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How Jay Pzrekurat Discovered Bass

As a youngster growing up in Wisconsin, Jay Pzrekurat (Sha-Cure-Et) got to go fishing quite a bit with his dad, Jason. They mostly fished for walleyes. Walleyes are popular on the table in Wisconsin and many parts of North America due to their white, sweet, flaky flesh, but they focused on walleyes for another reason: the elder Pzrekurat was and is a successful walleye tournament angler. He’s competed in and won walleye tournaments at the highest levels, he has two Angler of the Year titles and has won two major walleye championship tournaments. It’s to be expected that Jay and his dad would chase walleyes when practicing for a tournament or when fishing for fun.

But then, sometime in his early teens, something happened. While chasing walleyes on a river near their home, Jay caught a largemouth bass. Then he caught a smallmouth bass. Shortly after that, Jay and his dad started fishing local team tournaments that were multi-specie contests. Teams could weigh three bass and three walleyes. Jay quickly discovered that he preferred to fish for bass. Walleye fishing is often a trolling endeavor. The younger Pzrekurat preferred the aggressive casting approach for bass to trolling for walleyes. Before long, Jay was fishing mostly for bass, and it wasn’t much longer that he was competing in local and regional bass tournaments. Soon he was placing high in those tournaments and even winning some.

Jay was experiencing a good amount of success in the world of bass fishing tournaments on the regional level. There came a time when he had to decide: should he make an attempt at fishing tournaments at the highest level? In his early twenties, he decided it was time to go for it. One of the highest levels in bass tournaments is the Bassmaster Elite Series. An angler doesn’t just decide to fish the Elites, you’ve got to qualify to do so. Jay fished in Bassmaster Opens, and in his first year of attempting to qualify for the Elites, he did so. In his rookie year, 2022, he is in strong contention for the Rookie of the Year Award and is also in the Top 40 for Angler of the Year. Quite an accomplishment considering many of the competitors have been fishing the Elites for decades.

The differences between fishing for fun, fishing local tournaments, and fishing on the highest levels are significant. The price to participate is in the thousands of dollars when entry fees, travel costs, etc. are totaled. Jay has found that the travel is exceptionally challenging. Driving two days to a tournament location and two days to return home is not unusual, but he’s young and understands that it’s all part of the deal.

To be successful at catching bass either recreationally or professionally, an angler needs to be proficient at employing several techniques. Jay is that, but he is most comfortable when he has spinning rods on the deck of his boat. This year he started using Mark Zona Signature Series spinning rods. There are four actions available in this series of rods, and all are appropriate for different finesse presentations. Jay is confident that when he’s using a spinning rod, he’s got a pattern figured out and has a better chance of doing well in the tournament. If he has ten baitcasting rods all rigged with distinct types of lures on the bow of his boat, he feels that he doesn’t have things figured out so well.

Many anglers believe that anyone who gets to go fishing as a job is living the dream. Jay Pzrekurat agrees. He’s on the water at least two hundred days a year. He’s meeting some outstanding people and visiting interesting areas. But if it were easy, everyone would do it. There are uncertainties of many types, and a new challenge is around every point on the lake. But for now, it’s his intention to continue to fish tournaments as long as he can. He knows that with hard work both before and during the tournament, it’s possible to reach the highest level of tournament success.

– Bob Jensen of

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