Persistent refinement put Bryan Schmitt on track to sacking up a four-day total of 63 pounds, 4 ounces and claiming his second blue trophy at the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at Mississippi River.
Hailing from Deale, Md., Schmitt took the Day 1 lead with 17-0 — the event’s second heaviest bag — and followed that with bags of 14-3 and 14-12.
Schmitt, who won his first Elite on Lake Champlain in 2021, started Championship Monday in third place, trailing Canadian pro Chris Johnston by 2-1. Adding 16-11 in the final round, Schmitt edged Johnston by just 4 ounces and won the $100,000 prize. He also earned an automatic berth into the 2023 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic scheduled for March 24-26 in Knoxville, Tenn.
“I’d rather have a blow-out win because this is too stressful,” Schmitt said of the dramatic finish. “When Chris brought his bag up, it…