Even though the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship was about Greg Hackney winning AOY, Jacob Powroznik won the tournament – his second Elite Series-level win of the year, pretty awesome for a rookie. Here's how he put together 47 pounds 6 ounces in two days on Bays de Noc.
In practice, he found the lake was down 8 inches to a foot from what he expected. So the bass he thought would be up shallow in the reeds and grass just weren't there. "I think it was a little bit too early," he noted.
He started prospecting with his electronics, and noticed that "all these big flats led to a sharp drop to the actual channel that ran through [Little Bay de Noc]. And there was this little line of milfoil down the edge of the drop." Not only that, it was shallow enough (3 to 6 feet) that he saw "eight or 10 great big ones swimming along edge of that milfoil."
To him it looked like it was setting up "kind of like cranking a ledge at Kentucky Lake.
"I picked up little swimbait, caught four 4.5- to 5-pounders, and was like, 'Alright, I've got a little deal.'"
The last day of practice he let the dock talk get to him a little. "I'd heard that Big Bay de Noc was the place you needed to be to catch the giants, so like a dummy I went to Big Bay and only caught 15 to 17 pounds." He knew that wouldn't be enough, and luckily had the Little Bay pattern to rely on.
Competition: 20+ per day
Within the first hour of the first morning, he caught four fish from his Little Bay spot that weighed 21 pounds. "So I never left," he said. He ended up with 24-01, good for third place, just 5 ounces off the lead.
After the three-day delay, he went back to that spot and the fish were still there. He boated a good limit, then ran to another spot he'd found in Little Bay but hadn't gone to the first day. Brian Snowden was there, said he'd already caught 23 pounds off it and left. "I stayed there and smoked them," Powroznik said.
He noted that that spot was "the same kind of deal" – a flat that dropped straight off into the channel at the same depth.
The only difference was one he found by accident. "Later in the day I caught one and the current drifted me off [the spot]. I looked on my Lowrance, and the fish were wadded up in 15 to 25 feet right on that break. I threw a tube up there, and it was game on."
He wasn't sure why some of the fish had moved deeper. "The only thing I can think of is the bait moved off [the shallow area]," he said.
What he used
His two main baits were a 3.8-inch Keitech Swing Impact FAT swimbait (pro blue red pearl) and a Reaction Innovations Skinny Dipper swimbait (sungill). Both were rigged on a 1/2-ounce lead head jig.
The retrieve was simple: "I just threw it out and slowly wound it in," Powroznik said. "Sometimes I'd let it fall and hit the bottom, then start winding it again. A lot of times the fish would hit it on the bottom. It was like they were following it. It would hit bottom, then I'd reel and they'd be on there."
He fished the baits on a 7-foot medium-heavy Abu Garcia Veracity rod with an Abu-Garcia Revo 7.1:1 reel and 12-pound Berkley 100% Flourocarbon.
He said the biggest key was fishing the inside of the grassline. "The fish were on top of the flat, but were on the inside edge. A lot of guys would fish the outside edge."