It was only months ago that Wisconsin angler Jay Przekurat became one of the youngest competitors ever to qualify for the Bassmaster Elite Series. Not content with that, he set out on his rookie season with the Elites to smash through barriers and break records.

On Championship Sunday, July 18, 2022, the rookie defied the odds and dominated a field of some of the best smallmouth anglers on the planet, battling his way to first place on his very first competitive event on St. Lawrence River. In doing so, he becomes the youngest angler ever to win an Elite Series event.

It appears that winning is a family business. His father Jason Przekurat, himself a competitive angler with major victories and multiple AOY titles on a pro circuit, was just off stage as his son hoisted the trophy.  “I am so glad I drove all night to see this moment,” the elder Przekurat exclaimed. “This is what he was born to do.”

In his electrifying finish, Przekurat breaks yet another record, hitting the scales with a four-day limit of 102.9 pounds, the largest smallmouth finish in Bassmaster history.

Though Przekurat had never fished a tournament on the St. Lawrence River, he leaned on his three years battling as a co-angler in the Opens to pick apart St. Lawrence, establishing a winning pattern in the opening two days of the tournament. And he leaned on his gear.

Przekurat credits what he calls “the truly awesome drag” of his Lew’s Custom Lite Spinning Reel on a Mark Zona 6’10” Signature Series Rod by Lew’s. “Fighting these fish with such light tackle demands a really smooth, powerful drag,” the champion offered. “And the Lew’s Custom Lite has it.”

The Lew’s spinning outfit was the dominant tool on the boat deck for Przekurat, giving him the perfect balance of lightweight and subtlety with the power to do battle with the legendary Great Lakes smallmouth. These fish are known for fierce strikes and powerful runs that can punish light line and break an angler’s spirit.

The Wisconsin native relied almost exclusively on the Strike King Half Shell in Green Pumpkin on a 1/4-ounce Drop Shot rig to entice schools of Smallmouth. He worked over his practice days and first two days of competition to dial in on a very specific drop shot presentation that proved to ignite fish. “I learned watching these fish chase bait that I need to really aggressively bounce that Half Shell a few times and let them chase it,” Przekurat offered. “As it settled, they would zero in on that Half Shell.”

Strike King and Lew’s are thrilled to have the young Przekurat on the team, and we salute the young champion. If his first year is any indication, fishing with Przekurat is going to be an exciting ride.