After winning two Bassmaster Opens over two seasons in the co-angler division, 22-year-old Jay Przekurat jumped to the boater side in 2021. He then
After winning two Bassmaster Opens over two seasons in the co-angler division, 22-year-old Jay Przekurat jumped to the boater side in 2021. He then landed a Bassmaster Elite Series invite after finishing second in the Bassmaster Central Opens Angler of the Year standings.
After notching a 17th-place finish at the first 2021 Basspro.com Bassmaster Central Open at Pickwick Lake last April, the Stevens Point, Wis., native recorded his first ever Top 10 cut at the second Central Open at Lewis Smith Lake in Alabama. He finished seventh with a 24 pound, 15 ounce three-day total. Then, a 21st-place finish at Grand Lake secured his high AOY ranking and Elite invitation.
“It’s awesome, my first Top 10 as a pro and my first year fishing as a pro. This is great,” he said. “The most rewarding thing is when you take a top 40 and you look at the leaderboard and you beat these guys who have been doing it for years and years. Just that feeling that you can compete at this level and possibly get up to the next level, that’s everything.”
During his first two years in the Opens as a co-angler, Przekurat did not have a finish worse than 62nd and cashed five checks in eight tournaments, with wins at the 2019 Open on Grand and the 2020 Open on Lay Lake. The two victories provided the funding the young angler needed to make the jump to the professional division.
In his first year manning the boat in the Southern and Central Opens, Przekurat has continued the consistency he showed as a co-angler, finishing no worse than 79th throughout the year. He cashed checks in four of the six events he fished.
“It’s was a lot tougher than the co-side in my opinion, but it is still the same goal. You want to catch five fish every day,” he said. “The guy who catches five fish every day usually cashes a check, especially on these bodies of water this time of the year. When we go to more slugfest tournaments like in Florida, that was a big learning curve. I’m still learning, and I have a lot of bodies of water to fish in my life.”
As a Wisconsin native, Przekurat has seen a variety of different fisheries and learned how to be a versatile angler, which has helped him decipher the fisheries featured on the Opens schedule.
“The thing about Wisconsin is, we have everything,” he said. “We have a lot of guys from Wisconsin that do very well, and it’s because of how versatile our state is and our fisheries. The learning curve for the southern fisheries is, when you see baitfish and fish in general, slow down and dissect the area. Obviously, there are fish there for a reason.”
As a co-angler, he also learned a couple of things that have helped him succeed so far.
“Slowing down is the biggest thing. You don’t get yourself in a rush. As soon as you do and want to hit 80 spots, that usually never works out. For instance, (Day 1 at Smith Lake) we had that fog delay and my game plan was to run way up the west arm and then run up the east arm. I ended up staying here just because of the time, and I caught a nice bag. That’s one of the little things you take from being a co-angler, just slowing down. When you are behind someone, you have to slow down.”
Przekurat’s 2022 sponsors include Nitro, Humminbird, Whitewater clothing, Mercury Marine, Bass Pro Shops, Strike King, Lew’s, Minn Kota, Hard Core Waterfowl, Butch’s Archery, Waterland Fishing Sunglasses, Fin Gear and WorldWide Marine Insurance.