How Powroznik Practiced for Guntersville

Jacob Powroznik is only in his sophomore season as a Bassmaster Elite Series pro. But after claiming last year’s Rookie of the Year award, and with $1.1 Million in career earnings to his credit, obviously the happy-go-lucky Virginia pro has a wealth of fish-finding knowledge.


In the chronological account that follows, “J Proz” graciously shares a day on the water, in minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour fashion, during his final day of practice for the Bassmaster Elite Series event on Lake Guntersville.

 6:45 a.m. – The air temp is 57 degrees around the shores of Lake Guntersville amid a peaceful spring morning as Powroznik pulls into a ramp saturated in moderate fog. “J Proz” is a big man. Built like a small college offensive guard, his breakfast was limited to fruity liquids rich with energy. “I take a Naked pineapple mango juice and add V8 V-Fusion Energy to it, and that’s breakfast,” says Powroznik.

7:00 a.m. – Powroznik idles out of Town Creek and begins to paint a bit of a challenging picture. “You look forward to coming to Guntersville. It’s a great fishery, and this should be a great time to do what I love – sight fishing – but with all the rain this week, the water is dirtier than normal, so it’s hard to see the beds, and there’s not much shallow grass. There’s vegetation out in 7 – 8’ of water, but not so much up there in 2 – 4’ where they want to be spawning.”


7:35 a.m. – The day is young, but Powroznik is already checking his phone for the weather forecast tomorrow and the next day when competition is underway. “There’s a 100-percent chance of rain on Friday, and tomorrow it’s supposed to blow 20 mph, neither of those are great for sight fishing.”


7:50 a.m. – “I did catch a 2 ½ pounder yesterday that had a fisheries tag in it, it’s pretty cool.” The tag offers a $5 reward if anglers like Powroznik that catch a tagged fish report it at [email protected] or call 1-800-774-2847. “I took the tag out, and released the bass, it swam right back to its spawning bed.”


8:05 a.m. – Powroznik receives consecutive phone calls from fellow competitors wanting to trade information. It’s permissible to talk tournament strategy with other competitors, but not with anglers who aren’t participating in the tournament. “It’s phone a friend time,” laughs Powroznik, in reference to his information exchange between other Elite Series pros. “Most of these tournaments aren’t won by somebody who is doing the same thing as all his buddies, but instead by the guy that’s fishing off the beaten path, like I did when I won at Toledo Bend last year by catching spawners, when most guys were fishing off the bank for post-spawners.”

8:30 a.m. – “A tagged fish isn’t the only unique thing I’ve caught this week,” says Powroznik. “I dredged-up and old lake map with my Carolina Rig yesterday too.”

8:45 a.m. – Speaking of fellow competitors, Powroznik’s friend and fellow pro Gerald Swindle is fishing nearby. “G Man” cut his tournament teeth fishing Guntersville and Smith Lake. He too thinks Guntersville is fishing a little tough right now. Powroznik asks Swindle if he thinks Guntersville’s bass spawn out there in 7 – 8’ of water. “Not likely – especially with the rains adding so much color to the water,” says Swindle.


9:00 a.m. – Powroznik has used a single Quantum baitcasting rod and reel all morning to no avail. Time for a change. He digs four more rods out. And quickly snares a small keeper from the 4-feet of water he warned they should be in. Milfoil is the predominant habitat.


9:35 a.m. – Guntersville resident and gifted young Elite Series rookie Jordan Lee is fishing nearby. Jordan and J Proz trade gests about how tough it is. They grin knowing that among this talented bunch of anglers, bass, and lots of them, are sure to be caught, no mater how tough they try to convince each other the fishing is in practice. “We could be on Lake Falcon in March, and we’d be trying to tell each how bad it is,” jokes Jordan.


9:50 a.m. – Despite the lack of bites, Powroznik is not doing a lot of running around. He patiently and slowly works an area the size of a football field for 90 minutes. “You’re looking for one or two key spots the size of a bass boat, because on this lake, there’s so many bass, there could be 30 keepers on a spot that size,” he explains. “It’s like the hotels next to the track at the Daytona 500 – I mean Florida’s a big state, but in late February, everybody wants to be at those same hotels.”

10:15 a.m. – Frustrated with the lack of bites generated by looking for the ‘needle in the haystack’ isolated hump, J Proz zooms down lake to become fully focused on searching for bedding bass in less than 2’ of water around the shoreline of an expansive cove near Highway 431 as 18-wheelers drive by. Always thinking ahead, Powroznik knows that with a heavy chance of rain coming Friday, he’ll need to identify with laser eye precision where each bed is located today and tomorrow, realizing that rain won’t allow him to actually see the beds on Friday. On Friday, casting near the batters box will be more the case than throwing right at home base.

11:10 a.m. – Powroznik runs to a new spot, but it again includes a hard bottom suitable for spawning. “See this wimpy little EXO stick? – I love it!” says J Proz of his Quantum EXS704F spinning rod. “It’s the perfect drop shot rod. It’s got a soft enough tip not to bend out a finesse hook on a big fish, but plenty of backbone to help you land a big fish too.”


He pairs the rod with a Size 25 Tour KVD PT spinning reel spooled with 10 pound test braided line, and continues looking for spawning beds, but complains of how hard it is to see into the water, because of all the pine tree pollen floating atop Guntersville’s surface.

12:00 Noon – The water temp is 67 degrees. It’s lunchtime, but Powroznik has yet to eat a single bite of food as he remains focused on locating bedding bass. He says he’d love to have a bowl of spaghetti, but there’s work to be done.

12:10 p.m. – The second and third keepers of the day come aboard a couple minutes apart. Each fish will push three pounds, and is hauled in on the finesse spinning outfit he referenced loving so much an hour earlier. “The bites are hard to come by – that’s three bites in five hours – there’s tons of bass on beds – but that don’t mean they’re willing to bite,” he punctuates.


2:00 p.m. – Large clouds start to dot a gorgeous sunny blue sky, at times hiding the sun. “I don’t care how good of a sight fisherman you are, if you don’t have sun, you ain’t gonna be doing much sight fishing.”

2:45 p.m. – Last cast of the day, but he stops twice on the way back to the ramp just to look and see if the good fish he spotted on beds yesterday are still there. “C’mon girl, where are you? Show yourself,” he begs as the day comes to an end.


He predicts a winning 4-day weight of 88 pounds. “Like I said earlier this morning, if I can catch 20 pounds a day, I’ll leave here grinning ear-to-ear.”

3:00 p.m. – Powroznik jumps in his Toyota Tundra and heads toward the pre-tournament meeting, thinking out loud as he drives. “It’s stressful, man. As much as I’d love to sight fish, I don’t think there’s any possible way that the wind on Thursday, and the rain on Friday, will allow me to do that here for four days.”

As he talks, Powroznik cranks up Alabama’s song “Old Flame” on XM satellite radio channel 58 titled “Prime Country”. “Man, this is a great song,” exclaims J Proz. For at least a moment he’s lost in lyrics – and not on the stress caused by choosing between bass on isolated humps or visible spawning beds.















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