Arey, Pipkens and Lester preview AOY

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Alan McGuckin

Toyota Tundra driving pros Matt Arey, Chad Pipkens and Brandon Lester took a break from the college football game being shown on the back of the “Tailgate Tundra” at Fan Appreciation Day to preview the Bassmaster Elite Series event on Lake St. Clair that kicks off Sunday.  

Q: Big musky and sturgeon swim in Lake St. Clair. What’s the biggest fish of any species you’ve caught in practice? 

Arey: A 4 pound,12 ounce smallmouth.

Pipkens: A 38-inch northern pike.

Lester: A 20-pound channel catfish on a dropshot.

Q: Other than a dropshot and a plastic tube, name two lures every bass angler needs to bring to St. Clair. 

Arey: A medium depth crankbait, and a jerkbait.

Pipkens: A Damiki DC 300 crankbait, and a jerkbait.

Lester: A mid depth crankbait, and a jerkbait.

Q: Bassmaster Elite Series winners here in recent years have averaged 21 pounds a day on St. Clair. Do you expect catches to be equally as awesome this year?

Arey: Yes – just about exactly that good.

Pipkens: Yes – it’ll take around 65 pounds to win this three-day event.

Lester: Yes – at least 21 pounds a day to win for sure.

Q: This is the last Elite Series event of the 2019 season, looking back, what moment or day means the most to you? 

Arey: The final day at Guntersville. But unfortunately, not in a good way. I made fish landing mistakes that let a $100,000 win slip through my hands. 

Pipkens: Day 2 at Lake Fork. I was leading after Day 1, and backed it up with a 30 pound, 15 ounce limit on Day 2.

Lester: Day 2 at Lake Tenkiller last week in Oklahoma. I’m really proud of the fact that in such a tough event I kept grinding to catch 13 pounds. I went from 40th place to eventually finish 11th, and jumped four places in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points. 

Q: What are you most looking forward to when the season ends in a few days? 

Arey: Spending time with my family, and time in a treestand deer hunting.

Pipkens: Tailgating with my wife and friends at Michigan State football games.

Lester: Spending time with my wife and two daughters, and deer hunting.