Jacob Wheeler finds himself on top of the standings after Shotgun Round 2. Photo by Garrick Dixon
By Tyler Brinks - June 26, 2019
NEENAH, Wis. – Jacob Wheeler has picked up right where he left off after winning Stage Seven on Table Rock Lake. Even though the competition has moved more than 700 miles north, he still finds himself in familiar territory after the second Shotgun Round of the Evinrude Stage Eight Presented by Tracker Off Road on Lake Winnebago: on top.
The Tennessee pro caught 33 fish for 51 pounds, 4 ounces, finishing the second day of competition on top of SCORETRACKER®. Leading Bass Pro Tour rounds has become a theme for Wheeler this year. In fact, he’s been in first place after four of his last five competition days, and he is proving that the MLF format is tailor-made for his fishing style.
Wheeler has a chance to become the Bass Pro Tour’s first two-time champion and first back-to-back winner if he can continue his hot streak.
The fishing on Winnebago proved to be more difficult on Wednesday’s anglers as only four anglers topped 40 pounds as opposed to eight yesterday. The first Elimination Round on Thursday will show if it was just the conditions or if the fishing is getting tougher.
Even with the lower weights, 664 bass weighing 1,046 pounds were brought in today. The fish are still biting here in Wisconsin.
Wheeler Rolls Through Shotgun Round 2
Wheeler did most of his damage midmorning during Period 2, and once he took over the lead, he never looked back.
“I started in the morning with a pattern that I thought would be good and caught a few, but it didn’t work out as planned,” Wheeler said. “Mid-morning is when I started to make the transition and started to figure things out. It was a good mixture of shallow and deep and both largemouth and smallmouth. I feel like if I can catch another 10 pounds or so during the Elimination Round that I should be able to make it to the Knockout Round.”
He will carry a 3-pound lead over second place and a 26-pound lead over the 20th place spot heading into the Elimination Round.
Tak Stands in Second
Takahiro Omori had an excellent day and held the lead or top two spots for most of the day with 31 bass for 47-14. His catch count was buoyed by a strong morning.
After Period 1, Omori was in the lead by over 5 pounds over Bobby Lane. He stayed near the top the entire day and is in an excellent position to qualify for the REDCREST. He came to Winnebago in 29th and helped his cause tremendously today.
After Group A’s Shotgun Round, Edwin Evers found himself in 26th place. After the Shotgun Rounds, Jeff Sprague sits in 25th. These two continue to match each other blow for blow, and Evers’ slim lead is now down to two points over Sprague in the race for the title of Bass Pro Tour Points Champion. Each fish is always crucial in this format, but it will be magnified the rest of the week.
Group A will return to Lake Winnebago tomorrow as the weather prediction calls for partial clouds in the morning with scattered showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon.
Shotgun Round 2 daily awards were:
- The Berkley Big Bass of the day was Jeff Sprague’s 5-0 largemouth.
- Jacob Wheeler won the Berkley Catch Count award with 33 bass on the day.
- Wheeler also earned the Phoenix Boats Daily Leader award with 51-04.
Thursday starts the Elimination Round for Group A, and Group B will compete in this round on Friday. From there, the Top 20 from each group will move on to Saturday’s Knockout Round on Lake Butte des Morts – weights will be zeroed, making the Knockout a one-day scramble on a new fishery.
The Top 10 anglers in the Knockout Round will advance to the Championship Round on Sunday, June 30.
How, When, Where to Watch
Competition continues Thursday at 7 a.m. CT, with live, official scoring available via SCORETRACKER® on MajorLeagueFishing.com and on the MLF app. The MLF NOW! live stream begins at 9:30 a.m. CT with Chad McKee, JT Kenney, Marty Stone and Natalie Dillon.
The Postgame Show Presented by Berkley will begin at approximately 4:30 p.m CT. If you’re in the area, come see us at Shattuck Middle School in Neenah.