Inside Elite Boats: Stetson Blaylock

Over the course of the 2023 Bassmaster Elite Series season, Stetson Blaylock will be running a Bass Cat Boats Puma STS.
The Arkansan’s 20-foot, 7-inch Puma STS is powered by a 250 horsepower Mercury Pro XS outboard.
The trailer is tricked out with Bass Cat’s custom tire and wheel package.
A closer look at the sleek Bass Cat rims.
A MotorGuide Tour Pro trolling motor powers the bow of Blaylock’s Bass Cat.
Mounted to the Tour Pro is a Lowrance ActiveTarget transducer as well as a traditional 2D transducer.
“The Tour Pro actually has greater sensitivity to the electronics than other trolling motors on the market,” he said.
Blaylock is running a full slate of Lowrance Electronics in 2023, which is new for him. At the bow, he’s running a HDS 16 LIVE for ActiveTarget and a HDS 12 LIVE for mapping and 2D sonar. “For me it’s great to have the larger screen of the 16 to be able to see more clearly,” he said.
The front deck is home to six compartments, including a net storage in between the two front storage compartments. While Blaylock doesn’t use the net storage during Elite Series competition, it is a nice addition for most anglers.
The Arkansas pro likes to get his Bass Cat without a rod divider in the front of the compartment which allows him to carry more rods in the boat.
“In practice I’ll usually start out with 20 to 30 rods in the boat, but by the start of the tournament I like to have it narrowed down to 10 or so rods,” said Blaylock.
For ease of use, the Puma STS comes equipped with low-profile stainless steel latches.
The large compartment is home to a variety of different items including terminal tackle, line and bulk soft plastics.
Blaylock keeps a little space open just in case he decides he wants to throw something in the boat last minute.
“I’ve kept this tub in the last seven or eight boats that I’ve had to just keep soft plastics or things that I know that I’ll be using that day,” he said about the small tub.
An overhead look at the two smaller compartments in the front as well as the net compartment in the middle.
Blaylock likes to store his lighter boxes in these two compartments for the sake of weight distribution. “Bass Cat has always been known for performance, and having too much weight in the front will slow down the top-end speed,” he said.
The tour was shot just before the start of the Lake Okeechobee Elite, so Blaylock had the boat loaded down with Florida staples.
The warm weather had the Elite Series champion thinking about topwater fishing.
Blaylock shows off two of his favorite topwaters – the Heddon Super Spook and the Heddon One Knocker Spook.
Another topwater box that has a place in the boat when in Florida is his Booyah Pad Crasher box.
Two of Blaylock’s favorite colors.
The driver’s side rod locker is home to a variety of miscellaneous items including a helmet for running, extra sunglasses, flip flops, extra trolling motor props and lifejackets.
The Puma STS has two coolers, so Blaylock uses the step to the front desk as a place to store sunscreen, a scale and trash that compiles during the day.
Blaylock takes a seat at the drivers seat of his Puma STS.
A Bass Boat Technologies dual mount houses two Lowrance HDS 12 LIVE units at the console.
“I like having two units because it gives me a lot of options to set up different combinations of screens,” he said. “Like here (Lake Okeechobee), I’m actually running three different maps at one time.”
“There’s really not a right or wrong way to set up your screens, it’s all about what and how you get used to seeing it,” said Blaylock in reference to graph orientation.
The Puma STS has a clean, functional control pad.
The compartment between the seats is home to a variety of different items that Blaylock uses regularly.
Amongst the items is his Wave Away Sonar and GPS Cleaner.
That compartment lifts up into another compartment that serves as a cooler.
Both seats also lift up to provide Blaylock with extra storage if needed.
The compartment behind the driver’s seat is is full of soft plastics and jigs.
The Puma STS features deep, triangular livewells.
Blaylock mentioned that he has never had fish care problems with these livewells. The deep compartment allows significantly less water slosh, which keeps your fish healthy and happy.
The Puma STS has a large, removable compartment for batteries. This makes it incredibly easy to access the batteries.
Blaylock relies on Lithium Pros to power his Bass Cat.
Blaylock’s Bass Cat Boat was rigged by Hennessey Outdoors in Tennessee, who added an easily accessible master power switch.
A Power-Pole Charge system allows his batteries to gain and maintain power throughout the day without having to plug the batteries up.
Two 8-foot Power-Pole Blades serve as shallow-water anchors. Blaylock recalled that Power-Pole has been his longest sponsor to date. The dependability and customer service are two things that he can always count on with Power-Pole.
Blaylock also raved about his four-stroke Mercury Pro XS outboard. “I know at the beginning of every year that my boat is powered by the best of the best and that I won’t have to worry about it,” he said.
A Hennessey Outdoors Anchor Light is attached to the top of his Power-Pole Blade.
A T-H Marine Atlas Jack Plate puts his motor in position for optimal performance.
Two T-H Marine Motor Stiks keep Blaylock’s Mercury in place when he’s traveling down the road.
Thanks for the tour, Stetson!