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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

 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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VanDam Brings Powroznik Plastic Eels

July 20, 2016 12:00:00 AM EDT

Kevin VanDam brought plastic eels to the Bassmaster Bracket event in Buffalo that Jacob Powroznik could use for cobia fishing back home in the Chesapeake Bay, but first, “J Pow” decided to cast them at muskies while on the Niagara River.

 “Right after the Bassmaster Elite tournament on the Upper Chesapeake Bay last summer, Jacob was kind enough to host Sherry, my sons and I at his house to fish for cobia on the southern portion of the Chesapeake, and he guided us to three really good fish using live eels for bait,” remembers VanDam. “The one my son Nicholas caught was over 50-pounds, it was a blast!”

“So a few months ago, when I was working the annual store promotion my brother hosts at D & R Sports, I saw these eels that one of the tackle sales reps brought, and knowing how much Jacob loves to chase cobia, I had to get a couple for him,” says VanDam.

 VanDam never dreamed when he hauled the super long soft plastic gifts to Buffalo that Powroznik would tie one on during the B.A.S.S. bracket event, but Powroznik is already a shoe-in for the 2017 Bassmaster Classic, so he’s feeling no pressure on the Niagara, and besides, he’s never caught a muskie.

 “They say there’s some big ol musky swimming here, so why not take a shot at one?” challenged Powroznik, who spooled 65 pound braided line to a Quantum reel and flippin’ stick with hopes of landing what many call ‘the fish of 10,000 casts’ because of their elusiveness.

 “I swear if Jacob could make a living catching cobia, he would – he loves it that much - it was fun watching him hunt for them last summer,” says VanDam.

 “That’s exactly why I love it – cobia fishing combines sight fishing and hunting – you see them, you study their behavior – then you try to hook them – and they fight like crazy – it’s the best of all the things I love in the outdoors,” says Powroznik, one of the world’s best sight fishing anglers during the spawn, who works as a waterfowl guide in the offseason.

 “I still remember the first time I caught a cobia,” says Powroznik. “We had been out flounder fishing, and I spotted a cobia just under the surface, next to a giant buoy. I made a cast to him, and sure enough he bit. That fish changed my life. Before long I was out buying a boat with a tower on it, so I could see them better.”

 While Powroznik’s chances of catching a musky while in Buffalo are slim, his place in the 2017 Bassmaster Classic, and his plans for later this week are certain – he’s going cobia fishing. 

  

Alan McGuckin

 

Posted By Lisa Adams

Surrounded by humid and competitive-rich air prior to blast-off, Jacob Powroznik sat calmly cleaning his polarized sunglasses in the pre-dawn darkness of 6:30 a.m. on Northeast Florida’s St. Johns River.

 A brand new Bassmaster Elite Series Season was about to begin, and even dogs, women, and children who lined the dock, seemed to know the day ahead would be centered on spawning bass.

 “It’s no secret a lot of us are about to run 35 minutes and crowd into that famous spawning flat on Lake George. And while we all have great equipment, the guys that will catch ‘em the best are the ones that can slow down and stay mentally focused,” says Powroznik.

 “Proof of what I’m saying is in the results of guys like Dean Rojas and Alton Jones – they seem to catch them every time we come to Florida, because they know that even though they maybe surrounded by a crowd of other great anglers, if they put their mental blinders on, keep their heads down, and keep lookin’ for five good catchable bass – eventually they’ll catch what they need. And that’s just it – you only need 5 – and you have all day to get ‘em,” explains Powroznik.

 Rojas and Jones are for sure among the best spawning bass anglers in the game, but Powroznik has also proven himself as one of the very best at the visually oriented technique too – and he proved it with his 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series victory on Toledo Bend that centered on bedding fish.

 The good-hearted Virginia pro offers these tips for anglers interested in improving their sight fishing skills.

 What To Look For:  “On lakes with lots of vegetation, you’re looking for holes in the thick grass – and then light spots on the bottom of the lake below those holes in the grass,” says Powroznik. “In Florida, where the water is so dark or tannic colored, like tea-colored, the beds on the bottom look sort of gold or orange.”

 Quality Sunglasses and the Right Colored Lenses: “Buy quality sunglasses, and if you can possibly afford it, buy two pair – one with green mirror lenses for bright sunny days – and on cloudy days, I wear a lens color that Costa makes called “sunrise” – that particular lens is a game changer to seeing bedding fish on cloudy days or under low light really early in the morning,” says Powroznik.

 Supersticks and Power-Poles: “Hydraulic Power-Poles are shallow water anchors that you see on the back of every pro’s boat – and they have absolutely revolutionized the way we’re able to fish for bedding bass by allowing us to keep the boat positioned exactly where we want in relation to the bass,” says Powroznik. “And by using a Superstick push pole to move along a shallow area, I can avoid using the trolling motor, which will spook a lot of bass.”

 Tackle for Bedding Fish: “I use spinning tackle if bass are super finicky and I need to cast lighter lures, but around thick cover, and for the most part, I’ll pitch Texas-rigged plastics on a 7’ 6” Smoke rod, with 65-pound Hi Seas braid spooled on a really fast 8.1:1 Quantum Smoke reel. You need all the speed you can get in the fraction of a second you have to close the deal when a bedding fish finally commits to eat your lure.”  

  

Alan McGuckin

 

Posted By Lisa Adams

Quantum’s TourMg magnesium reel is the brand’s lightest reel ever for under $300, but its little 5.4-ounce body was hugely instrumental to Casey Ashley reeling in 50 pounds of bass, the 35-pound Bassmaster Classic trophy, and $300,000.

“The school of fish that I won on at Hartwell were really skittish, and if I got the boat too close to them, or over top of them, they wouldn’t bite,” explained Ashley. “So I had to make extremely long casts to catch them, and that’s why a super-high quality reel that’s so light and smooth-casting like our TourMg was critical.”

Not only were the fish shy, but they were also extremely deep, cold, and slow to react in Hartwell’s frigid waters. “My winning lure was a 3/8-ounce homemade horsehead spinner that my dad made.Quantum EXO I was barely creeping it along the bottom on 10-pound line in 40’ of water with the 6.3:1 TourMg on a real sensitive 7’ medium action Smoke rod. And at times, I’d use a 5.3:1 EXO reel. I used slower gear ratios to help me retrieve it as slow as possible,” explained Ashley.

Casey’s newest Quantum team member, Bassmaster Rookie of the Year, Jacob Powroznik, finished 5th and actually warned of the Tour Mg’s potential goodness the week before the Classic started. “It’s going be super cold, so we’ll be wearing a ton of clothes, which makes you appreciate holding a reel all day that only weighs 5.4 ounces and casts like a bullet,” said “J Proz”.

Quantum EXOThere’s nothing cold about Quantum in recent months. Greg Hackney was quick to credit the advantage of fishing with oversized EXO 200 and 300 reels in the wake of earning his current Bassmaster Angler of the Year crown, factor in Powroznik’s Rookie of the Year title, and Casey Ashley’s Classic win, and there’s no arguing Quantum is home to fishing’s hottest brand of high-quality rods and reels.

Posted By TJ Gamble

The Bassmaster Classic has no entry fee, but Virginia pro Jacob Powroznik spent $395 to improve his chances at its $300,000 first place prize. No, “J-Proz” didn’t spend it on fishing tackle; he spent it trying to stay warm.

A nearly frozen wet precipitation was falling in the Bassmaster Classic boat yard as Powroznik unpacked from a shopping trip to a local outdoor retailer. His nearly four-hundred-dollar haul included a portable propane heater, wool neck gaiter, wool socks, three pairs of gloves, a pile of peel n’ stick body warmers, and six bottles of propane for assurance that he won’t run out.

“The heater buddy alone was $154, but I figure it’ll be well worth it, not just in the tournament, but out here working on tackle in the boat yard too,” said Powroznik.

If meteorologists are right, Powroznik is going to need all the propane he can get. This will likely be the coldest Bassmaster Classic in history. Forecasted sunrise temperatures for Day One of competition on Friday are for around 10 degrees, and the high temp on Friday is supposed to be well … freezing … 32 degrees.

While weather will be as much the headline as the fishing this week, Powroznik doesn’t seem fazed by it. “I duck hunt 60 days each winter around the Rappahannock River in Virginia, so I’m extremely used to cold weather,” said the burly 5’ 10”, 279-pound, Bassmaster Rookie of the Year. “The key is to keep your hands warm, and your neck warm, and that neck gaiter is a really key deal,” he added.

“I think the thing that worries me most about this Classic is not the weather, but instead, somebody randomly finding the mother load school of potentially winning fish,” said Powroznik, citing that on reservoirs like Hartwell, where blue back herring are the predominant baitfish, that unpredictable feeding and schooling occurs.

As far as lures he thinks will dominate this cold weather derby, the man who is built like a fullback or pulling guard is thinking football. “I’m not saying it’s going to be the winning lure, but if I had to pick three or four lures that nearly everybody in this tournament will have tied on, I’d say a football jig, a football jig, a football jig, and a football jig,” joked Powroznik, who actually had one Quantum EXO reel rigged with a vertical jigging spoon for Hartwell’s 47 degree water.

“It’s gonna keep getting colder this week, but I don’t really see that affecting these bass too much,” said Powroznik. After his $395 shopping trip Monday afternoon, J-Proz isn’t looking to be affected much either.

Posted By TJ Gamble

Quantum Adds Jacob Powroznik to Legendary Pro Team

February 20, 2015 3:48:56 PM EST

With a Bassmaster Rookie of the Year title, nearly $1 Million in career earnings, and a proven ability to win from the hot climes of Toledo Bend to the windy smallmouth waters of Lake Michigan, Jacob Powroznik is positioned to represent any brand of rods and reels he deems worthy of using. The pulling guard of a pro from Virginia recently chose Quantum.

“I go way back with Quantum. Dad and I used the old Quantum 1310MG back in the day. That ol’ baitcaster was a workhorse,” said Powroznik, who worked in the family concrete business before fishing fulltime.

Quantum’s come a long way since the 1310MG, and so has “J-Proz’s” career since turning pro a dozen years ago.

“It’s pretty awesome that one of the Top 10 ranked pros in the world has the confidence in our rods, reels and management staff to choose to align himself with us,” said VP of Marketing, Bob Bagby. “The fact is, we’ve made very few changes to our pro team since the 1310MG’s heyday, so Jacob joins rare and legendary company when you consider guys like VanDam, Klein, Grigsby and Biffle have been with us their entire careers.”

Far more than marketing fluff, Powroznik has spent tons of time familiarizing himself with Quantum’s latest and greatest products in recent weeks as he prepares for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic.

“The new Smoke Speed Freak has a super fast 8.1:1 to gear ratio that picks up a ton of line when you set the hook on Hartwell’s big spotted bass in deep water, and the I love the magnesium TMG100 for jerkbaits in cold water because it’s so lightweight. When you’re wearing lot of clothes and holding the rod still for a long time between jerks and pauses of that jerkbait, trust me, you learn to appreciate a reel that only weighs 5.4 ounces and casts like a bullet,” concluded the likeable Powroznik.

Posted By TJ Gamble
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