Surrounded by humid and competitive-rich air prior to blast-off, Jacob Powroznik sat calmly cleaning his polarized sunglasses in the pre-dawn darkness of 6:30 a.m. on Northeast Florida’s St. Johns River.
A brand new Bassmaster Elite Series Season was about to begin, and even dogs, women, and children who lined the dock, seemed to know the day ahead would be centered on spawning bass.
“It’s no secret a lot of us are about to run 35 minutes and crowd into that famous spawning flat on Lake George. And while we all have great equipment, the guys that will catch ‘em the best are the ones that can slow down and stay mentally focused,” says Powroznik.
“Proof of what I’m saying is in the results of guys like Dean Rojas and Alton Jones – they seem to catch them every time we come to Florida, because they know that even though they maybe surrounded by a crowd of other great anglers, if they put their mental blinders on, keep their heads down, and keep lookin’ for five good catchable bass – eventually they’ll catch what they need. And that’s just it – you only need 5 – and you have all day to get ‘em,” explains Powroznik.
Rojas and Jones are for sure among the best spawning bass anglers in the game, but Powroznik has also proven himself as one of the very best at the visually oriented technique too – and he proved it with his 2014 Bassmaster Elite Series victory on Toledo Bend that centered on bedding fish.
The good-hearted Virginia pro offers these tips for anglers interested in improving their sight fishing skills.
What To Look For: “On lakes with lots of vegetation, you’re looking for holes in the thick grass – and then light spots on the bottom of the lake below those holes in the grass,” says Powroznik. “In Florida, where the water is so dark or tannic colored, like tea-colored, the beds on the bottom look sort of gold or orange.”
Quality Sunglasses and the Right Colored Lenses: “Buy quality sunglasses, and if you can possibly afford it, buy two pair – one with green mirror lenses for bright sunny days – and on cloudy days, I wear a lens color that Costa makes called “sunrise” – that particular lens is a game changer to seeing bedding fish on cloudy days or under low light really early in the morning,” says Powroznik.
Supersticks and Power-Poles: “Hydraulic Power-Poles are shallow water anchors that you see on the back of every pro’s boat – and they have absolutely revolutionized the way we’re able to fish for bedding bass by allowing us to keep the boat positioned exactly where we want in relation to the bass,” says Powroznik. “And by using a Superstick push pole to move along a shallow area, I can avoid using the trolling motor, which will spook a lot of bass.”
Tackle for Bedding Fish: “I use spinning tackle if bass are super finicky and I need to cast lighter lures, but around thick cover, and for the most part, I’ll pitch Texas-rigged plastics on a 7’ 6” Smoke rod, with 65-pound Hi Seas braid spooled on a really fast 8.1:1 Quantum Smoke reel. You need all the speed you can get in the fraction of a second you have to close the deal when a bedding fish finally commits to eat your lure.”