Carter Takes Over at Wheeler - Major League Fishing

Carter Takes Over at Wheeler

Kip Carter’s craft drafts him to Toyota Series lead
Image for Carter Takes Over at Wheeler
Kip Carter Photo by Jacob Fine.
July 31, 2020 • Rob Newell • Toyota Series

Kip Carter of Mansfield, Ga., may not have the nicest, shiniest boat in the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event this week, but it sure gets him where he needs to go. His beater aluminum tunnel hull craft has plenty of nicks and dings in it and for good reason: Getting into the places he has fished on Wheeler Lake the last two days has required enduring some scratches and dents.

Carter didn’t mind those battle scars in the metal this afternoon when he took the lead in the tournament with a two-day total of 26 pounds, 6 ounces. He now enters the final day with a 1-pound, 7-ounce lead. 

Complete results

Day 2 Midday Update

While big boats can get to the places Carter is fishing, it requires a great deal of time idling. Carter’s craft gives him the luxury of trimming up and skimming over the vast skinny flats without issue. Since he’s fishing several different back ends of creeks, he can switch areas at will and with ease. 

Kip Carter

“It’s not really that I’m jumping over a rock shoal or a sandbar to get into a specific creek like some may think,” Carter says. “It’s more about getting around efficiently. I can run over those huge, shallow flats that are littered with wood, stumps and gravel bars without worrying about hitting anything. If I’m in the very back of one place and it’s no good and I decide I need to move to the next creek branch over, I just crank up and go. I don’t have to figure out how much time it’s going to take to idle out of one and into another. And if I want to set down right in the middle of a giant flat that’s a foot deep, I can do that without worrying if I’m going to get stuck.”

In fact, some of Carter’s best fishing has actually come in the middle of the flats he is trying to traverse. The better flats are ones that bigger boats have to run over on plane without setting down for fear of getting stuck, so they don’t get fished very much.

“It’s been kind of a one-two punch,” he says. “When I get a little wind pushed across those flats, I can get those shallow flats fish going on a topwater. But if it slicks off on the flats and it gets tough, I run back into the little creek ends and pitch around hard banks that have wood cover.”


2. Lavoyd Lemmond – Decatur, Ala. – 24-15 (10)

Lavoyd Lemmond moved up two spots in the standings today thanks to his limit weighing 11 pounds, 15 ounces.

So far, Lemmond had found success in one particular creek that contains a lot of shad. The last two days, he’s had to adjust in his area to the falling water.

“The water has fallen about 1 to 2 feet since practice,” Lemmond says. “Yesterday, I could catch them on a topwater. Today, I had to resort to finesse pitching; those fish have moved out onto any piece of cover located on the creek channel drop. If there’s a backwater or slough dumping into the creek, it’s all the better. Yesterday I could catch them right in the mouth of those sloughs; today they were out on the drop coming out into the creek.”

Lemmond has been saving one spot that he has not fished for the final day, but now he’s worried heavy south winds forecasted for tomorrow might ruin the place with muddy water.

“If that wind blows hard, I’ll just go back into that same creek I’ve been fishing and see if I can make it happen there,” he says. “I have about eight places I haven’t fished yet in that creek. Maybe one of them will surprise me tomorrow with a big fish.” 


Lynn Johnson

3. Lynn Johnson – Attalla, Ala. – 24-8 (10)

Lynn Johnson held steady at third place by virtue of a last minute 4-pound, 12-ounce bass that kept him securely in the top-10.

“I ran all the way up the river to my best creek this morning and it was blown out with muddy water – from a big rain I guess,” Johnson says. “So I bailed on it, ran out on the river and went into full scramble mode, bouncing my way down the river fishing visible stuff – mostly laydown trees on red clay banks.”

With his best water now muddy, Johnson is thinking of rolling the dice on the Elk River for the final day.


Andrew Johnson

4. Andrew Johnson – Glencoe, Ala. – 23-13 (10)

As the old saying goes, like father, like son. Andrew Johnson is the son of Lynn Johnson and now sits behind him in the standings by just 11 ounces. While the elder Johnson has been fishing far up the lake, his son has been getting it done down the lake.

“I’m running the back ends of creeks down in the lower end of the lake,” Andrew says. “I’m fishing the little ditches that run through the shallow flats in several creeks down there. If I can find any piece of cover that lays right on the that little swag where the flat drops into a ditch channel, I can usually get bit.”

To target the pieces of cover, Andrew has relied on a squarebill crankbait, a buzzbait and a jig. 


Harry Peyton

5. Harry Peyton – Guntersville, Ala. – 23-11 (10)

Harry Peyton moved up into the top five with a better limit today that weighed 12 pounds, 9 ounces.

Peyton, too, is fishing back in a creek, where he’s found wolf packs of bass feeding on bream. 

“The bream are just hanging around in laydowns and a group of bass will move in there and start eating them,” Peyton says. “I go a long time without a bite, but when I find them eating bream, it’s like a flurry; I can catch five or six in row. That happened several times today.”

When the bass show up to put the feed bag on, Peyton imitates the bream by throwing a squarebill crankbait and Texas-rigged soft plastics. 


Top 10 Boaters

1. Kip Carter – Mansfield, Ga. – 26-6 (10)

2. Lavoyd Lemmond – Decatur, Ala. – 24-15 (10)

3. Lynn Johnson – Attalla, Ala. – 24-8 (10)

4. Andrew Johnson – Glencoe, Ala. – 23-13 (10)

5. Harry Peyton – Guntersville, Ala. – 23-11 (10)

6. Jesse Millsaps – Jasper, Ga. – 22-13 (10)

7. Dustin Smith – Grand Island, Fla. – 22-6 (9)

8. Bill Spratlin – Rockford, Ala. – 21-6 (9)

9. Josh Bragg – Jacksonville, Ala. – 21-0 (10)

10. Dustin Neat – Dunnville, Ky. – 20-15 (10)

Complete results


Flint Davis

Davis holds on to lead

Flint Davis of Leesburg, Ga., continues to lead on the co-angler side of the Toyota Series Southeastern Division event on Wheeler Lake. Davis sacked up 12 pounds, 10 ounces on day one and added four bass weighing 6 pounds, 4 ounces today for a two-day total of 18 pounds, 14 ounces. He now carries a 14-ounce lead into the final day.

“I only had one fish at 1 o’ clock and things had gotten pretty tough,” Davis says. “So, I picked up a drop-shot, caught three more and two of those were my better fish.”

Should he win tomorrow, Davis, who is a 17-year-old senior in high school, will take home a brand-new Phoenix bass boat.


Top 10 Co-Anglers

1. Flint Davis – Leesburg, Ga. – 18-14 (9) 

2. Lew Moore – Roanoke, Ala. – 18-0 (8)

3. Cal Culpepper – Hamilton, Ga. – 17-6 (10)

4. Hayden Obarr – Gurley, Ala. – 13-8 (8)

5. Jeffrey Ford – Trion, Ga. – 13-3 (8)

6. Todd Lee – Jasper, Ala. – 12-9 (8)

7. Josh Webster – New Market, Ala. – 12-5 (8)

8. Ryan Methvin – Leoma, Tenn. – 12-2 (8)

9. Ryan Arnold – Gadsden, Ala. – 11-3 (7)

10. James Littich – Davidson, N.C. – 10-15 (6)

Complete results