UPCOMING EVENT: YETI College Fishing - 2019 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir


Grinding Wheel-er

The 141 boat field gathers at Joe Wheeler State Park on a cool October morning to kick off the first day of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on Wheeler Lake.

ROGERSVILLE, Ala. – The story was much the same among the 141 pro and co-anglers that launched out of Joe Wheeler State Park this morning for the first day of the Rayovac FLW Series Championship on Wheeler Lake. Fishing on the Tennessee River in the fall can be hit or miss and right now anglers are experiencing the latter.

The difficult thing this week won’t be getting bites. It will be more a matter of finding those kicker bites, which is something that had eluded anglers throughout practice.

“I’ve fished on Wheeler several times, but this is my first in the fall,” said FLW Tour pro Richard Peek. “I have spent time on other TVA systems in the fall so I know what to expect. The biggest problem is that the water rose a little while back and now the lake is being pulled down to winter pool and I think those fish just haven’t adjusted yet.

“There has been some current pulled everyday and that is usually when you can get bit,” Peek explained. “The fishing should get better as the week progresses. Although, that cold front we are getting could shake things up.”

With expected highs forecasted in the mid-50s later in the week and lows down in the 30s water temperatures on Wheeler should drop substantially. That temperature change could be what the doctor ordered to get those bigger fish to start feeding.

Missouri pro Mark Tucker has spent his time on Wheeler Lake and agrees that the cold front could help the bite.

“Fall fishing in Missouri is actually a lot like fishing down here (Wheeler Lake),” said Tucker who finished fourth in the Central Division points standing. “Sometimes a big cold snap will push those fish into feeding. That’s what I think we could see this week.

“Right now there are two kinds of fish on Wheeler. You have schoolers and you have loners. The schoolers for me have been hard to catch and they seem to roam around a lot so they aren’t consistent. The loner fish live up on shoreline cover and seem willing to bite. The only bad part is you have to cover a lot of water to catch them.”

Peek also echoed the fact that working the bank seems to be the better bet on Wheeler right now. Lay-downs and rock are the predominate targets for anglers to focus on since the lake has very little grass in it. Spinnerbaits, vibrating jigs, lipless crankbaits and topwaters will all be big players this week.

Two dark horse patterns to keep an eye on throughout the event will be the tailrace below the Guntersville Dam and whoever can dial in on a gizzard shad pattern using magnum-sized baits. Both of these could produce winning limits of fish.

“Out of all the times of year to fish this lake the fall is by far my favorite,” said Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes pro Dave Lefebre. “I think we are going to see a good old fashioned tournament this week. What I mean is, the guys that get a limit and have a kicker to go with it will do well. Somewhere between 12 and 14 pounds per day is what I’m shooting for.

“I have heard a lot of guys says they aren’t catching much, but then again that is what people were saying when (Mark) Rose brought in 80 pounds in the FLW Tour Open on Wheeler back in 2012. There’s no doubt that I have seen some big fish blow up on top this week so I know they are out there. We should see some good bags today.”


Anglers will take off from Joe Wheeler State Park located at 4601 McLean Drive in Rogersville, Alabama, at 7:30 a.m. each day. Weigh-in on Thursday and Friday will be held at the launch site, beginning at 3 p.m. Saturday’s final weigh-in will be held at Walmart located at 2701 Cloverdale Road in Florence, Alabama, beginning at 4 p.m. Takeoffs and weigh-ins are free and open to the public. 

Fans will also be treated to the FLW Expo at Walmart on Saturday from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. prior to the final weigh-in. The Expo includes a casting pool, interactive games and activities provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. The first 200 fans in attendance will also receive a $5 Walmart gift card courtesy of KIX 96. All activities are free and open to the public.

Pros will fish for a top award of $50,000 plus a Ranger Z518C 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 90-horsepower Evinrude or Mercury outboard and $5,000 if Ranger Cup guidelines are met. Additionally, the top finishing pros and co-anglers from each of the five divisions and the top five overall pros and co-anglers will advance to the 2015 Forrest Wood Cup.

For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Rayovac FLW Series on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.

The Rayovac FLW Series Championship at Wheeler Lake is hosted by Florence/Lauderdale Tourism.  

For more coverage

For those who can’t catch the weigh-in action in person, FLWOutdoors.com offers FLW Live, an online application that brings fans real-time weigh-in results, streaming video and audio.

In addition to FLW Live, FLWOutdoors.com offers real-time updates from the water. Simply click on the tournament ID within the “On the Water” banner at the top of the FLW or Rayovac FLW Series home pages.

Thursday’s conditions:

Sunrise: 7:08 a.m.

Temperature at takeoff: 42 degrees

Expected high temperature: 65 degrees

Water temperature: 68-71 degrees

Wind: NNW at 5 mph

Day’s outlook: sunny and clear


Tags: kyle-wood  morning-story  2014-10-30-championship-wheeler-lake 


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