By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor
Jay Przekurat certainly proved this year that his stellar 2022 rookie campaign on the Bassmaster Elite Series was no fluke. He didn't win an event in 2023, but his finish on the final Angler of the Year (AOY) points list was even better – 6th, compared to 10th last year.
The 24-year-old Wisconsin resident and son of a prominent walleye pro has missed the cut to the Top 50 just three times in 18 Elite outings.
"In some ways, I felt like this was a better year," he said. "The only thing I didn't have was a win and those are obviously very hard to come by.
"The year started out good and I didn't have any crazy bombs. I felt like I did better down south this year, but there's just one tournament I'd like to have back."
That was Lake Seminole, where he was 72nd – his only placement of the year outside the Top 40. Sight-fishing played a major role in that late February derby and he said his strategy regarding where he needed to be – and when he needed to be there – was lacking.
"I got a little ahead of myself and I should've went to some areas a lot sooner than I did," he said. "When I did get there, most of the fish I had marked had already been caught.
"I knew I wasn't on anything great, but I felt like I had enough to make the Top 50. I just never made the right choice."
His best finishes were a pair of 5ths, the first at Lay Lake in May and the second at Lake Champlain in August. He tabbed the Champlain showing as the highlight of his year.
"When we got there for practice I was a little nervous because I'd never been there before and I didn't know what area to focus on," said Pzekurat, who won the 2022 Elite outing on the St. Lawrence River with a 20-smallmouth haul for an unprecedented 102-09. "I was able to have a very good practice and I had high expectations, so to do well, it felt like my best tournament of the year.
"All the decisions I made were good and so was my execution – I never lost a really big fish."
He was almost as pleased with his performance at Lay due to the myriad of methods he used to catch fish.
"The first day I sight-fished, I threw a fog and I went out deep for (spotted bass)," he said. "I did all three again on the third day and then I spent most of the final day offshore.
"I didn't have to rely on one single thing. I had a lot of things going on that could get bites and I was confident doing all of them."
He's undecided on whether he'd rather win an AOY title or a Bassmaster Classic; of course, he'd like to do both, and sooner rather than later. He placed 7th in this year's Classic on the Tennessee River.
Next year's edition will take place at Grand Lake in Oklahoma, which is a venue he's visited a few times. He won the co-angler division of a Bassmaster Open there in 2019.
He's comfortable enough with his understanding of the lake that he probably won't make a pre-practice trip before it goes off-limits on Jan. 1.
"I've never fished there in the spring, but I know the areas and I know what the stuff in them looks like," he said. "I feel like I've got a pretty good handle on it."