Inside Elite Boats: John Crews

John Crews, Champion of the AFTCO Bassmaster Elite at St. Johns River, poses with his brand new 2022 BassCat Puma STS powered by a 250-horsepower Mercury Pro XS outboard.
“This is the best 20-foot bass boat that I’ve ever had,” Crews said. “The ride, the performance, the layout and everything else just makes the boat so functional.”
In 2022, Crews opted to use the Lowrance Ghost trolling motor.
As you can tell, the shaft of the trolling motor is home to several transducers.
The reason why there’s so many transducers is because much like in 2021, Crews is running three different brands of electronics on the bow of his boat.
Crews uses his Garmin unit strictly for LiveScope, the Lowrance for waypoint management and 2D Sonar, while the Humminbird is primarily used for 360-Imaging as well as LakeMaster Mapping.
One interesting feature of the new Puma STS is the Talos Lightning Detector. If lightning is within a certain distance of his boat, Crews will receive a flash on his detector.
Another look at Crews’ busy trolling motor.
Crews finds the unique layout of the Puma STS to be very functional, allowing him to hold the maximum amount of tackle.
A closer look at the storage areas.
During competition, Crews carries roughly 20 rods, but he says he could easily bring more if necessary.
The rod locker features a tubed section where rods have their own individual holes, but the bottom section of the locker is clear, allowing anglers to store a lot more rods.
The new latches that are featured on the compartments are very sleek and low profile.
The driver’s side rod locker holds a little bit of everything.
A helmet, a dozen or so hats, life jackets, cold weather gear, another six or so rods and his raingear.
While in Florida, Crews relied mostly on his Striker Adrenaline Rain Suit, but when the weather gets cold, he relies heavily on his Striker Denali Suit.
The two parallel compartments closest to the bow of the boat are primarily used for Crews’ Spro hard baits.
Crews keeps his “good luck charms” in every BassCat he has.
His lucky lures have come from a variety of different places, but they stay in every boat he’s had since he got them.
Crews hears a disturbance off in the distance, as a bank fisherman has hooked up with a nice bass behind him.
The bank fisherman got the bass hung up in some thick grass, so Crews made a quick move towards his push pole, in hopes of dragging the bass towards the bank.
After a solid team effort, the bass is captured.
Crews poses with the fisherman, after a hard-fought battle.
Alright, back to the boat tour. Crews digs around in the main center compartment.
This compartment is home to mostly soft plastic.
Crews designed and developed the Missile Bait Bag, which he uses for all of his soft plastics storage. The bag has a flat bottom, so it stands up nicely.
This Missile Bait Bag is home to Crews’ stash of Missile Quiver worms. This is one of the baits he relied heavily upon to win the first Elite Series event of the 2022 season.
The next box Crews pulls out is his Spro Little John box.
“I jam as many Spro Little Johns in this box as possible,” he said. “This is my go-to, never leave the boat box.”
The step to the front could be used as a cooler, but Crews uses it to store a few miscellaneous items.
Amongst the items is his T-H Marine Culling System.
This is the face Crews makes when reminded of his forgettable final day at the Harris Chain.
The measuring board has a nifty spot behind the driver’s console.
The first look at Crews’ setup at the console of the boat.
Like many other Elites, Crews runs a T-H Marine Hot Foot. Another nice addition is a place to hold his phone.
Crews runs a 12-inch Humminbird and Lowrance unit at the console.
In between the two seats is another storage box that holds more miscellaneous items.
By simply lifting the box up, a cooler is built-in underneath.
The seats pull up and provide even more extra storage.
Crews is honoring the late, great Aaron Martens with a large sticker on the side of his boat.
The two cup holders on the floorboard are a perfect place to store dips and dyes.
The material used in the bottom of the boat helps the floor to dry significantly quicker. A giant drainage rectangle helps tremendously as well.
“The BassCat livewells are awesome,” he said. “The triangular shape prevents the water from sloshing around and they are super deep, so they hold a ton of water.”
Crews usually keeps the compartment behind the passenger seat pretty open for his Bassmaster Marshals to store their things.
A very nifty compartment is the one between the battery compartment and the livewells.
This compartment allows easy access to his Power-Pole pumps as well as the screens to the livewell pumps.
“I probably should clean this,” he said with a laugh as he showed off the livewell screen.
Behind the driver’s seat is a little extra tackle, including a hook bag that he’s had for more than 25 years.
Crews points to one of his favorite pieces of equipment he has in his boat – the Power-Pole Charge.

“The Power-Pole Charge is quietly one of the most revolutionary parts to the modern bass boat, in my opinion,” he said. “It maximizes power better than anything out else out there.”

A closer look at the Power-Pole Charge.
Despite all of his electronics, Crews only runs two Lithium Pros batteries for his entire boat. He mentioned that the Power-Pole Charge is a big reason why he’s able to do that.
“I could literally fish for a week without ever having to recharge anything,” said Crews.
The battery compartment is extremely easy to get to because the lids easily detach.
Crews’ Mercury outboard is mounted on an 8-inch T-H Marine Atlas Hydraulic Jack Plate.
His 8-foot Power-Pole Blades are also attached to the jackplate.
“The Mercury 250 is the power plant of the rig,” he said.
Thanks for the tour, John!