FLORENCE, Ala. – Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour angler Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tennessee, brought five bass to the scale weighing 17 pounds, 11 ounces to win the three-day Toyota Series at Pickwick Lake event Saturday in Florence, Alabama. Wheeler’s three-day total of 15 bass weighing 56-8 earned him the win by a 5-pound, 8-ounce margin over second-place angler Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Georgia, and earned Wheeler the top payout of $38,545 in the second tournament of the 2020 Toyota Series Central Division season.
“I truthfully can’t even believe that just happened,” said Wheeler, the reigning MLF World Champion who earned the first Toyota Series win of his career. “I’ve competed at all levels, and it is so tough to win one of these Toyota Series events. A lot of pros compete in them, but they also have the great local fisherman that know their home bodies of water so well. They’re extremely hard to win, so to come out today with the victory – I am tremendously tickled.”
Wheeler said that he had no magic spot on Pickwick Lake, but estimated he fished around 30 different places throughout the week, throwing a variety of baits.
“I tried to find little 3- to 5-fish schools that were a little out of the way off the beaten path, and then when a community hole opened up I’d stop in there and try to catch a few fish. I caught fish from 10 feet to 30 feet, and I was constantly changing my baits based on where I was fishing,” Wheeler said.
Wheeler said that his key baits this week were a Rapala DT20 crankbait (Caribbean Shad), a Texas-rigged Googan Baits Mondo Worm and a 6-inch Lunker Log stick bait, and an Accent Ol’ Big Spinnerbait. He also mixed in some other baits, including a scrounger and a swimbait.
“My electronics setup was a huge deal for me this week, as well,” Wheeler went on to say. “Instead of signing with one company, I’m running Lowrance, Garmin and Humminbird units this year and that really helped me tremendously when I was finding those 3 to 5 fish schools.”
The top 10 pros on Pickwick Lake finished:
1st: Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn., 15 bass, 56-8, $38,545
2nd: Buddy Gross of Chickamauga, Ga., 15 bass, 51-0, $14,936
3rd: Michael Bean of Bowling Green, Ky., 15 bass, 49-9, $11,563
4th: Michael Brewer of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., 10 bass, 48-13, $9,636
5th: Justin Atkins of Florence, Ala., 15 bass, 48-12, $8,673
6th: Marshall Deakins of Dunlap, Tenn., 15 bass, 47-15, $7,709
7th: Brent Anderson of Kingston Springs, Tenn., 15 bass, 46-4, $6,745
8th: John Murray of Spring City, Tenn., 13 bass, 44-15, $5,782
9th: Jimmy Washam of Covington, Tenn., 13 bass, 39-11, $4,959
10th: Ricky Robinson of Greenback, Tenn., 10 bass, 36-14, $3,854
A complete list of results can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Seth Davis of Harrison, Tennessee, took home an extra $1,000 as the highest finishing FLW PHOENIX BONUS member. Boaters are eligible to win up to an extra $35,000 per event in each Toyota Series tournament if all requirements are met. More information on the FLW PHOENIX BONUS contingency program can be found at PhoenixBassBoats.com.
Washam brought an 8-pound, 9-ounce largemouth bass to the scale Friday – the largest fish weighed by a boater in the event – to earn the day’s Big Bass award of $141.
Josh Lockard of Somerset, Kentucky, won the Co-angler Division Saturday with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 48 pounds, 7 ounces. For his win, Lockard took home the top prize package of a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard motor, worth $33,500.
The top 10 co-anglers on Pickwick Lake finished:
1st: Josh Lockard of Somerset, Ky., 15 bass, 48-7, $33,500
2nd: Phil Williams Jr. of Jamestown, Ky., 13 bass, 36-13, $4,868
3rd: Nathan Woodruff of Iuka, Miss., 14 bass, 33-14, $3,894
4th: Chris Quaintance of Muscle Shoals, Ala., 11 bass, 32-4, $3,502
5th: Clint Pegg of Columbus, Miss., 12 bass, 31-14, $2,921
6th: Andrew Gordon of Columbus, Miss., 12 bass, 29-11, $2,434
7th: Todd Lee of Jasper, Ala., 11 bass, 29-1, $1,947
8th: Benton Peoples of Bardstown, Ky., 11 bass, 26-8, $1,704
9th: Bryan Dowdy of Florence, Ala., 11 bass, 25-10, $1,460
10th: Samuel Maxwell of Vincennes, Ind., 10 bass, 23-12, $1,217
Quaintance weighed in the largest bass in the co-angler division on Thursday, bringing a 7-pound, 3-ounce bass to the stage. He earned the days Co-angler Big Bass award of $95.
The Toyota Series at Pickwick Lake was hosted by Florence/Lauderdale Tourism. It was the second of three regular-season tournaments in 2020 for Central Division anglers. For a complete schedule, visit FLWFishing.com.
The Toyota Series consists of eight divisions – Central, Eastern, Northern, Plains, Southeastern, Southern, Southwestern and Western – each holding three regular-season events, along with the International division. Anglers who fish all three qualifiers in any of the eight divisions and finish in the top 25 will qualify for the no-entry-fee Toyota Series Championship for a shot at winning $235,000 cash, including a $35,000 FLW PHOENIX Bonus for qualified anglers. The winning co-angler at the championship earns a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower outboard. The 2020 Toyota Series Championship will be held Dec. 3-5 on Lake Cumberland in Burnside, Kentucky, and is hosted by the Somerset Tourist & Convention Commission and the Burnside Tourism Commission.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Toyota Series on FLW’s social media outlets at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
FLW is the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization, providing anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money across five tournament circuits. Headquartered in Benton, Kentucky, FLW and its partners conduct more than 290 bass-fishing tournaments annually around the world, including the United States, Canada, China, Italy, South Korea, Mexico, Namibia, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, and Zimbabwe.
FLW tournament fishing can be seen on the Emmy-nominated “FLW” television show while Bass Fishing magazine delivers cutting-edge tips from top pros. Acquired by Major League Fishing in late 2019, FLW is expanding its programming in 2020 to the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel as well as on-demand at MyOutdoorTV (MOTV).
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