Foutz led rookie charge at Chickamauga

Jacob Foutz’s third-place finish was the headline, and the 10-angler Bassmaster Elite Series rookie class showed its overall strength and depth at the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake. Foutz and Daisuke Aoki (sixth) finished in the Top 10, Matty Wong (14th) posted the big bag of the tournament with 25 pounds, 13 ounces on Day 2 and six rookies finished in the top 40.

Foutz’ performance didn’t come out of nowhere. He grew up in nearby Charleston, Tenn., and graduated from Bryan College, which is practically on the banks of Chickamauga Lake at Dayton, Tenn. The lake was practically a member of the Bryan College fishing team when Foutz won the College Series National Championship and College Classic Bracket in 2017.

“Absolutely, I was looking forward to this one,” said the 23-year-old Foutz. “I didn’t have the kind of start I wanted to this season. I’ve spent more hours out (on Chickamauga) than probably all the rest of these guys combined, excluding Buddy Gross.”

(It should be noted that familiarity with a lake doesn’t always equal success. Gross finished 61st at Chickamauga.)

Foutz has steadily improved since an 84th-place finish in the season opener at Florida’s St. Johns River. He was 62nd at the Harris Chain and 55th at Santee Cooper. He’s now third in the Falcon Rods Bassmaster Rookie of the Year standings.

“Rookie of the Year was a big goal for me, and it’s still attainable,” Foutz said. “I definitely helped my case with this one. I really like the rest of the schedule. I think it sets up well for how I like to fish. I consider myself an offshore fisherman mostly. I grew up fishing for smallmouth. I’m definitely looking forward to the smallmouth fisheries, like Oahe and the St. Lawrence River. And I’m looking forward to Lake Fork. That’s a bucket list place for any angler, and I’ve never been there.”

Jay Przekurat from Stevens Point, Wis., continues to be the ROY leader. He made it four-for-four in qualifying for Day 3 on the Elite Series this season. He finished 40th at Chickamauga. In second place is Joseph Webster of Hamilton, Ala., who finished 35th at Chickamauga and is 49 points out of first place.

The following are comparisons of the Falcon Rods ROY standings after the last two Elite Series tournaments:

After Santee Cooper Lakes

Angler Points
1. Jay Przekurat Stevens Point, WI 232
2. Joseph Webster Hamilton, AL 183
3. Jonathan Kelley Old Forge, PA 167
4. Masayuki Matsushita Tokoname-Shi, JPN 150
5. Cody Huff   Ava, MO 131
6. Josh Douglas Isle, MN 130
7. Jacob Foutz Charleston, TN 102
8. Matty Wong Collinsville, TX 96
9. Alex Redwine    Blue Ash, OH    76
10. Daisuke Aoki   Minamitsurugun Yamanashi, JPN 51

After Chickamauga Lake

Angler Points
1. Jay Przekurat Stevens Point, WI 293
2. Joseph Webster Hamilton, AL 249
3. Jacob Foutz Charleston, TN 200
4. Cody Huff   Ava, MO 198
5. Masayuki Matsushita Tokoname-Shi, JPN 197
6. Jonathan Kelley Old Forge, PA 191
7. Matty Wong Collinsville, TX 183
8. Josh Douglas Isle, MN 162
9. Daisuke Aoki   Minamitsurugun Yamanashi, JPN 146
10. Alex Redwine       Blue Ash, OH    126