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

Pickett maintains leading pace

Pickett maintains leading pace
Lloyd Pickett, Jr., of Bartlett, Tenn., now leads the Stren Series event on Wheeler Lake with a two-day total of 38 pounds, 12 ounces.

DECATUR, Ala. - Mussels and big shad: That combination is definitely the dominant theme in finding quality bass on Wheeler Lake right now.

As day two of the Stren Series event on Lake Wheeler unfolded, it became apparent that pros dialed in on the big gizzard shad/mussel bed combination are fishing a different fishery than the rest of the field.

The words spoken Friday by tournament leader Lloyd Pickett Jr. of Bartlett, Tenn., and second-place pro James Johnson of Hartselle, Ala., are almost interchangeable because their patterns are so identical.

Pickett held on to the lead today with a 16-pound catch that now gives him a two-day total of 38 pounds, 12 ounces, providing him a 5-pound lead.

As he predicted, Pickett was unable to get on his best spot today due to a late boat draw.

"I couldn't get on it," Pickett said. "So I went to my next-best spot, which is the same kind of deal, and caught a 5- and a 4-(pounder). Then I broke a big one off that would have probably pushed me over 20 again today. She cut across the top of a shell bar and cut my line."

Pickett also noted that the big gizzard shad were not as active on his spots today.

"I think the passing cold front and the wind kind of knocked them back a little," Pickett said. "There was not near as much visible activity from those bigger shad. I actually downsized some of my baits to get a few more bites. But if the wind lays and the sun comes out bright tomorrow, those big gizzards should bunch back up on those spots."

Johnson second Pro James Johnson brought in 17 pounds, 10 ounces today to move into second place with a two-day total of 33 pounds, 13 ounces.

James Johnson brought in 17 pounds, 10 ounces today to move into second place with a two-day total of 33 pounds, 13 ounces.

Johnson is working an identical pattern to Pickett that involves bigger shad spawning over mussel beds in 5 to 10 feet of water.

Similar to Pickett, Johnson said he did not see as many of the big gizzards in his primary areas today either. The number of fish he caught declined substantially from yesterday: Johnson caught just seven keepers, but several were the right size including a 5-5, which claimed the Folgers Big Bass honors in the Pro Division.

"I had a lot more company today," Johnson said. "Plus the shad did not really get going until noon when the sun came out. And even then, we only saw a few - not near as many as yesterday. We need the sun to come out to pull those shad and bass back up on top of those spots."

Johnson added that he is using a ¾-ounce Tightline jig with a Zetabait trailer to catch his fish.

Kendrick third
Pro Jay Kendrick of Grant, Ala., slipped to third place today with a 10-pound, 12-ounce catch, which gives him a two-day total of 28 pounds, 7 ounces.
Jay Kendrick of Grant, Ala., slipped to third place today with a 10-pound, 12-ounce catch, which gives him a two-day total of 28 pounds, 7 ounces.

Kendrick, too, is chasing big shad across mussel bars.

"The great big shad are using those hard shell bars to spawn on - that's the deal," Kendrick said. "But the problem is those shad will move up and down those bars depending on the current flow, so sometimes it takes a while to figure out where they have moved to.

"This morning I did not get a bite for while, then moved down the bar about 100 yards and found the shad and bass schooled up down there. And when you find them, it's on. I went from not catching a thing to going through about 30 fish in 20 minutes."

Boyd fourth

Robert Boyd of Russellville, Ala., moved into the fourth-place spot today with a 13-pound, 6-ounce Pro Robert Boyd of Russellville, Ala., moved into the fourth place spot today with a 13-pound, 6-ounce catch to give him a two-day total of 27 pounds, 7 ounces.catch to give him a two-day total of 27 pounds, 7 ounces.

Boyd is cranking small ditches through flats in 9 to 10 feet of water.

"The whole key for me has been rock," Boyd said. "I've got a couple of places where there is rock in the middle of those ditches, and I'm just ticking them with a crankbait."

Canterbury fifth

Pro Scott Canterbury of Springville, Ala., moved into the top five today with a 14-pound, 3-ounce catch, putting him in fifth with a two-day total of 27 pounds, 5 ounce.Scott Canterbury of Springville, Ala., moved into the top five today with a 14-pound, 3-ounce catch, putting him in fifth with a two-day total of 27 pounds, 5 ounces.

Canterbury is the only pro among the top five who is mixing some shallow-water success in with his offshore game.

"I started out deep this morning and caught a decent limit, then went up shallow this afternoon and caught two nice ones that helped me cull up," Canterbury said. "The fish on my deep-water places are getting smaller and smaller, so I'm going to mix it up again tomorrow and hopefully get a few good bites shallow again."

Rest of the best

Rounding out the top 10 pros in the Stren Series Southeast event on Wheeler Lake after day two:

6th: Blake Nick of Bessemer, Ala., two-day total of 26-10
7th: Derek Hicks of Rocky Face, Ga., two-day total of 26-0
8th: Clark Smith of Pell City, Ala., two-day total of 25-14
9th: Ronnie Watts of Florence, S.C., two-day total of 25-2
10th: Mark Jones of Carriere, Miss., two-day total of 25-0

Tims leads co-anglers

Day-one co-angler leader Brian Tims of Vincent, Ala., continues to lead the Co-angler Division of the Stren Series event on Wheeler Lake with a two-day total of 23 pounds, 2 ounces. Day-one co-angler leader, Brian Tims of Vincent, Ala., continues to lead the Co-angler Division of the Stren Series event on Wheeler Lake with a two-day total of 23 pounds, 2 ounces.

Tims now has just a 1-pound, 4-ounce lead over second place.

Rest of the best

Dallas Judkins of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., maintained his second-place position on day two with a two-day total of 21 pounds, 14 ounces.

Michael Emberton of Tompkinsville, Ky., is in third place with a two-day total of 20 pounds, 5 ounces.

Larry Mullikin of Lauderhill, Fla., is in fourth place with a two-day total of 19 pounds, 6 ounces.

Robert Wood of Jupiter, Fla., rounds out the top five co-anglers with a two-day total of 19-3.

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers in the Stren Series Southeast event on Wheeler Lake after day two:

6th: Marty Denton of Hampton Cove, Ala., two-day total of 19-3
7th: Greg Hamblin of New Albany, Miss., two-day total of 19-3Dan Morrow of Eastanollee, Ga., caught the big bass in the Co-angler Division on day two weighing 4 pounds, 13 ounces.
8th: Anthony McBay of Athens, Ala., two-day total of 19-0
9th: John Skipper of Dothan, Ala., two-day total of 18-10
10th: Tony Prince of Pulaski, Tenn., two-day total of 18-9

Big bass

Dan Morrow of Eastanollee, Ga., caught the Folgers Big Bass in the Co-angler Division on day two weighing 4 pounds, 13 ounces.

Day three of the Stren Series Southeast event on Wheeler Lake begins Saturday at 6:30 a.m. at Ingalls Harbor in Decatur.

Tags: rob-newell  headline-story  2009-06-04-wheeler-lake 

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