The St. Lawrence River is the season finale for the 2021 Bassmaster Elite Series and is full of drama this week. There are still a couple storylines to watch on Day 3 of the Farmers Insurance Bassmaster Elite.
The battle at the top of the leaderboard is interesting as Bernie Schultz, in his 347th Bassmaster event, is trying to take the title for the first time in his career. Meanwhile Chris and Cory Johnston are chasing Schultz after two days of competition. Of our Top 10 coming into Day 3, Clark Wendlandt and Justin Atkins join Schultz as those who need to win to make the 2022 Bassmaster Classic.
The second storyline to follow is Seth Feider, the 2021 Bassmaster Angler of the Year winner. If he makes the Top 10 and advances to Championship Sunday he will go down in the record books with the best average finish for an AOY Champion with around a 12th place average for an entire season.
The Rookie of the Year battle was not decided after Day 2 and it’s a two-horse race on Saturday. Josh Stracner has risen from 5th in Rookie of the Year in advance of this event and is in the unofficial lead after two days of fishing this week. He holds a 2-point lead over Justin Hamner in the standings, but is 14 spots higher in this specific tournament. That translates to Stracner needing to beat Hamner by 12 spots, at minimum, on the final standings at the St. Lawrence River to wrap up the ROY title. KJ Queen led coming into the week, but struggled in the finale. He cannot help himself, but could finish in 2nd place in ROY if Stracner fell to 36th or worse today. Hamner cannot fall far enough to give Queen the ROY lead.
The Classic cutline is one that anglers were shooting for in the middle of the AOY standings, but very few have control with two days left in the season. Matt Arey jumped up to 41st in AOY after a rebound on Day 2 at the St. Lawrence. The final OFFICIAL Classic spot is 39th, but with Hank Cherry winning the Classic and Brandon Palaniuk winning an Open, two more spots are added to the Elite standings for the Classic. Arey has bested John Cox by 1 point to jump inside the cut. Stetson Blaylock is just 13 points above the cut and is 15th in this event, so a 28th or better finish has Blaylock in the Classic. Marc Frazier is also higher in the Classic cut and fishing on Day 3. Frazier starts Saturday in 20th in the event, he can drop to the bubble spot by falling all the way to 45th today, but would own tiebreakers over Cox in that case for the final Classic spot unofficially. Meanwhile Chris Zaldain and Matt Robertson are wedged in between Frazier and Blaylock, but are at home today after missing the cut at the St. Lawrence. Their big Day 2 comebacks have helped them rise into Classic contention safely.