Canadian standout Cory Johnston made his Bassmaster Elite Series debut in 2019 and quickly established himself as a consistent performer with six Top-10 performances, including an eighth-place finish in his first Elite event on the St. Johns River.
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Johnston, who travels the Elite Series with his younger brother Chris, finished third in the Bassmaster Angler of the Year points in 2019 and 16th in 2020. He’ll fish his second Bassmaster Classic in June. Here are his 5 favorite must-haves for his bass rig.
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Wacky rig pliers. It’s the inevitability that Elite anglers often face — pitching or skipping a wacky-rigged stick worm. O-rings preserve baits longer than piercing the plastic, but getting them onto a bait can be challenging without a mounting tool. Johnston prefers pliers with L shaped jaws.
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Johnston finds that the friction of rolling O-rings onto a Senko discolors the bait. That’s why he’s a big fan of using wacky rig pliers to expand an O-ring for precise placement.
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GeigerTec Marine Carbon Series Mounts. Johnston secures his Garmin electronics with a GeigerTec Marine Carbon Series mount, which features a powder coated billet aluminum frame with black, hand-laid carbon fiber backing for a lightweight profile.
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Johnston’s electronics mounts feature nut-and-bolt fasteners, which provide more solidity than screws, which can back out during rough rides.
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Wide brim straw hat. Sight fishing requires shielding one’s eyes from glare and light intrusion. For this, Johnston finds he gets better shading with a Power-Pole straw hat, which creates an umbrella effect and yields optimal vision for his shallow water search.
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Not only does a wide brim hat aid in sight fishing, it also keeps the sun off Johnston’s neck and offers an alternative to hooded sun shirts. A chin string allows him to snug the hat during windy days or when he’s running.
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Transom saver. Traveling the country, often over bumpy roads, Johnston finds that his GeigerTec Marine Transom Saver helps prevent damage with a lightweight, stainless steel frame that’s easy to install and remove.
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The Transom Saver’s quick release system makes it convenient to remove and store during morning launches. Simplifying the daily routine benefits the overall operation.
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Trailer parking brake. As often as an Elite Series pro launches a boat and parks a trailer, securing those wheels is a constant consideration. Simplifying the task, Johnston appreciates the parking brake included on his Ranger trailer. No need to carry wheel chocks; he simply lowers the lever and he’s good to go.
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With the parking brake engaged, Johnston has no worry about potential hazardous rolling. It's one less thing to consider and allows him to focus on fishing.