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

Quick Bites: FLW Lake Wheeler, Day 3

Quick Bites: FLW Lake Wheeler, Day 3
Alton Jones hoists a fish from his Pro Division-leading five-bass catch Friday.

Wal-Mart FLW Tour
Lake Wheeler, Florence, Ala.
Friday: Pro semifinals, Co-angler finals

Third time's a charm, fourth would be a record ... Semifinal-round pro leader Alton Jones' continued domination of this FLW tournament isn't just impressive, it'll be a record if he continues his winning ways tomorrow. According to the unofficial record book, never before has anyone led an FLW tournament wire-to-wire and won. There have been close calls, but no one has led all four days to take the victory. In 2000, Rick Clunn led days two, three and four and won at Beaver Lake, Ark. On the EverStart Series, Arlie Napier also led days two, three and four to win at Kerr Lake, N.C., in 2001. Jones, who led for the third day in a row with a five-bass catch today of 12 pounds, 9 ounces, has caught the heaviest stringer of fish every day this week. But don't ask him to dwell on what would could be a very remarkable feat come tomorrow afternoon. He hadn't even considered it. "That's probably not a good statistic to hear (that no one has led the first three days and won)," he said. "Day four is the only day that counts. My goal has been to catch enough fish each day to make the cut. Today I kept fishing because I didn't know if I had enough to make the cut." But, like he said, tomorrow's when it counts and he will certainly be fishing to win. If he pulls it off and sets the record, will there be any pride involved? "Now that you mention it, that would be neat," he said.

Caldwell seconds ... Co-angler winner Doug Caldwell has won before, not at the FLW podium, but at the polls. Caldwell became mayor of the hamlet in northwestern Pennsylvania that he calls home, Kane, last November. With a population of about 2,000, he says being mayor of Kane is a mostly ceremonial job. But, he adds, "You do have some clout as mayor. When I retired from UPS, I needed something to fill the void." So what's better, winning an election or winning an FLW tournament? "(The FLW's) better," he says without hesitation. "It's good to get a win." ... Another Caldwell tidbit: The 64-year-old is the father of, count them, three sets of twins.

Bringin' home the Bacon ... I had to say it. Pro Basil Bacon has made the cuts and achieved third place in the semifinals despite catching only one fish during his entire practice period before the tournament. ... Perennial FLW finalist Clark Wendlandt also had trouble finding fish before the event, but has turned it on when it counts. "In practice I only caught one fish in four days," he said. "This week I just went fishing and it has kind of gotten a little better every day." Wendlandt, who placed a close second today with five bass weighing 12 pounds, 7 ounces, could be the biggest threat to red-hot Alton Jones if his fishing gets any better tomorrow.

He would know ... Catch weights were down today compared to the first two days of competition. A lot of anglers came in saying it was a tough day of fishing. Competitors pointed toward both a cold front that moved through and the Tennessee Valley Authority dropping the water level as the main reasons behind today's slower fishing. Despite qualifying for the finals in sixth place, pro Mark Rose said, "I really don't know how to fish at the mercy of this TVA system." But have no fear, big-bass fans, Saturday is another day at Lake Wheeler. "Tomorrow, you're going to see a show," said Gerald Swindle, a pro semifinalist out of Hayden, Ala., who calls this stretch of the Tennessee River his home water. "Wheeler is known for fish biting one day and not biting so well the next. That puts tomorrow on a good day."

Sound Bites

"Well, I've got a couple of secret holes in my secret hole."
- Pro Scott Martin, referring not to tomorrow's final round at Wheeler, but to the upcoming million-dollar Ranger M1 tournament in Mobile, Ala. Martin won the 2000 FLW event in Biloxi, Miss., by fishing the flats of Mobile Bay up the gulf coast - the site of this year's M1. Reminded that his "secret" fishing hole might not be so secret anymore after that Biloxi performance, Martin offered this amusing reply.

"I've been on the road so much the past seven years, dude, I haven't been able to fish this place except in a few tournaments."
- Gerald Swindle, who finished today in 15th place, debunking his so-called "home-lake advantage" this week.

Quick Links, Day 3

Caldwell crowned co-angler champion
Jones makes it three for three
Photos
Results
Press release

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

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