2023 St. Croix Bassmaster Opens Series kicks off this week at Alabama’s Lake Eufaula

Invitations to Bassmaster Elite Series and Classic 2024 up for grabs; St. Croix Rewards is also available

The 2023 St. Croix Bassmaster Open Series kicks off this week in Division 1 action in Lake Eufaula, Alabama, where a field of 225 boats, professionals, and accompanying co-anglers will compete for a total payout of more than $250,000. Also at stake is an invitation to the winner of the professional division tournament to the 2024 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic, as well as EQ points that could result in an invite to fish for the coveted 2024 Bassmaster Elite Series. The competition will take held at Lakepoint State Park Marina, March 2-4.

Current forecasts for Eufaula call for water temperatures to be around 60 degrees by tournament time, which should work well for a strong pre-spawn/spawn shallow water pattern and heavy bags.

St. Croix Rewards Program

St. Croix Rod would like to remind all pros and co-anglers who fish any 2023 St. Croix Bassmaster Open event that they can earn even more with St. Croix Rewards, as long as they are fishing at least one St. Croix rod.

The St. Croix Rod Rewards Program pays an additional $1,000 to any registered professional angler who wins a St. Croix Bassmaster Open tournament fishing St. Croix rods, OR $500 to the top 10 registered professional angler who has ever fished St. Croix rods.

Similarly, the program awards an additional $500 to any registered co-angler who wins a St. Croix Bassmaster Open tournament angling St. Croix rods, OR $250 to the highest ranked registered among the top 10 co-anglers angling St. Croix Bassmaster Open. St Croix.

Anglers must register during on-site registration prior to the tournament to be eligible to earn St. Croix Rewards.

anglers to follow

A variety of St. Croix staff members are expected to fish the Division 1 St. Croix Bassmaster Opens event at Lake Eufaula this week, including Hunter Bland, Chad Grigsby, Bobby Lanham, Trey McKinney, Kenny Mittelstaed, Ron Ryals and Dawson. Wisner.

Kenny Mittelstaed of Minnetonka, Minnesota, has been fishing the Opens since 2018 and has committed to fishing all nine events this season in hopes of qualifying for the 2024 Elites. “My wife and I live full time in our motor home and travel across the country to participate in bass tournaments,” says Mittelstaed. “I am super excited to start the season at Eufaula Lake in Alabama. I had never fished there before which I think is really exciting. My favorite thing in the world is launching my boat in a whole new place and figuring out how to catch a bass in unfamiliar waters.” Mittelstaed says he expects dirty water and lots of motor fishing in less than 10 feet of water in Eufaula. “I know my chatterbaits will work out on my 7’2″ HM Mojo Bass Glass rod,” he says. “I’m super excited for this season long journey and all the ups and downs that come along with it!”

Maple Grove, Minnesota angler Chad Grigsby is a familiar face and talent in bass circles. He has been fishing nationally full time for 20 years: 18 on the FLW/MLF tour and two seasons in Bassmaster Elites. Grigsby says he has two basic goals for angling the Opens this season. “I’m fishing all nine events in hopes that I can finish in the top nine in points and qualify for the elites again,” he says. “The other goal would be to win one of the nine events to get into the Bassmaster Classic.” Grigsby is optimistic about the event in Eufaula this week. “I think it will be very good. The water is stable and warming up and it looks like we’re going to have pretty good weather all week. I look forward to having my favorite St. Croix rod in my hand all week: the 7’6” Legend-X MHMF, flipping and casting off every tree stump or piece of deck that gets in my way! It should be a good time.”

Originally from Westminster, Maryland, Dawson Wisner joined the United States Army in 2017 and shipped out to Colorado Springs, Colorado where he found his love and passion for tournament bass fishing. “After my time in the service, with $500 in my pocket, I packed up my Jeep and headed to Palatka, Florida to live my bass fishing dream,” says Wisner.

Entering his fourth season on the Bassmaster Opens trail as a co-angler, Wisner has racked up multiple top-tens and has come close to winning more than a few times. “My main goal is to keep a positive mental attitude and come out of this year with a win,” says Wisner, who plans to fish all three Division 1 events this season. “I tend to do my best when challenged with a body of water I’ve never been in, so I always look forward to fishing new spots. I really need to catch them this week, I’m behind on my rent and I don’t want to come home to an angry landlord! he adds.

Wisner faces some unique challenges as a co-angler. Mainly, he has no control over where he is fishing in the back of the boat. “There are a few different techniques that I think will work well for me this week, but the main player is going to be a jerkbait,” says Wisner. If my boater is fishing stumps or brush piles, I can cast a jerkbait behind the boat and hook up with cruising or suspended fish. I like a jerkbait rod with a bit of backbone, so my number one choice is a St. Croix Legend Elite that casts 6’10” with medium power and extra fast action. The sensitivity of that rod is another key feature for detecting subtle bite on slack line.”

Hunter Bland, a St. Croix staff member and National Safe Boating Ambassador from Williston, Florida, is beginning his sixth season at the Bassmaster Open. He plans to fish all three Division 1 events this season, hopefully winning one and earning his ticket to the 2024 Bassmaster Classic. “I’m excited to start the year in Alabama with some beautiful warm weather ahead,” he says. “The fish should be in multiple stages, so I’m looking to keep an open mind this week. The fish are on the move and it will be important to make key adjustments to stay with the fish as the week progresses.” In addition to winning an event, Bland says his goals this season are to fish clean, stay positive and work hard. “Every day is a blessing and a gift, so no matter how the cards fall, I am extremely grateful to be here racing Lake Eufaula this week,” says Bland. “I have never been to Lake Eufaula, but I am looking to play to my strengths. I hope to be swimming a Missile Mini Swim Jig on a Legend Tournament Bass 7’3” MH WORKHORSE rod or casting a babble on a 7’2” HM RIP-N-CHATTER” rod.

Follow all the action from the 2023 St. Croix Bassmaster Opens Series at https://www.bassmaster.com/bass-pro-shops-bassmaster-opens.

2023 St. Croix Bassmaster Open Calendar

division 1
March 2-4, Eufaula Lake, Eufaula, Alabama.
May 18-20, Wheeler Lake, Decatur, Alabama.
October 12-14, Harris Chain of Lakes, Leesburg, Florida.

division 2
April 13-15, Toledo Bend, Many, La.
June 15-17, Eufaula Lake, Eufaula, Oklahoma.
September 22-24, Lake of the Ozarks, Osage, Mo.

division 3
May 3-5, Buggs Island Reservoir, Clarksville, Virginia.
July 20-22, St. Lawrence River, Waddington, New York
September 14-16, Watts Bar Reservoir, Kingston, Tennessee.

About Santa Cruz Rod
Based in Park Falls, Wisconsin, St. Croix has proudly produced the “World’s Best Rods” for 75 years. Combining state-of-the-art manufacturing processes with skilled labor, St. Croix is ​​the only major producer that still builds rods completely from design to fabrication. The company remains family-owned and operates duplicate manufacturing facilities in Park Falls and Fresnillo, Mexico. With popular trademarked series like Legend®, Legend Xtreme®, Avid®, Premier®, Imperial®, Triumph® and Mojo, St. Croix is ​​revered by all types of anglers around the world.