By Joel Shangle

RALEIGH, N.C. – For Virginia pro Jacob Powroznik, the Favorite Fishing Stage Three Raleigh Presented by Evinrude was a two-part mission: first, to advance to the Championship Round; second, to take advantage of the conditions that existed once he got there.

Powroznik was successful in both missions. The Mercury pro fought his way through his first three rounds of competition on Falls and Jordan lakes, and then identified a very specific condition on Shearon Harris Reservoir in the final round to take home his first Bass Pro Tour trophy.

“I really wanted to make it to that final round because I know what kind of fish live in Shearon Harris, and I thought I had a pretty good idea of how (conditions) were shaping up that week,” Powroznik said. “I thought that I had a pretty good shot at doing well (on Shearon Harris) if I could just get there.”

It turns out that he was right: Powroznik landed 20 fish for 63 pounds, 4 ounces, besting Jacob Wheeler by just shy of 4 pounds to take home the Stage Three trophy.

Here’s how Powroznik did it:

Fishing Shallow on Shearon Harris

Powroznik was one of a small handful of anglers who could claim some previous fishing experience on Falls, Jordan and Shearon Harris: his home in Richmond lies roughly 90 minutes northeast of Raleigh, and he had fished Jordan, Falls and Shearon Harris “a handful of times” over the years. Consequently, Powroznik had a good idea what awaited him at Shearon Harris if he could battle his way through the Elimination and Knockout Rounds.

What he found that day was a steady shallow bite on a wacky-rigged 5-inch V&M Baits Chopstick (green pumpkin), a simple stick worm on which Powroznik caught the majority of his 20 fish.

Powroznik’s setup for the Chopstick included a 7-0 medium heavy Quantum Prism spinning rod and Quantum Smoke S3 spinning reel (size 30) spooled with 20-pound Hi-Seas Grand Slam Braid and a 10- to 15-pound Hi-Seas Fluorocarbon leader. His hook was a No. 1 Mustad TitanX Wacky Rig/Neko Hook. Powroznik used an O-ring and a Bass Pro Shops XPS Quick Rigger Tool to rig his worm wacky.

He also dipped the ends of the Chopstick in chartreuse dye to help match the main forage in the lake (bluegill).

Getting to the Championship

Powroznik endured a close call in the Elimination Round, earning the 20th and final spot by a scant 2 ounces over Michael Neal. He mixed it up on his Shotgun and Elimination days on Falls and Jordan with: a V&M Baits J-Bug, which he rigged on a 5/0 Mustad Denny Brauer Grip-Pin Max Flippin’ Hook (3/8-ounce Elite Tungsten weight), fished on a 7-10 heavy Quantum Tour PT flipping stick and Quantum Smoke S3 casting reel; and a Livingston Lures Shredder in shad colors.

He threw that crankbait on a 7-0 medium Quantum KVD casting rod and a Quantum Smoke S3 casting reel, eventually catching an 8-10 (his biggest fish of the event) on that crankbait with the EBS sound setting set to EBS Shad.

“That crankbait played a big role for me in those first two rounds, especially the Knockout Round,” Powroznik said.