UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Lake Norman

Wheeler leads with 24-9 on Chick

Wheeler leads with 24-9 on Chick
Jacob Wheeler

One is arguably the hottest angler in the sport. The other is arguably the hottest angler on Lake Chickamauga. And it’s only fitting that Jacob Wheeler and John Cox sit first and second, respectively, in the standings after day one of the first of three Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournaments. 

Complete results

Fresh off a win in the Toyota Series event on Pickwick Lake and a top 10 in the MLF Toyota Heavy Hitters event on the Kissimmee Chain, Wheeler put his local knowledge to the test on Tuesday to sack up 24-9 and grab the lead on his home lake. 

To take home another major title on the fishery like he did back in 2014, Wheeler will have to hold off Cox; a pro who won the last FLW event he fished on Chickamauga – along with 200-plus other top anglers from the Pro Circuit and Bass Pro Tour.

Fortunately, having moved to the area three years ago (along with already having years of experience prior), Wheeler was able to overcome having the last boat draw in a massive and talent-laden field by keeping an open mind.

“I ran a lot of places; maybe 30 or 40,” says Wheeler, who admits he didn’t catch many fish today. “Just trying to understand what’s going on. I was trying to keep an open mind between the shallow bite in the grass and offshore. 

“You can’t get caught up with one deal this week. It’s going to take a little bit of everything this week; a little hodgepodge deal. So that’s my game plan is to not commit to one particular pattern.”

Between the five fish Wheeler weighed in today, he says three came shallow – either on the bank or in grass. The other two came offshore. There was no set pattern, either, as he figures he had 20 rods on his deck. Yet, one thing definitely helped one of his bites.

“[The weather] made a huge difference in the shallow bite,” says Wheeler. “You had cloud cover and wind and rain. Those fish are not always that easy to catch. These fish are Florida-strain largemouth and hybrids. They’re sometimes very fickle to get to bite. The weather helped some of those places I was fishing.”

It also may have hurt the ledge bite, which is what the majority of the field seemed keyed on today. From the Harrison Bay area on down the lake, it was a constant line of boats fishing offshore, and it wasn’t uncommon to see as many as six boats all congregated together on a single school. 

Wheeler figured that would be the case, hence his open game plan. He still figured he’d have some “sneakier” stuff to himself, though. In that, he was mistaken.

“There is a lot of fishing pressure offshore,” says Wheeler. “Some of those places I thought were a little bit out of the way or a little bit sneakier, boats were all over that stuff. I was like ‘what the heck?’ It was really interesting to figure that out. These guys are just so good at finding stuff.

“You know, we’ll see how it goes tomorrow with me having the first boat draw. This is a lake I seem to gel with, but some days it will leave you scratching your head. We have three days left in this tournament. There’s a lot more fish to be caught. I just hope be consistent and bring in 20-plus-pound bags every day to be in contention at the end.”

 

John Cox

2. John Cox – DeBary, Fla. – 23-6 (5)

There was a moment this morning when Cox thought his hot streak on Chickamauga had come to an end. And then, he did what he tends to do, and junked his way up shallow to another big bag to keep him in contention.

“I was kind of shocked,” says Cox. “I had an area up the river I really thought was going to put out, and I got up there and the water was down at least 8 inches. It was just no good. I was actually kind of sad as I started running back down with the rain pelting me in the face. I really thought that was the end of the streak.”

Two big bites at around 9 a.m. changed that mindset quick. 

“I started hopping my way down, just hitting random shallow stuff; anything that looked good,” says Cox. “I hit one spot and I busted two big ones on a frog almost back to back. As soon as I got those frog bites I was like, ‘I’m glad we’re back.’”

Cox admits it was a struggle, as he only got seven bites all day, with his remaining three fish coming on a jig and a wacky-rigged Berkley PowerBait MaxScent The General casted to isolated stumps and rough spots. Still, one thing he noticed that gave him optimism for tomorrow was the water level rising back up throughout the day.

“It’s tempting to go back and throw that frog,” says Cox. “I really need to see what water is doing. If it’s up, I’ll go back up that river.”

 

Jason Reyes

3. Jason Reyes – Huffman, Texas – 22-10 (5)

Jason Reyes really tried to be like everyone else and make the offshore bite go today. When he only had three small keepers come 11 o’clock, though, he finally decided to make a change. 

“I started going back and forth between shallow and deep,” says Reyes. “I hit a couple little stretches up shallow where I didn’t catch a ton, but the quality was there.”

Admittedly, Reyes doesn’t know what is going on up shallow, whether it’s a bream pattern or something else. He just knows the quality fish are there. It’s just a matter of grinding, tossing a worm and going an hour without a bite if needed. Still, he caught enough on day one that he actually called it quits early.

“I got to a point where I didn’t want to burn up a 4-pounder, because that’s all that would help,” says Reyes. “So, I’m kind of excited to see tomorrow if the quality continues. I tried to get dialed in the grass, and I think I started to figure out where they want to be.”

 

Lendell Martin Jr

4. Lendell Martin Jr. – Nacogdoches, Texas – 21-9 (5)

Chickamauga is known for its giant Florida-strain largemouths. Lendell Martin Jr. sure caught himself one – a 9-8 donkey that took big-bass honors and anchored his bag.

“That was my first fish of the day,” says Martin. “I was throwing a spinnerbait in pretty clear water, and about 15 feet from the boat I saw her eat it. It was just a vicious strike – the battle was on. It was a blessing I caught one like that.”

Martin spent most of his time fishing shallow, alternating between grass and laydowns; just “fishing whatever was in front of him.”

“I may try fishing offshore if I make the cut, but tomorrow, I’m going to start shallow,” says Martin , who caught three of his keepers on the spinnerbait. “I don’t think as many boats are up fishing shallow compared to deep. I don’t know if can do what I did today every day up shallow, but we’ll see.”

 

Justin Lucas

5. Justin Lucas – Guntersville, Ala. – 20-3 (5)

Few anglers have had more success with magic honey holes than Lucas. He’s hoping he’s found another one this event. 

Lucas says he had a tough morning, as he couldn’t get into a groove fishing offshore – the only angler in the top five solely dedicated offshore. He cycled through five or six spots when he noticed the spot he started the morning on was still open. He decided to try it again, and he’s glad he did.

“The fish had moved about 100 yards from where I’d found them,” says Lucas. “Once I found them, I just sat on them the rest of the day. I caught all my weight between 10 a.m. and noon, and then I just protected it the rest of the day. I know how special it can be.”

 

Top 10 pros

1. Jacob Wheeler – Harrison, Tenn. – 24-9 (5)

2. John Cox – DeBary, Fla. – 23-6 (5)

3. Jason Reyes – Huffman, Texas – 22-10 (5)

4. Lendell Martin Jr. – Nacogdoches, Texas – 21-9 (5)

5. Justin Lucas – Guntersville, Ala. – 20-3 (5)

6. Joshua Weaver – Macon, Ga. – 19-14 (5)

7. Chris Brasher – Longview, Texas – 18-12 (5)

8. Ron Nelson – Berrien Springs, Mich. – 18-8 (5)

9. Tom Monsoor – La Crosse, Wis. – 18-7 (5)

10. Kyle Cortiana – Coweta, Okla. – 18-7 (5)

Complete results

Tags: sean-ostruszka  headline-story  2020-06-23-chickamauga-super-tournament 

Au Rallies for Clear Lake Win

Au Rallies for Clear Lake Win

Steadily climbing the leaderboard all week, Tai Au dropped 26 pounds, 4 ounces today – the biggest bag of the week – to jump from fourth and claim his second title of the 2020 Toyota Series Western Division season. With 63-3 overall, Au wraps a phenomenal season where he won on Havasu back in March, placed 10th on the California Delta in August and closed the season with yet another win this week on Clear Lake. In winning, Au also wrapped the Strike King Angler of the Year title for the Western Division for the first time in his career. READ MORE »

White Rolling at Clear Lake

White Rolling at Clear Lake

Fishing was still good on day two of the Toyota Series Western Division finale at Clear Lake, though there were notably less 20-pound bags brought to the scale. Still, day-one leader Tom White managed 19 pounds, 5 ounces today to back up his 24-12 weight from Thursday and will carry a 5-10 lead heading into Saturday’s final round. This would be White’s first FLW win if he can fend off the nine other hungry pros behind him. READ MORE »

White Drops 24-12 at Clear Lake

White Drops 24-12 at Clear Lake

Tom White of Costa Mesa, Calif., fished the first two events of the Toyota Series Western Division season as a co-angler where he found decent success. Now, in the final event of the season White stepped up to the boater side and took the lead on Clear Lake after day one with a 24-pound, 12-ounce limit. The former Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI angler will hold close to a 5-pound lead over Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour pro Jared Lintner heading into day two. While 4 pounds would be a decent lead on a lot of fisheries, this is Clear Lake, and anything can happen tomorrow. READ MORE »

Big Bags on Deck at Clear Lake

Big Bags on Deck at Clear Lake

The Toyota Series Western Division wraps its season this week on famed Clear Lake in California. The lake is frequently noted as one of the best bass fisheries in the country and Clear Lake is shaping up to kick out plenty of bass this week. READ MORE »

Whitehead Tops on Pickwick

Whitehead Tops on Pickwick

Boater Christopher Whitehead of Tupelo, Miss., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 33 pounds, 1 ounce to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mississippi Division Super-Tournament at Pickwick Lake. For his victory, Whitehead earned $5,942. READ MORE »

Tramel Rolls at Old Hickory

Tramel Rolls at Old Hickory

Boater Josh Tramel of Smithville, Tenn., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale this weekend weighing 34 pounds, 5 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Music City Division Super-Tournament at Old Hickory Lake. Tramel earned a total of $5,540 for his victory.  READ MORE »

Topwater Gives Trim the W

Topwater Gives Trim the W

Boater Nick Trim of Galesville, Wis., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 34 pounds, 9 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Great Lakes Division Super-Tournament at the Mississippi River. For his victory, Trim earned $6,690. READ MORE »

Langford Wins on Smith Mountain

Langford Wins on Smith Mountain

Boater Todd Langford of Great Falls, Va., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale weighing 33 pounds, 4 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Piedmont Division Super-Tournament at Smith Mountain Lake. For his victory, Langford earned $5,065. READ MORE »

Rockefeller Frogs on Clarks Hill

Rockefeller Frogs on Clarks Hill

Boater Joshua Rockefeller of Harlem, Ga., brought a two-day total of nine bass to the scale weighing 21 pounds even to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine South Carolina Division Super-Tournament at Clarks Hill Lake. For his victory, Rockefeller earned $4,668. READ MORE »

Strong Day One Carries Sifers

Strong Day One Carries Sifers

Boater Jeramiah Sifers of Sellersburg, Ind., brought a two-day total of 10 bass to the scale this weekend weighing 22 pounds, 14 ounces to win the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Hoosier Division Super-Tournament at the Rough River. Sifers earned a total of $6,917 for his victory. READ MORE »

Lieblong Again at Dardanelle

Lieblong Again at Dardanelle

Jason Lieblong is no stranger to Toyota Series titles on Lake Dardanelle. He claimed his first back in August of 2015 and five years later thanks to a final-day bag worth 15 pounds, 15 ounces (the biggest of the event) Lieblong added his second Series trophy to the mantle. The Conway, Ark., pro finished the event with 40-9 overall, moving up the leaderboard every day of the tournament. For winning the Plains Division opener presented by Fish-Intel, Lieblong took home over $70,000 thanks largely to the FLW PHOENIX BONUS, which earned him and extra $35,000. READ MORE »

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Dobson Grabs Second Toyota Series W

Weighing 18 pounds and 9 ounces on day three for a 59-3 total, Scott Dobson moved from second to first to win the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River. The win is Dobson’s second in Toyota Series competition and his eighth overall with FLW. For the win, Dobson takes home $27,534 and further burnishes his record as one of the best smallmouth anglers on the planet.   READ MORE »

Bennett Takes Dardanelle Lead

Bennett Takes Dardanelle Lead

Backing up his day-one weight of 13 pounds, 6 ounces, Joe Bennett brought 13-14 to the scale to take the lead at Lake Dardanelle in the Toyota Series Plains Division opener presented by Fish-Intel. Bennett will carry 1-1 lead into Saturday’s final round over Kevin Riney as he looks to grab his first victory with FLW. READ MORE »

Burton Edges Ahead at the Detroit River

Burton Edges Ahead at the Detroit River

Day two of the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River saw the pros stuck in the river itself again due to the wind. Moving up from fourth place into the lead, Wilson Burton weighed 20 pounds, 4 ounces to get up to a 40-11 total. With the only 20-pound bag of the day, Burton slipped past Scott Dobson by just one ounce, who weighed 19-12 and sits behind him with a 40-10 total. READ MORE »

Montevallo Takes College Open Title

Montevallo Takes College Open Title

As tough as Kentucky Lake was fishing this week in the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open, Grayson Morris and Jacob Pfundt of the University of Montevallo leading after day one and finishing the job on Thursday resulted in one of the more impressive wins you’ll see. After weighing in a day-one best 12-13, the duo backed it up with another 12-7 on day two for the victory, displaying the kind of consistency it takes to grind it out in tough fishing conditions. For their efforts, Morris and Pfundt were awarded a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-hp Mercury outboard. READ MORE »

King Tops Day 1 at Dardanelle 

King Tops Day 1 at Dardanelle 

Zach King of Clarksville, Ark., used a Heddon Zara Spook to catch 14 pounds, 11 ounces claim the day one lead in the Toyota Series Plains Division event on Lake Dardanelle presented by Fish-Intel. King will take a 6-ounce lead over Matt Wood of Jessieville, Ark., into day two.  READ MORE »

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 1

Dardanelle Midday Update – Day 1

Thursday’s opening round of the Toyota Series Plains Division opener at Lake Dardanelle followed the script many anglers predicted. Despite many favorable conditions at the beginning of a peak fishing season, muddy water and bright sunshine made fishing difficult across the 34,000-acre Arkansas River impoundment. READ MORE »

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Stokes Leads on the Detroit River

Strong winds kept the pros in the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River pinned to the actual river, but the fishing was still very good. Plenty of anglers brought in 17 pounds or more, and the leaders are all concentrated around the 20-pound mark. In first, Troy Stokes of Brownstown, Mich., weighed 21 pounds, 4 ounces to kick things off. READ MORE »

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Detroit River Midday Update – Day 1

Right off the bat, the anglers in the field at the Toyota Series Northern Division event on the Detroit River were thrown a curveball by the weather. This morning, with increasing wind forecasts, tournament officials made Lake Erie and Lake St. Clair off-limits, thereby penning up the 87 pros and co-anglers on the American side of the Detroit River. READ MORE »

Montevallo Leads College Open 

Montevallo Leads College Open 

As expected, weights were down across the board on day one of the Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI Open on Kentucky Lake. With high water during what’s typically a tough transitional time of year, it took just 12 pounds, 13 ounces for Grayson Morris and Jacob Pfundt of the University of Montevallo to grab the lead. READ MORE »