Elite

Przekurat rockets back into ROY lead

Fittingly, Jay Przekurat is back in first place in the Falcon Rods Bassmaster Rookie of the Year race. It’s where he’s been after five of the seven Elite Series tournaments this season. But he entered the the recent Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River in third place after posting finishes of 74th at Lake Fork and 66th at Pickwick Lake.

Przekurat, who turned 23 in June, is from Stevens Point, Wis. He was expected to thrive when the Elite Series made its annual end-of-season Northern Swing to fisheries dominated by smallmouth bass. However, no one expected him to win at the St. Lawrence River, where he’d never before competed, even if smallmouth bass were the dominant species.

And what did Przekurat (pronounced “shuh-kur-at”) do? He became the youngest angler to win an Elite Series tournament and became the first to top 100 pounds in winning a smallmouth bass tournament. Przekurat’s winning weight of 102 pounds, 9 ounces, over four days was thus remarkable in many ways.

With only two tournaments left, including a finale at the Mississippi River at La Crosse, Wis., Przekurat is back in the favorite’s position for the ROY title.

However, it would be unwise to overlook Jacob Foutz, the 24-year-old Charleston, Tenn., resident who grew up fishing for smallmouth bass on Lake Erie. He showed his strength on smallmouth waters by taking the lead on Day 1 at the St. Lawrence River, before finishing 27th. Foutz had a rough start to his rookie year, finishing 84th, 62nd and 55th in the first three Elite events. Since, he has posted finishes of third at Chickamauga, 28th at Lake Fork, fourth at Pickwick Lake and 27th at St. Lawrence. Foutz trails Przekurat by only 11 points after seven events.

The ROY standings were shaken up at the St. Lawrence when previous leader, Joseph Webster of Hamilton, Ala., finished 88th and fell to fourth place. Cody Huff, 25, of Ava, Mo., moved up to third place, his highest spot in the standings this season. He trails Przekurat by 67 points, and Webster is 69 points back.

The strength of the 10-angler 2022 rookie class stood out, especially on Day 1 at the St. Lawrence, when Foutz was in first place with 27-15 and Przekurat was second with 26-13.