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.
3. Jason Reyes of Huffman, Texas, 20 bass, 76-12, $30,000
4. Cody Meyer of Auburn, Calif., 20 bass, 72-13, $25,000
5. Alex Davis of Albertville, Ala., 20 bass, 72-12, $22,000
6. Miles Burghoff of Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., 20 bass, 71-3, $21,000
7. John Cox of DeBary, Fla., 20 bass, 70-1, $19,000
8. Joshua Weaver of Macon, Ga., 20 bass, 65-10, $18,000
9. David Williams of Maiden, N.C., 20 bass, 65-0, $17,000
10. 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.