Fishing & Boating News

Przekurat Works Wood Walleyes for 2016 NWT Championship

Wisconsin walleye pro utilizes Humminbird® and Minn Kota® technologies to take top finish on South Dakota’s Lake Oahe

by: Jim Edlund, Traditions Media, LLC

Pro Jason Przekurat- 2016 Cabela’s National Walleye Tour (NWT) Champion
Photo by courtesy Cabelas NWT
(Aug 11, 2016 - Racine, WI) Anglers pre-fishing for the 2016 Cabela’s National Walleye Tour (NWT) Championship in Mobridge, South Dakota, struggled with strong winds. Even hail.
Yet, despite the challenges—difficult, post-frontal walleyes and limited practice—Humminbird®/Minn Kota® pro Jason Przekurat put on a stellar performance for his first NWT Championship win on South Dakota’s Lake Oahe.
“Winning a major pro-am championship has been a personal goal since I started my professional career. Now that I’ve accomplished it, it’s like a dream come true—an important step as I continue down the pro fishing path,” says Przekurat.
This NWT Championship win adds an exclamation point to Przekurat’s walleye fishing résumé, which includes a 2000 MWC team win, a 2007 FLW win, and two FLW Angler of the Year (AOY) titles (2003 & 2007).
The key to his most recent success? “Time management,” says Przekurat.
Finding Good Wood
“The Side Imaging on my HELIX 10 SI GPS helped me eliminate unproductive water quickly and focus on the key stretches for the event. I set the SI range to look 150 to 200 feet off each side of the boat so I could cover water fast. I would drop waypoints at the start and end of each cluster of trees, so I’d know exactly where I was all the time and when I could turn around to make another trolling pass. I wanted to stay just on the edgeof the trees. Being able to see both sides made it easy for me to keep the boat right where it needed to be.
“I don't think most anglers realize just how important and powerful Side Imaging is. Plus, the HELIX 10 screen is ultra-bright and shows me incredible details. For example, I could see walleyes on my HELIX sonar 60 feet down in 100 feet of water! In my business, it really comes down to the details like that.”
In Przekurat’s case, Side Imaging revealed flooded cottonwood and willow trees -  excellent habitat for both bait and walleyes - throughout the Missouri River system. Some years ago, these same South Dakota waters (along with Nebraska’s Lake McConaughy) gave birth to a radical new walleye presentation pattern: trolling bass-style spinnerbaits over treetops, which resulted in unprecedented numbers of big walleyes.
“The spinnerbait bite still exists and works, but this time of year, the bigger fish are deeper. To get a spinnerbait down that deep is pretty difficult. That’s why I was using cranks with as much as six ounces of lead,” says Przekurat.
“I had two different kinds of trees that produced: deep trees in 90 feet of water topping out at 50 feet and ‘shallow’ trees in 40 feet topping out at 10 feet. Side Imaging helped me key in on both types. In general, I caught my biggest fish in the deeper trees on Berkley Flicker Minnow crankbaits, and the most fish in the shallower trees on Flicker Shads.”
Boat Control
Przekurat also credits his bow-mount Minn Kota Ulterra trolling motor for improved tournament time management. The Ulterra automatically stows, deploys and trims with the mere press of a button.
“I used the Ulterra to troll the entire tournament. Didn’t use the kicker at all. I had no problems whatsoever trolling my target 1.8 mph all day. Seriously, it’s ridiculous how much time the Ulterra is saving me. As I’m reeling that last lure up, I’m already in stow mode, my life jacket is on, and I’m gone! Same thing when I get to the next spot. I’m deploying and ready to fish.
“There’s the safety aspect, too. Walking up to the bow in four-foot waves can get dangerous. To be able to sit in my driver’s seat and just hit a button eliminates that risk.”
The Ulterra also maintains precise boat control, critical when one fish can literally mean thousands of dollars. Przekurat’s is equipped with i-Pilot® Link™, which he uses to “follow the contour” on his LakeMaster map or pre-determined routes/tracks.
“For this tournament I simply set AutoPilot and monitored that course direction line on my HELIX 10 screen to make sure I was in line with the next waypoint. That way, I didn’t have to worry about boat control during the chaos of reeling fish in, netting them, taking them off and getting them in the livewell.”
Przekurat finished the event with a final weight of 36.67 lbs. for $88,566 in cash and prizes.
His next big tournament?
Wisconsin’s Przekurat is also the coach of the Stevens Point High School Bass Team, and his group of kids is currently preparing to compete at the Northern Open on Minnesota’s Mille Lacs Lake.
“We’ve got three boats going, so with any luck, one of the teams will qualify for the regional in Indiana on the Ohio River!”
About Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics, Inc.
Johnson Outdoors Marine Electronics, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Johnson Outdoors  and consists of the Minn Kota®, Humminbird® and Cannon® brands. Minn Kota is the world’s leading manufacturer of electric trolling motors, as well as offers a complete line of shallow water anchors, battery chargers and marine accessories. Humminbird is a leading global innovator and manufacturer of marine electronics products including fishfinders, multifunction displays, autopilots, ice flashers, and premium cartography products. Cannon is the leader in controlled-depth fishing and includes a full line of downrigger products and accessories.