UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - James River

Wheeler’s turn

Wheeler’s turn
Twix pro Jonathan Newton enjoys a beautiful sunrise with his son Mason at the EverStart Series launch on Wheeler Lake.

During 2013, the EverStart Series has set up shop on a couple of the best lakes along the TVA chain at their premium times.

Back in February, the Southeast Division visited Lake Guntersville and saw a bevy of limits in the upper 20's with two bags over 30 pounds. That event was won with a three-day total of 86 pounds, 7 ounces.

Just last week the Central Division stopped on the banks of Pickwick Lake and again big TVA bass were brought to the scales with multiple mid 20-pound sacks and a massive 33-pound limit that boggled a few minds. That event was won with a three-day total of 79 pounds, 11 ounces.

Now it's Wheeler's turn to show off its bass stock as the Southeast Division wraps up its four-tournament schedule on the lake "in the middle."

Can Wheeler Lake even hold a Snoopy rod to what its neighbors to the east and west have showcased this year in terms of big catches?

With fishing conditions again at a premium this week, Wheeler is going to have a chance to show out as well, and many anglers think Wheeler will not disappoint either.

"The water is at full pool, the water temperature is 65 degrees, there is a lot of current in the system - yeah they're biting," said Twix pro Jonathan Newton of nearby Rogersville, Ala. "This lake is really going to shine today. A 30-pound bag might be a stretch, but this lake is definitely capable of some mid 20's right now and I think we'll see one or two of those kinds of bags today."

Massive amounts of water continue to roll through the TVA system in the wake of several weeks of heavy rainfall. Guntersville is high and Pickwick is out of the banks, but Newton says Wheeler is right at full pool as of this morning.

"It looks higher farther up the river, especially Decatur and above because it pinches the water off up there and it backs up a foot or two higher," he explained. "But down here at the dam, it's pool level."

"The water temperatures are still low and the current is strong - those two factors combined will help the bite tremendously this week," Newton continued. "That current just stacks these fish up in such Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury is leading the Southeast Division points race.predictable locations - just like it did at Pickwick last week - and we'll see that here, too. Everyone is going to catch a bunch of bass, no doubt."

Chasing Canterbury

Also at stake this week is a ticket to the Forrest Wood Cup via being the EverStart Series Southeastern Division points leader.

Currently leading the race is Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury with 564 points. Just six points behind him is Tony Davis of Williston, Fla. followed by Barry Wilson of Birmingham, Ala., who is 17 points off the lead.

Both Davis and Wilson owned up to having great practices and will be ready to pounce should Canterbury stumble.

"I feel good about getting into the teens weight wise today," Davis said. "I'm a shallow-water fisherman from Florida so conditions are in my favor compared to what they would be if the water was low. The water has come up and the fish came up with it. There is a new moon which should help keep them up for a few more days."

"I've got a few places I'm pretty excited about getting to this morning," Davis said nervously. "The fish are there I'm just worried about other boats getting there first. I've got a late boat draw and these are small areas - a couple of boats in each spot could hurt them."
Tony Davis, who is second in the Southeast Division points race, gives a thumbs up before day one.
"The other thing that worries me is the lake has the potential to kick out some 25-pound limits right now," he added. "And if Scott is on that kind of fish, or one of the guys behind me is on that kind of fish, then I don't know how it will shake out. I like my chances but things would have to go really well for me to have that kind of weight today."

Wilson also likes what he has found this week.

"I had a couple of strong 20-pound plus days in practice," he said. "I've caught good fish both shallow and deep. Conditions are prime up and down the lake for big bags. The water is still cold for this time of year and the current is running hard. The fish are wadded up in tight groups and once an angler gets on one of those type places he can accumulate a lot of weight in a hurry."

The buzz among the early-morning dock talk was mostly about anglers who are willing to take a gamble to make a long run of some 60 miles to the Guntersville dam to work the heavy currents in the tailrace.

A similar pattern was responsible for some top finishes at the Pickwick event last week when pros locked into Wilson and fished the Wheeler dam tailrace. Locking is not allowed in this event, however, a long run up the Tennessee River to the next dam is certainly in play and will probably be attempted today.Barry Wilson will be chasing an EverStart Series Southeast Division points title with a Strike King 10XD today.

Word is a high 20-pound bag is possible up there but there is only enough room for about four or five boats on the premium stuff. Making a 60-mile run only to find a dozen other boats already crammed into the juice could be a disaster.

Logistics

Anglers will take off from Joe Wheeler State Park at 4601 McLean Drive in Rogersville, Ala., at 6 a.m. each day. Weigh-in will be held at the takeoff location on Thursday and Friday beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday's final weigh-in will be held at Walmart located at 3100 Hough Road in Florence, Ala. beginning at 3 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.

Pros will fish for a top award of $40,000 plus a Ranger Z518 with a 200-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Co-anglers will cast for a top award consisting of a Ranger Z117 with a 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met.

The EverStart Series consists of five divisions - Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. Each division consists of four tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points in each division that could earn them the Strike King Angler of the Year title, which allows them to fish the 2014 Forrest Wood Cup.

The EverStart Series tournament on Wheeler Lake is being hosted by the Florence/Lauderdale Tourism Bureau.

Thursday's conditions

Temperature at takeoff: 58 degrees
Expected high temperature: 85 degrees
Water temperature: 65 degrees
Wind: South 5 to 10 mph
Day's outlook: calm and warm

Tags: rob-newell  morning-story  2013-05-09-wheeler-lake 

Top 10 Patterns from Wheeler Lake

Top 10 Patterns from Wheeler Lake

As promised, Wheeler Lake turned out to be the stingiest of the two stops on the Toyota Series Southeastern Division so far this season. The dog days of summer put the kibosh on the main-lake bite, leaving Wheeler’s many shallow creeks and tributaries to supply the pounds and ounces at weigh-in. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Wheeler Lake

Top 10 Baits from Wheeler Lake

The Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake was a shallow-water power-fishing showdown in tough summertime conditions. Almost all the fish the top 10 pros caught came from 5 feet of water or less, and a fair amount of those were caught in 3 feet or less. READ MORE »

Culpepper Captures Co-Angler Win

Culpepper Captures Co-Angler Win

Cal Culpepper of Hamilton, Ga., won the co-angler side of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake in impressive fashion. In three days of a tough tournament, Culpepper sacked up limits of 11-11, 5-11 and 11-7 from the back of the boat for a three-day total of 28 pounds, 13 ounces. For his win, he takes home a fully rigged Phoenix bass boat. READ MORE »

Carter Cruises to Wheeler Win

Carter Cruises to Wheeler Win

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Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 3

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 3

The fish were biting pretty well for the top 10 on the final morning of Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake. Overcast skies and a steady south wind put a perfect buzzbait ripple on the water back in the shallow flats in creeks – and the anglers were taking advantage of it.  READ MORE »

Carter Takes Over at Wheeler

Carter Takes Over at Wheeler

Kip Carter of Mansfield, Ga., may not have the nicest, shiniest boat in the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event this week, but it sure gets him where he needs to go. His beater aluminum tunnel hull craft has plenty of nicks and dings in it and for good reason: Getting into the places he has fished on Wheeler Lake the last two days has required enduring some scratches and dents. READ MORE »

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 2

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 2

Fishing creek ends continued to be the theme on day two of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake. Although the current was not running as much in the creeks as yesterday, the cooler shadier waters in the back of creeks were still producing for top anglers once again.  READ MORE »

Millsaps Grabs Lead on Wheeler

Millsaps Grabs Lead on Wheeler

Wheeler Lake doled out some lumps today in the second event of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division season. Only 14 pros managed to crack the 10-pound mark and six pros took a zero on the day. Leading the way is Jesse Millsaps of Jasper, Ga., with five fish weighing 14 pounds, 15 ounces. His biggest bass weighed 5 pounds, 5 ounces, which was certainly the difference maker in nudging him to nearly 15 pounds in a challenging summertime grinder. READ MORE »

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 1

Wheeler Lake Midday Update - Day 1

Wheeler Lake has turned out to be beyond stingy to the anglers fishing the second event in the Toyota Series Southeastern Division today. After visiting with some 20 pros this morning, the most fish reported caught by a pro was just two keepers. The rest either had just one bass or an empty livewell. READ MORE »

Dog days at Wheeler Lake

Dog days at Wheeler Lake

The second event of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division is off and running this morning on Wheeler Lake out of Ingalls Harbor. Many pros fishing the Southeastern Division this season agree that Wheeler will be the most challenging of the three events in 2020 due to the timing of the tournament. READ MORE »

Ready to Rock on Erie

Ready to Rock on Erie

The Toyota Series Northern Division has undergone more than its share of schedule shuffling this year, but the kickoff is finally here. Taking off out of Sandusky, Ohio, on the shores of Lake Erie, the time to chase smallmouths has arrived. READ MORE »

Eufaula Slugfest Kicks Off

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Top 10 Patterns from Pickwick

Top 10 Patterns from Pickwick

Pickwick Lake greeted Toyota Series anglers with high, stained water and stronger than normal current last week. While the last week of May usually means fishing to depths of 25 feet on Pickwick, some anglers felt Pickwick’s bass were a little behind in their summer migration to the deep ledges. READ MORE »

Top 10 Baits from Pickwick

Top 10 Baits from Pickwick

From shallow bars to deep ledges, the offshore bite on Pickwick was the deal for the majority of the field in second stop of the Toyota Series Central Division. Because the offshore bite reigned supreme, it’s no surprise that the lures thrown by the top 10 pros were standard issue for the Tennessee River this time of year. READ MORE »

Lockard Locks up Pickwick Win

Lockard Locks up Pickwick Win

At the day-three weigh-in of the FLW Toyota Series at Pickwick Lake, the biggest five bass limit of the final day wasn’t caught from the front deck – it was caught from the back deck. READ MORE »

Wheeler Wins on Pickwick

Wheeler Wins on Pickwick

What started out as a scouting trip to better learn Pickwick Lake turned into another tournament victory for Jacob Wheeler’s ever-expanding career resume at the second Toyota Series Central Division event of the season. Today, Wheeler brought in a limit of bass for 17 pounds, 11 ounces to take the win with a three-day total of 56 pounds, 8 ounces worth $38,545. READ MORE »

Pickwick Midday Update – Day 3

Pickwick Midday Update – Day 3

For two days Pickwick Lake gave up some nice early morning flurries for the top10 fishing the Toyota Series Central Division event. But this morning, the lake might as well have been frozen over. Despite ample amounts of current still rolling down the lake, and fairly light fishing pressure for a beautiful Saturday morning in the Tennessee Valley, the early bite was shut down for most of the field. READ MORE »

Top 5 Patterns from Pickwick – Day 2

Top 5 Patterns from Pickwick – Day 2

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Murray Leads Wheeler by an Ounce

Murray Leads Wheeler by an Ounce

Sacking up 22 pounds, 10 ounces on day two of the Toyota Series Central Division event on Pickwick Lake, John Murray rocketed up the standings from 14th place to the lead. With a total of 38-14, Murray is just one ounce ahead of Jacob Wheeler, who weighed 20-11 on day two to move up from ninth place. READ MORE »

Pickwick Midday Update – Day 2

Pickwick Midday Update – Day 2

The red-hot shad spawn bite that fueled the big catches on day one of the Toyota Series Central Division event on Pickwick has fizzled this morning. READ MORE »