Wheeler leads 2011 BFL All-American - Major League Fishing

Wheeler leads 2011 BFL All-American

Slot limit, lack of sun proved challenging for field during opening round on Cross Lake
Image for Wheeler leads 2011 BFL All-American
Staying on the move and knowing when to hit various spots was the key for pro leader Jacob Wheeler. Photo by David A. Brown. Angler: Jacob Wheeler.
May 19, 2011 • MLF • Archives

SHREVEPORT, La. – Jacob Wheeler of Indianapolis, Ind., crossed the stage Thursday with a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 6 ounces to lead day one of the Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy on Cross Lake. Wheeler holds a commanding 7-pound, 8-ounce lead over Lloyd Pickett Jr., from Bartlett, Tenn., who caught five bass weighing 10-14 in a tournament featuring the top 49 boaters and top 49 co-anglers from across the country.

“God blessed me today,” said Wheeler, who is fishing his first BFL All-American. “I knew the lake would be difficult because of the slot limit. Lakes with slots are horrible to fish tournaments in so I knew it was going to be a bear to fish. I covered a lot of water and just kept moving. First I’d catch a fish by a dock then in some trees and then by a dock again. I just kept moving and adjusting and it paid off. Buzzbaits, crankbaits, flipping, cranking, it all produced.

“It is hard to stay consistent on a lake with a slot limit. The guy that can bring a 10-pound average per day to the stage is the guy that is going to win and it is not going to be easy,” Wheeler went on to say. “Tomorrow I will go back to some of the same areas and do pretty much the same thing I did today. I had eight keepers, four over and four under. I also had six slot fish…”

In a tournament that saw many anglers struggle with the slot limit, the lake seemed to tease anglers with what she has to offer. The biggest fish of the day was a giant brought in by the co-angler leader, weighing 8 pounds, 15 ounces. Many agreed the fish were there, they just couldn’t catch them. Cross Lake has a slot limit on fish from 14 to 17 inches in length that allows anglers to keep fish that measure more than the minimum length of 12 inches to under 14 inches as well as fish that measure more than 17 inches.

Rounding out the top 10 boaters after day one on Cross Lake are:

3rd: Shonn Goodwin, Moore, Okla., five bass, 10-3

4th: Kip Carter, Loganville, Ga., three bass, 9-6

5th: Derik Hudson, Hurt, Va., four bass, 9-2

6th: Charlie Russler, Hedgesville, W. Va., four bass, 8-11

7th: Jake Morris, McKee, Ky., five bass, 8-5

8th: Michael Roy, Ivy, Va., five bass, 7-10

9th: Charles Cummings, Leeds, Ala., four bass, 7-6

10th: Mike Brower, Texarkana, Texas, five bass, 6-15

For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.

Overall there were 126 bass weighing 227 pounds, 14 ounces caught by 49 boaters Thursday. The catch included only seven five-bass limits.

Boaters are competing for a top award of up to $130,000 this week plus qualification into the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. This year’s Cup will be in Hot Springs, Ark., Aug. 11-14 on Lake Ouachita where pros are competing for a top prize of $600,000 – the sport’s biggest award.

Shane Winchester of Glasgow, Ky., leads the Co-angler Division with four bass weighing 12-2 followed by Greg Gilley of Orange Beach, Ala., in second place with four bass weighing 11-8.

“I am rendered speechless,” said Winchester, who caught the biggest fish of the day. “I really have to thank my boater who put us on some fish and luckily I caught the big one.”

Rounding out the top 10 co-anglers are:

3rd: Kevin Crady, Desoto, Mo., five bass, 10-8

4th: Kermit Crowder, Matoaca, Va., four bass, 7-9

5th: Gerrit Goins, Cleveland, Tenn., four bass, 7-7

6th: David Williams, Fredericksburg, Va., four bass, 6-10

7th: Jason Hester, Haleyville, Ala., three bass, 6-4

8th: Tony Grubb, Ann Arbor, Mich., five bass, 5-7

9th: Jeff McCarnan, Henderson, Ky., two bass, 5-3

10th: Kyle Radake, Cape Girardeau, Mo., two bass, 4-13

For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.

Overall there were 73 bass weighing 127 pounds, 6 ounces caught by 49 co-anglers Thursday. The catch included two five-bass limits.

Co-anglers are fishing for a top award of $60,000 this week plus qualification into the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup.

Anglers will take off from the American Legion Hall located at 5315 South Lakeshore Drive in Shreveport at 7 a.m. each morning. Weigh-ins are at the Shreveport Convention Center located at 400 Caddo Street in Shreveport. Friday’s weigh-in will be at 4 p.m. and Saturday’s final weigh-in will be at 3 p.m. prior to the day three weigh-in of the Walmart FLW Tour on the Red River presented by OFF!.

Fans will be treated to the FLW Outdoors Expo at the Shreveport Convention Center on Saturday and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The first 300 kids 14 and under on Sunday will receive a free rod and reel combo compliments of KTBS 3. Fans can also register to win a Can-Am ATV courtesy of Kiss Country 93.7 and 99X which will be given away on Sunday following the final weigh-in of the FLW Tour event. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public.

Coverage of the BFL All-American tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors,” will air Sept. 4 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide.

The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, offering bigger prizes to those who qualify for regional championships and those who make it to the BFL All-American. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the EverStart Series or even the FLW Tour.

For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow FLW Outdoors on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.

About FLW Outdoors

FLW Outdoors is the best in fishing, on and off the water. Anglers worldwide can compete for millions over the course of 191 tournaments in 2011. FLW Outdoors has taken fishing mainstream with the world’s richest fantasy sports game, FLW Fantasy Fishing presented by Straight Talk, where competitors can play for free as well as sign up for Player’s Advantage to gain an edge. For more information about FLW Outdoors and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com.