Editor's Note: This profile on 2014 Elite Series rookie Jacob Powroznik was written prior to his win at the Evan Williams Bourbon Bassmaster Elite at Toledo Bend .
The opportunity to fish with Woo Daves while the Virginia pro practiced for the Bassmaster Classic on the James River left a lasting impression on Jacob Powroznik when he was a youngster.
“Woo really had a big impact on me,” said Powroznik, whose dad was a friend of the former Bassmaster Classic champ. Powroznik also credits his dad as a major influence in guiding him on the path to the Bassmaster Elite Series.
The Elite Series newcomer recalls fishing his first tournament when he was about 10 or 11 years old. He and his buddy Wade Rook joined the Hard Luck Bass Club and fished together in the independent club’s team event on Buggs Island Reservoir in Virginia. “We did okay and came in second or third or something like that,” Powroznik reminisced. “We just had a good time and caught a bunch of fish.”
The young angler fished in the club until he was 18 years old. After he graduated from high school, his dad bought him one of Daves’ boats. The next year Powroznik entered the Bass Fishing League (BFL) tournaments as a boater. “I didn’t have any desire to be a co-angler and fish out of the back of the boat,” he said of his decision to start fishing from the front deck against stronger competition.
Powroznik continued to fish BFL events until 2012 and qualified for three regional championships (2000, 2001 and 2003). In 2001 he also started fishing the Rayovac (formerly EverStart) FLW Series and recorded a victory at Santee-Cooper in 2003. He won the Northern Division points title in 2012.
The Virginia pro moved up to the FLW Tour in 2004 and qualified for the Forrest Wood Cup eight of the last 10 years. Powroznik fished his first B.A.S.S. event in 2005 when he won a Bassmaster Weekend Series tournament on Buggs Island.
When FLW team sponsorships started diminishing, Powroznik opted to fish the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Northern Opens. He earned his invitation to the Elite Series by finishing second in the Northern Division point standings. The 35-year-old Powroznik recorded the following finishes in his rookie season of the Opens: third place at Oneida Lake, ninth at Lake Erie and 25th on the James River.
Securing sponsorship from a local automotive dealership, Priority Toyota, made it easier for Powroznik to make the move to the Elites, especially since Toyota is a major B.A.S.S. sponsor. “I really don’t care how well you do in every tournament. You have to have some good support from great sponsors,” he said.
During his early days of competitive fishing, Powroznik enjoyed flipping flooded bushes during the spring on Buggs Island. He also became adept at sight fishing, but eventually started fishing offshore more. “When you find a place out there, most of the time you are going to have it to yourself,” said Powroznik. Due to his successes on northern lakes, Powroznik now ranks drop shotting for smallmouth as one of his favorite tournament techniques.
Throughout his years of competitive fishing, Powroznik has learned how to deal with the low points that discourage some anglers from following their dream of reaching the Elite Series.
“In the bass fishing world, you are going to have some low points,” Powroznik said. “I missed the FLW championship a couple of times, and it really made me mad.”
So Powroznik turned his disappointments into incentives to strive to be better and joins the Elite Series in 2014.