkbaits and spinnerbaits.

Q: How much weight will an angler have to average each day to leave this Classic with a Top 10 finish?

Powroznik: 13 pounds a day should get a Top 10 here.

Foutz: I’d say between 12 and 14 pounds a day.

  

  Alan McGuckin

Posted By Lisa Adams
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