Bass Pro Tour Stage 3 Recap

Bass Pro Tour Stage 3: Recap with James Elam

Stage 3 of the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour is a wrap. This was a unique event in Raleigh, North Carolina where anglers we tasked with competing on 3 different lakes with only 2 days of practice to scout them all. Jacob Powroznik took the $100,000 win using a spinning rod and a wacky rig to target bedding largemouth.

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Bass Pro Tour Stage 3: A Bite That Faded Away

After the first round, ANGLR Expert and BPT Pro James Elam was within striking distance of the top 20 cut in his group at 30th but fell to 34th in his second round and was eliminated before the Knockout Round.

“I just didn’t have a good tournament,” said Elam. “The falling water got me. The lakes there had been really high and had fallen a lot before we got there. By the time we got there, Jordan was only a foot high or so. I had a few bites that lead me astray. I was catching my fish super shallow, flipping bushes in the backs off the creeks and way up river where the whole lake is pretty shallow. The dropping water just killed that bite and I couldn’t adjust quick enough.”

Bass Pro Tour Stage 3: Fishing Three Different Bodies of Water

For Stage 3, the BPT visited Lake Jordan for the Shotgun Round, Falls Lake for the Elimination and Knockout Rounds and Sharron Harris for the Championship Round. Anglers were allowed 2 practice days to fish on either Lake Jordan or Falls Lake and 4 hours to ride around but not fish on Sharron Harris. Two and a half days to scout 3 lakes is a far cry from the customary 3 days or more of practice for 1 lake that these anglers are accustomed to from other trails. This further intensified the urgency that already permeates the Bass Pro Tour style format.

“That’s really the thing that caught up to me on this one. I practiced 1 day on each lake and ended up doing the wrong things on both lakes in practice and I still didn’t figure it out in the tournament. I’m sure some guys had a good practice and figured it out and some guys just figured it out in the tournament but I sure didn’t.”

Bass Pro Tour Stage 3 Recap(1)

“If you don’t find something in the limited practice then you’re left scratching your head and still looking when the tournament starts. And you know people are catching them because of the Scoretracker. That’s very stressful. If you don’t find them pretty quick you just get buried.”

“On Falls Lake I just threw a shaky head on deeper stuff. Which in hindsight, I was fishing the right stuff because that’s where Brandon Palaniuk caught a lot of fish on a swimbait. But the fish had seen so many spinnerbaits and other things I just couldn’t get those fish to bite. And it was the perfect wind for a swimbait and Palaniuk made the right call. I think a few guys caught some around there on a jerkbait too.”

Bass Pro Tour Stage 3 Recap(2)

Looking back on his time in Raleigh, Elam wishes he could have a do-over.

“I really enjoyed Lake Jordan. Unfortunately I missed out on a lot of the action there but that’s one of my favorite new fisheries that I’ve been to in the last few years for sure.”

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Bass Pro Tour Stage 3: Looking Forward

Next up on the Bass Pro Tour is Stage 4 on Lake Chickamauga. This is one that has all the anglers excited, promising to be a shallow water slugfest with fish in all stages of the spawn. Be sure to check back in with ANGLR after the event to see Elam’s recap for the midway point of the Bass Pro Tour season.

Interested in Information From the 2019 Bassmaster Classic?

Elam wore the ANGLR Bullseye during practice and competition. With one press of a button, Elam was able to capture GPS coordinates for each fish catch along with all sorts of weather and water data, time of day, and more. To gain access to Elam’s ANGLR Intelligence Pack from the Tennessee River, click here.

This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert

Become an ANGLR Expert and apply here.

James Elam


I am a Professional Bass Fisherman from Tulsa, OK. I have qualified for 4 Bassmaster Classics and fished on the Bassmaster Elite Series for 6 years. I am a Bassmaster Elite Series Champion and a 2X Bassmaster Opens Champion. I am now headed to fish the MLF Bass Pro Tour!

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