Virginia’s Jacob Powroznik, 36, is the 2014 Bassmaster Rookie of the Year. Though a veteran of other professional bass circuits, Powroznik was new to the Bassmaster Elite Series and was in contention for bass fishing’s most prestigious prize — Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year — until the final day of competition Monday in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship.
Powroznik posted top 32 finishes in every Elite event but one in 2014 and became just the sixth rookie to win an Elite tournament when he outpaced the field at Toledo Bend Reservoir in May. The win earned him a six-figure payday and his first Bassmaster Classic berth.
“That’s the Super Bowl of Bass Fishing,” he said. “I’ve worked for sponsors at the Classic Expo, but never qualified to fish it. Sitting in that arena and watching all those people lit a fire under me. I was like, ‘Hey, I don’t want to be in that crowd anymore. I want to be walking across that stage.’”
Powroznik defeated one of the toughest rookie fields in history to claim ROY, and he’s well aware of the accomplishment and statement it makes about his talents.
“It means a lot. It’s something I’ll probably remember my whole life.”
Powroznik was awarded the ROY trophy during the final weigh-in of the Angler of the Year Championship on Bays de Noc in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Although he caught more pounds of bass in the weather-shortened event than anyone else, Powroznik finished third in the AOY race behind Greg Hackney and Todd Faircloth.
His bonus for third place in the Toyota Bassmaster AOY standings was $38,500, which boosted his winnings on the Bassmaster Elite Series circuit to $204,000 for his rookie year.
Image courtesy Seigo Saito/Bassmaster