UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Lake Norman

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Early Reports from Wheeler

Cody Meyer

Starting this Sunday, the 50 Forrest Wood Cup competitors will hit Wheeler Lake bright and early for the first of three days of official practice. It’ll be the first time the anglers have been allowed on the Tennessee River reservoir since the pre-practice cut off date of July 17.

With their busy schedules, many of the anglers fishing the championship of bass fishing only got in a few days of pre-practice before the lake went off-limits. That’s a short amount of time to get a grasp on what’s happening on the vast 60-mile-long fishery, where largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass hang out in an array of depths and cover. It’s the kind of test that will separate the best from the rest.

To get a better idea of what’s going on at Wheeler, we asked six anglers to report on their pre-practice trips and to share a bit about their game plans for the official practice period.

 

Jeff Sprague

Jeff Sprague

I got out to Wheeler for three days before ICAST. I knew this tournament was going to be tough, but I found a couple things that could come together.

I did a bit of everything. I looked offshore, in the shallow creeks and in a lot of the well-known areas. Now when I go back for official practice I can really look for something off the wall to potentially win it.

This is my first Cup, and I’m excited to be there. It’s a big deal for me, but I’m not really nervous. I’m happy to have made it to this point. I’ve got a 1-in-50 shot, and I’m definitely going to swing for the win.

 

Jacob Wheeler

Jacob Wheeler

I got out for two and a half days. I looked around to see what the lake has to offer and get an idea of how it’s going to fish.

I ran around and skimmed everything. I got what I liked and what I didn’t like. You don’t want to make an opinion on what happens in July. Even though it’s the hot part of summer, you’d be surprised what can change on the Tennessee River.

Last year a lot of guys got caught up on what happened in pre-practice. The water was higher, which helped the grass bite. When the water dropped, the grass didn’t play. You can’t go all in on something.

I typically go down and see what’s going on and tend to have a good game plan. This pre-practice threw me for a loop. I don’t know how it’s going to be won. There are so many patterns that could come into play.  

Last time (at Wheeler), when Mark Rose won it offshore (in a September 2012 Tour event), second place was shallow. The water temperature was 61 to 71 degrees then. When we get there it’ll be 85 to 90. There hasn’t been a major tournament there that time of year. You can guess weights based on that (2012 event), but the patterns aren’t going to be the same.

If I can catch 12 a day and catch 20 one day, I could win.

 

Hampton Anderson

I went down the last two weekends. I’ve been up and down the entire lake. It was my first time there, so the first couple days I ran around the whole lake and checked it out.

It was pretty tough. I like to fish out deep but haven’t found any size there. I fished shallow and can catch quality fish, but there are lower numbers. I caught one good one in practice over 6 pounds, but they are few and far in between.

I started to figure some stuff out, but I’ve got a lot of hard work to do in official practice. I want to pick one area of the lake to concentrate on. With how hot it’s been, I’m going to put my head down and fish slow.

 

Scott Martin

Scott Martin

I only got one and a half days of pre-practice. It would have been nice to find something, but I just wanted to see the water, smell the air and just be there. I got a good Alabama sweat and a feel for what the lake is looking like.

I never get a chance to pre-practice, but I like to for the Cup. It helps my confidence level. I’ll pull up to the ramp and think I was just here a little bit ago. With only three days of practice, I need to be focused and make good decisions.

It’s going to be challenging. It’s going to take some good strategy and a blessing to locate something special. It could be deep or shallow, but that special spot will make the difference.

 

Ray Hanselman

Ray Hanselman

I got out for three and a half days. It’s not going to be an easy tournament. I think everyone is going to find his own little deal and grind out what he can.

I fished a lot of stuff. I’d catch one here doing this and one there doing that. I didn’t find one solid pattern. I certainly don’t have one rod on the deck.

There were typical summer patterns and not much current. They weren’t tight to anything and fairly deep. I think a lot of fish are going to be offshore.

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I think I can catch 12 to 15 pounds a day. It’s hard to predict.

 

Cody Meyer

Cody Meyer

A day and a quarter of pre-practice was all I got. I never made a single cast. It’s such a big place. I have only been there once, as a co-angler, and didn’t remember the lake. You see such a small fraction of the lake when you start fishing.

I ran all the creeks and pockets, the main lake and graphed around. I found a few things I liked. I’ve narrowed it down to a few select areas where I think I have the best chance.

In official practice, I’ve got a lot of deep stuff to check and a lot of shallow stuff to check. I’ll do one on day one and the other the next. The final day I’ll do whatever worked and expand on that.

Tags: forrest-wood-cup  wheeler-lake  chris-burgan  pre-tournament  2016-08-04-forrest-wood-cup 

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