UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Quick Bites: FLW Lake Wheeler, Day 2

Quick Bites: FLW Lake Wheeler, Day 2
Dean Rojas shows off a 5-pound, 13-ounce bass during weigh-in. Rojas' catch was good enough to win the Big Bass award for the day and help him qualify for the semifinals.

Wal-Mart FLW Tour
Lake Wheeler, Florence, Ala.
Opening round, Thursday

Quick Numbers

84: Combined number of top-10 finishes on the FLW Outdoors circuit compiled by this week's 20 pro semifinalists.
48: Combined number of top-10 finishes on the Wal-Mart FLW Tour compiled by the pro semifinalists.
6: Combined number of FLW victories by the semifinalists. (Half of which, three, belong to Clark Wendlandt. The other previous winners are Larry Nixon, Gerald Swindle and Scott Martin.)
8: Combined number of FLW runner-up finishes by the semifinalists.

Rookie rebellion quashed ... The uprising of new talent that we saw at last month's FLW Okeechobee tournament has been put to rest this week. The pros who qualified for the semifinals are a veritable cast of bass-fishing all-stars. They bring an impressive track record into the final two days here at Lake Wheeler. Of the top 20 pros following this week's opening round, 14 have already notched at least one FLW top-10 finish. Of the six who haven't, only four of those can truly be considered as newcomers to bass fishing's high-achievement club. The other two, Dean Rojas and Gary Yamamoto, both with no previous top-10s yet, have both just begun their FLW careers in earnest by signing on with the tour this year. Bass-fishing fans know that Rojas is famous for catching the 45-pound, world-record five-bass stringer in a B.A.S.S. tournament at Florida's Lake Toho last year, and Yamamoto is head of one of the industry's most visible bait companies.

Team Yamaha ... When Yamaha motors joined up with the FLW Tour last year, it brought along some serious fishing talent. Three Yamaha-sponsored pros made the cut today. In addition to Rojas (seventh place) and Yamamoto (10th place), Alton Jones led the field with a 35-pound, 13-ounce opening round, crushing the next closest pro by almost 10 pounds. Let's not forget that Jay Yelas, a Yamaha pro who finished today in 28th place, took third place at Okeechobee in January. All of these big-name anglers are either new to the FLW in 2002 or have rejoined the tour after a year-or-two hiatus.

From worst to first with Mr. Jones ... Poulan-sponsored co-angler Armil Morgan is thanking his lucky chainsaws that he was paired up with pro leader Jones today. On Wednesday he zeroed. Today, fishing out of the back of Jones' boat, he caught five bass weighing 16 pounds and took first place in his division for the opening round. That means he caught more bass in one day, Thursday, than the rest of the co-angler field could muster in two days combined. Today, the pro and co-angler both caught the heaviest weight in their respective divisions (Jones had 19-3 Thursday) and they combined for an enormous 35 pounds, 3 ounces of bass caught out of one boat. So what is going on in that boat? "Instead of fishing deep water and steep bluffs, we fished creek channels and used bigger baits," Morgan said. "Today I used a bait I never thought I'd be using here." As for Jones, he said he didn't even intend to catch as much weight as he did today. It was an accident. "We just went practicing and I found four new places (to fish). It's just one of those things," he explained, adding, "I know exactly the kind of water the fish are holding on, so I can kind of run around and catch the big ones. I'm surprised nobody else has figured it out yet."

Rick ClunnAngler's quest ... Frustrated pro Rick Clunn is searching for answers. The all-time FLW Tour career money winner - an angler who once placed first-second-first in successive tournaments (in 2000) - hasn't made a cut on tour since March of last year, which is unusual for him. He continued that uncharacteristic trend this week by finishing in 36th place with a two-day weight of 15 pounds, 7 ounces. This tournament was supposed to be tailor-made for the bass-fishing legend. He has already won an FLW on the Wheeler-Wilson-Pickwick chain once, in 2000, and placed second here in 1998. While he came roaring back today with a five-bass weight of 12-7, he started this week Wednesday with a meager 3-0. What happened? "I don't know what happened yesterday, I really don't," the straightforward pro said following Thursday's weigh-in. "I was very confidant coming into this tournament. I like the conditions here a lot. It's cold this time of year and that lends itself to fishing crankbaits and jigs, which I like. ... There are certain tournaments where it's hard to make the (top-20) cut and there are ones where it's easy to make the cut. It should have been easy to make the cut here. There's no reason why I shouldn't be fishing tomorrow. This one hurt more."

JapanSound Bites

"The guy's quiet. All I could hear was fish flopping around back there all day."
- Pro Randy Hutson, who fished with Japanese co-angler Katsutoshi Furusawa Wednesday. Furusawa - whose English is still a little rough around the edges - caught 7 pounds, 10 ounces of bass and made the cut while Hutson only caught 3-3 and finished the tournament.

"My wife asked me what I was going to give up for Lent. I think it was catching fish."
- Pro Allan Cauthen, who finished in 140th place with an two-day weight of 3-4.

Quick Links, Day 2

Jones crushes pro field on Lake Wheeler, tightens grip on first place
Photos
Results
Tomorrow's pairings
Press release

Tags: jeff-schroeder  quick-bites  2002-02-13-lake-wheeler 

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Quick Bites: Forrest Wood Cup, Lake Lanier, Day 4

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READ MORE »

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READ MORE »