DAYTON, Tenn. – Major League Fishing (MLF) pro Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tennessee, caught a final-day five-bass limit weighing 21 pounds, 6 ounces to win $125,000 in the $1.3 million Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament at Lake Chickamauga. Wheeler topped his closest competitor, Cole Floyd of Leesburg, Ohio, by 11 pounds, 13 ounces to earn the win in the event that featured a field of 204 anglers competing from FLW and MLF in Dayton, Tennessee.
“It’s been an unbelievable week,” said Wheeler, who notched his fifth major win since the start of the 2019 season. “I put more time in (practice) for this event than any other event that I’ve fished. To get the win here means so much to me. On my home lake. In front of my best friends and family. With FLW, the organization that I started with and the people that watched me grow up. This one means the world to me.”
Wheeler said he used a variety of baits to catch his fish this week, including Rapala DT-20 (Citrus Shad) and DT-16 (Big Shad) crankbaits, an 8-inch green-pumpkin-colored worm, a 5/8-ounce white hairjig, a scrounger with a soft-plastic jerkbait trailer, a jig, an unnamed topwater bait, and a vibrating jig.
“I knew that I had to keep an open mind and I couldn’t get locked into one particular bait,” Wheeler said. “There was no magical bait. That’s why I had so many different rods on my deck each day. I was able to trigger some of those really good bites by rotating through them.”
Wheeler estimated that he fished around 50 spots throughout the week but had three areas that were really key for him. While many pros focused solely shallow or deep, Wheeler constantly switched between the two over the course of the event.
“Each place was so unique,” Wheeler said. “The areas were completely different. It’s not like it was a pattern. It was just finding places that were a little bit less obvious was really what it came down to. Those fish weren’t as pressured and easier to get to bite. That was my game plan the whole week.
Wheeler opened the tournament Tuesday in first place with five bass weighing 24-9. He slipped to second place Wednesday with a five-bass catch weighing 22 pounds, 1 ounce to advance into the top 50 cut with a two-day total of 10 bass weighing 46 pounds, 10 ounces. On Thursday, Wheeler caught five bass weighing 25-12 to reclaim his lead and advance to the final day of competition in first place. Wheeler added another five bass weighing 21-6 to his final-round total Friday and earn $125,000.
The top 10 pros on Lake Chickamauga finished:
1st: Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tenn., 20 bass, 93-12, $125,000
2nd: Cole Floyd of Leesburg, Ohio, 20 bass, 81-15, $35,500
3rd: Jason Reyes of Huffman, Texas, 20 bass, 76-12, $30,000
4th: Cody Meyer of Auburn, Calif., 20 bass, 72-13, $25,000
5th: Alex Davis of Albertville, Ala., 20 bass, 72-12, $22,000
6th: Miles Burghoff of Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., 20 bass, 71-3, $21,000
7th: John Cox of DeBary, Fla., 20 bass, 70-1, $19,000
8th: Joshua Weaver of Macon, Ga., 20 bass, 65-10, $18,000
9th: David Williams of Maiden, N.C., 20 bass, 65-0, $17,000
10th: Alton Jones of Lorena, Texas, 20 bass, 61-4, $16,200
Complete results for the entire field can be found at FLWFishing.com.
Overall there were 50 bass weighing 149 pounds, 14 ounces caught by pros Friday. All of the final 10 pros weighed in five-bass limits.
Television coverage of the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Chickamauga will premiere at 7 p.m. EDT, Aug. 14 on the Outdoor Channel. Beginning July 3 and running through Dec. 27, FLW will air 312 hours of Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit action on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel. Episodes have been expanded to two hours long, allowing each show to go in-depth to break down the final rounds of regular-season competition. Each episode will premiere in Friday night primetime slots on the Outdoor Channel, with additional re-airings on the Outdoor Channel and the Sportsman Channel.
The Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit at Lake Chickamauga was hosted by Fish Dayton and the Rhea Economic & Tourism Council.
In Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament competition, the full field of 204 pro anglers competed in the two-day opening round on Tuesday and Wednesday. The top 50 pros based on their two-day accumulated weight advanced to Thursday. Only the top 10 pros continued competition on Friday, with the winner determined by the heaviest accumulated weight from the four days of competition.
FLW anglers are vying for valuable points in hopes of qualifying for the Tackle Warehouse FLW TITLE presented by Toyota, the Pro Circuit championship. The 2020 Tackle Warehouse FLW TITLE presented by Toyota will be held on the St. Lawrence River in Massena, New York, Aug. 24-29.
MLF pros competing in the Pro Circuit Super Tournaments will fish for prize money only. No points will be awarded toward any championship or title to MLF competitors. Only the original Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit anglers will compete for the AOY title throughout the remainder of the season. AOY points in the final events will be awarded based on Pro Circuit anglers finishing order. The top-finishing FLW pro will receive “first-place points” regardless of where he finishes in the overall standings, and so on.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWFishing.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit 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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