Krekovich goes wire-to-wire for Strike King co-angler win at Grand - Major League Fishing

Krekovich goes wire-to-wire for Strike King co-angler win at Grand

Image for Krekovich goes wire-to-wire for Strike King co-angler win at Grand
Matt Krekovich dominated the event on the Strike King co-angler side. Photo by Phoenix Moore. Anglers: Matt Krekovich, Todd Adamitis.
April 13, 2024 • Jody White • Toyota Series

GROVE, Okla. – After weighing a stupendous 22 pounds, 4 ounces on Day 1, Matt Krekovich never looked back in the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats Plains Division event on Grand Lake. Weighing bags in the low-teens the next two days, he earned the Strike King co-angler title by a wide margin with 49-6, taking home a Phoenix Boats package worth $33,500, plus qualification in the Toyota Series Championship.

The first day was obviously key to the win — and pretty epic.

“It was a day like no other, those are what dreams are made of,” said the Illinois co-angler. “To go out and catch that, especially behind these guys, with how good they are with the front-facing sonar, it was amazing. My Day 1 partner, Freeland Peterson, was a big contributing factor in my success. You catch 22 pounds, you set the mark. He was around bigs. With the wind blowing, and the guys having to control the boat, the trolling motor, I had the upper hand back there. I sacked them up.”

A huge Day 1 was key for Matt Krekovich. Photo by Phoenix Moore

On Day 1, Krekovich smoked them on a Carolina rig with a Zoom Baby Brush Hog. On Day 2, he caught fish on the C-rig, as well as a jig and a SPRO RKCrawler. The final day, fishing behind Cole Breeden, Krekovich employed a jerkbait, a Carolina rig and a shaky head with a worm and creature bait.

Though he won by a lot, Krekovich was not breathing easy on the final day.

“The nerves were really settling in — I’ve only won twice, the last time I won was in 2020,” he said. “Cole was targeting brush piles in much, much shallower water than I was comfortable. Day 3, with the wind blowing, his boat was literally sitting in 4 feet of water, sometimes 3 feet of water, and he’s throwing out. So, the Carolina rig thing was not working for me.”

When Breeden went back to a big fish he’d missed on Day 2, both he and Krekovich missed a chance to put the event away well before weigh-in.

“I went back to that fish I missed, and the wind was blowing on that stretch pretty good,” Breeden said. “There was another brush pile just down the bank from it, and I pulled up, on the pile I saw her on, and she wasn’t there. About 2 minutes later, my co-angler in the back of the boat says ‘Oh I’ve got one.’ I look back, and about a 7-pounder jumps out of the water. He broke the hook on his jerkbait, it came off, and she was sitting on that brush pile just down the bank.”

The co-angler in question was not feeling good after that without a limit in the livewell.

“I was spun out from there; I thought I was going to lose the event because of that,” Krekovich said. “I get my bait back, and on the back treble hook, two of the three barbs were completely busted off the back. That put me in a tailspin. I wasn’t right the rest of the day, and I’m watching him catch 3-pounder after 3-pounder to get to the weight he had.”

Though it really didn’t matter in the final tally, Breeden lent Krekovich a helping hand to finish out his limit.

“With about an hour left, he told me he was going to help me out the best he could,” Krekovich said.  “He literally would show me with a cast where he saw fish on his front-facing sonar, and I was able to catch a solid 2-pound fish doing that.”

The win was special for Krekovich, in part because he got to share it with friends.

“It was very special; my traveling partner, Todd Adamitis, we’ve been childhood friends since preschool,” he said. “He won the Toyota at Kentucky Lake. We were having dinner, and he made a comment ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we went back-to-back,” and it happened that way. It was a wonderful week at Grand Lake.”

Top 10 Strike King co-anglers

1. Matt Krekovich – 49 – 6 (15) – $33,500
2. Fred Fielder – 39 – 14 (14) – $4,734
3. Oliver Siebert – 39 – 10 (15) – $3,787
4. Scott Parsons – 37 – 9 (15) – $3,314
5. Justin Layton – 37 – 4 (12) – $2,990
6. Todd Adamitis – 36 – 15 (14) – $2,367
7. Terry Duffel – 35 – 5 (13) – $1,894
8. Dan Bowman – 34 – 12 (12) – $1,657
9. Mark Talley – 34 – 0 (12) – $1,420
10. Lee Roberts – 33 – 14 (10) – $1,184

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