Elite Top lures at St. Lawrence River 2022 Posted on July 19, 2022 Photography by Andy Crawford Captions by Craig Lamb Of the 19 B.A.S.S. pro events held on the smallmouth-rich waters of the St. Lawrence River, none come close to matching the 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River. A new category was added to the B.A.S.S. all-time record book. Two anglers each weighed more than 100 pounds of smallmouth, establishing a new smallmouth category in the Bassmaster Century Club. Those anglers were Cory Johnston and Jay Prezkurat. On the way to that milestone, Prezkurat took down nine of the absolute best bass anglers in the world on Championship Sunday. There are dreamers and then there are those who chase their dreams and succeed. Prezkurat, 23, did just that, winning his first blue trophy as an Elite Series rookie. A rare stretch of calm, sunny weather and a super moon ignited the smallmouth, setting the stage for record breaking catches. Drop-shot rigs and Ned rigs dominated the lures used by the Top 10 anglers, as you will see in this photo gallery. Gear up for summertime smallmouth fishing success by finding the latest in hooks, weights, jigs and soft plastics and tackle you need at basspro.com. Bob Downey (10th; 91-7) Bob Downey alternated between a Ned rig and drop-shot rig, depending on the location and depth of the smallmouth he targeted. He made the drop shot with a Poor Boys Baits Erie Darter, rigged on a No. 1 VMC prototype hook, with a 3/8-ounce VMC Tungsten Drop Shot Cylinder Weight. Downey also used a Z-Man TRD TicklerZ, rigged on a 3/16-ounce VMC Ned Rig Jig. Alternatively, he used a Storm Largo Shad, rigged on a 3/16-ounce VMC Hybrid Swimbait Jig. Clark Wendlandt (9th; 92-4) Clark Wendlandt rotated through various soft plastics, catching most of his smallmouth on a drop-shot rig. He made it with a Strike King 3X ElazTech Baby Z Too, rigged on an Owner No. 2 Mosquito Hook, with a 3/8-ounce Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Weight. Wendlandt fished the rig on a Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris Platinum Signature Series Spinning Reel, with a 7-foot medium action Bass Pro Shops Johnny Morris CarbonLite 2.0 Spinning Rod. Greg Hackney (8th; 94-3) Greg Hackney rotated between two tube jig setups, sight fishing most of the time for cruising smallmouth on flats. The first was a 2-inch Strike King Bitsy Tube, rigged on a Mark Zona designed 5/16-ounce tube jig head. Using the same jig, Hackney also used a Strike King 3.5-inch Coffee Tube. Shane LeHew (7th; 97-7) Shane LeHew rotated between two Berkley PowerBait MaxScent baits, rigged for drop shots and Ned rigs, that are ideal for smallmouth. A top choice was a Flatnose Minnow, rigged on a size 1 hook, with a 1/4-ounce weight. He also used a Lil’ General, rigged on a 1/4-ounce Berkley Half Head Jig. Chris Johnston (6th; 98-1) Chris Johnston and his brother, Cory, designed a new drop-shot bait that produced most of his weight. That bait is the Spro CJ Smasher. Johnston rigged it on a No. 2 Gamakatsu G-Finesse Drop Shot Hook, with a 3/8-ounce WOO! Tungsten Drop Shot Weight. Finesse fishing for smallmouth requires matching hooks, weights and jig heads to maximize the strike appeal of soft plastics. Rig up for summertime smallmouth season with all the tackle you need at basspro.com. Paul Mueller (5th; 98-5) Paul Mueller favors homemade baits by Do-it Molds. For the St. Lawrence River, he made up a batch of 3/32-ounce Worm Nose Jigs, with the marabou tied by his wife, Kimber. Chris Zaldain (4th; 98-6) Chris Zaldain rotated between a hair jig and tube bait rig as his primary lures. He made the latter with a 1.5-inch NetBait STH Finesse Series Tube, infused with Bait Fuel, by American Bait Works. Zaldain also used a 1/16-ounce marabou hair jig tied by fellow pro Jeff Gustafson. Stetson Blaylock (3rd; 98-15) Stetson Blaylock rotated through a Ned rig and drop-shot rig. He made the latter setup with a Yum Ned Warning Shot, rigged on a No. 1 Gamakatsu Split Shot/Drop Shot Hook, with a 5/16-ounce weight. He made the Ned rig with a 1/6-ounce Ned jig, with a Yum Ned Dinger. Cory Johnston (2nd; 100-5) Cory Johnson’s primary bait was a Spro CJ Smasher, rigged on a No. 2 Gamakatsu G-Finesse Drop Shot Hook, with a 3/8-ounce WOO! Tungsten Drop Shot Weight. Johnston and his brother, Chris, designed the CJ Smasher for Spro. Jay Prezkurat (1st; 102-9) Jay Prezkurat’s top baits were a drop-shot rig and hair jig. He made the drop shot with a Strike King Drop Shot Half Shell, rigged on a No. 2 Gamakatsu G-Finesse Drop Shot Hook, with a 1/4-ounce WOO! Tungsten Drop Shot Weight. Alternatively, Prezkurat used a 3/32-ounce custom made marabou jig.