Wiggins moves ahead on Day 2 at Smith - Major League Fishing

Wiggins moves ahead on Day 2 at Smith

Image for Wiggins moves ahead on Day 2 at Smith
Jordan Wiggins has been as consistent as they come through two days on his home pond. Photo by Cobi Pellerito. Angler: Jordan Wiggins.
March 22, 2023 • Erik Gaffron • Toyota Series

CULLMAN, Ala. – Surprising nobody, a Wiggins is on top at the Toyota Series Presented by Phoenix Boats Central Division event on Lewis Smith Lake. Moving up with 14 pounds, 8 ounces on Day 2, Jordan Wiggins took over the lead with a 30-6 total. On Day 3, he’ll fish for his second MLF win on Smith, with Austin SwindleLee Black and others attempting to chase him down from more than 2 pounds back.

Wednesday morning brought rain showers and clouds, a total turnaround from the predicted forecast of sunny warm weather and a mix of wind. Instead, the pros were forced to adjust to the changing conditions and light winds on the day. Going with a multi-pronged approach, Wiggins is using all of his considerable wiles to see success at Smith.

“I thought the rain was going to make my ditch bite better, there were a lot of fish in there, but they were just 15 inches, barely keepers,” Wiggins said.

“I just never could get a big one,” Wiggins said. “Someone beat me to my starting hole where I caught my biggest one yesterday. So, I went to my second and third ditch, but they were useless. When I went down the river, that’s when I started catching them.”

Jordan Wiggins was forced to adapt on Day 2, and he did it very successfully.

Knowing the conditions had thrown a wrench in his game plan, Wiggins got to work with a shaky head, hoping to get some decent quality bass to keep him in the hunt for Championship Thursday.

“I knew that was a backup plan,” he said, “I went down there, and they just started biting and I just stayed with them. I went down there to catch five 2 ½-pounders to get me through and into tomorrow. Luckily, they weren’t 2 ½-pounders, they were 2 ¾.”

Wiggins already has a solid idea of how he will spend his final day of competition, looking to repeat his limit from Day 2 before going after larger bites as things continue to warm throughout the day.

“Tomorrow I’m going to try to get myself a limit of 2 ½-pounders and then I’m going for the win,” he said. “The only way I can do that is to put a wake bait in my hand and just go fishing. That’s normally how we get big ones this time of the year.”

Wiggins’ wealth of experience on Lewis Smith is a major factor in his decision to chase a herring spawn for bigger bites. He knows that the warmer the better for his herring-gorging fish.

“I’m going to let it get warm before I go do that,” Wiggins said. “It’s a herring spawn deal. Sometimes during the warmer nights, they’ll spawn, but it usually gets better after lunch. It’s a total after-lunch pattern, it always has been.”

The Cullman native knows that years of experience are on his side, and he’s ready to chase down another victory on Lewis Smith.

“I feel confident to catch 12 or 13 pounds,” he said. “But it’s just a matter of getting a 5-pounder. That’s the key. If I catch 17 tomorrow, it’s going to be hard to beat me.”

Austin Swindle is one of a number of notable locals looking to hunt Wiggins down.

Swindle flips his way into second with 28-2

Swindle bagged 14 pounds, 3 ounces to move into the top three heading into the final day of competition. The Parrish, Alabama, pro lives less than 30 minutes from takeoff and his experience on Smith is evident this week as he adjusted throughout Day 2 to catch his limit.

“The first part of the day was actually really bad,” Swindle said. “I didn’t have five keepers until 12 o’clock when I really figured out what I need to be doing. I just pulled into a spot and started flipping laydowns. I caught a big fish right away and knew what to do after that. That’s all we did the rest of the day.”

Swindle, who has loads of experience on Smith, didn’t have flipping laydowns on his to-do list. But when things went south for Plan A, he elected to try something new entirely, hoping to make things happen.

“It’s not something I found in practice,” he said. “I was catching a bunch of fish that were moving into the backs of pockets. The spotted bass were spawning, but they seemed to be stopping spawning. So, it’s just something I found on the go and just ran with it today. I’m just going to try to run with it tomorrow.”

Swindle admitted the weather affected his bite, as it did the rest of the field on Day 2, but not in the way one might think a rainy morning would.

“I think the calm day is what changed,” Swindle said. “I ran 45 minutes this morning. I got all the way to my starting spot, and it was slick calm. I just had to scramble after that and figure out something. And I’m just blessed enough to have figured that out.

“I think I’m going to have to catch 17 or 18 pounds tomorrow (to win),” Swindle said. “It’s Smith Lake though, it’s hard to do that.”

Top 10 pros

1. Jordan Wiggins – 30 – 6 (10)        

2. Austin Swindle – 28 – 2 (10)         

3. Lee Black – 28 – 1 (10)      

4. Joseph Webster – 27 – 13 (10)       

5. Jeremy Gordon – 27 – 13 (10)        

6. Wesley Sams – 27 – 12 (10)

7. Emil Wagner – 27 – 10 (10)

8. Josh Johnson – 26 – 13 (10)

9. James Hailstones – 26 – 5 (10)     

10. Joel Smith – 26 – 5 (10)  

Complete results

Chris Graham is setting the pace on the Strike King co-angler side.

Graham takes over Strike King co-angler lead

After Day 1 leader Andy Vance could only muster one fish, it was Chris Graham who took over the lead. Graham put on a clinic out of the back of the boat on Day 2, catching 10-12 on the day for a two-day total of 23-12.

“It was overcast and rainy, so these fish stayed on the bottom most of the day for us,” Graham said. “I achieved my goal with a shaky head again today. I couldn’t get a bite on a moving bait.

“I caught a total of 21 keepers today,” Graham said. “I culled several times, but most of them were right about the same size. I had a lot of culling beam work to do today.”

Graham is confident heading into Thursday’s finale, knowing that it could take a single day weight into the teens to claim the top prize.

“I think a man is going have to have 12 pounds to get it done tomorrow,” he said. “I honestly believe it will take 12 to get it done. But a guy could have a really good day and come in with 16. I got it in me if I just get the bite. I’ve out-fished my boater two days in a row, it’s just got to be another good day of fishing tomorrow.”