All week long, Addison, Alabama, pro Jesse Wiggins said that when he closed his eyes, Lake of the Ozarks felt exactly like his home fishery – Lewis Smith Lake in North Alabama. That hometown “feel” was just what Wiggins needed this week. The 32-year-old Alabama angler caught 11 scorable bass Thursday weighing 27 pounds, 11 ounces to win the MLF Bass Pro Tour Bass Boat Technologies Stage Four on Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Bass Cat in Osage Beach, Missouri, and take home the top prize of $100,000.
Link to Video of Fish Catch Highlights from Day 6
“Oh my gosh,” said an emotional Wiggins as time expired. “I’m shaking, my videographers shaking, my official is shaking – we’re freaking tore up. I’m just a redneck from Alabama that likes to fish and loves to throw a shaky-head.
“I get here, and the banks look identical to Smith Lake. I mean, identical. And the fish set up identical. It seemed like I could call my shot, all week long.”
Wiggins spent the tournament targeting boat docks with a homemade shaky-head rig. After winning the Group A Qualifying Round, he advanced directly into Thursday’s Championship Round.
“I did exactly what I wanted to do, all week,” Wiggins said. “I grew up throwing a worm – that’s all we did. And we finally get a lake where they’re spawning and they’re biting the shaky-head. When they’re on that thing, I feel like I can win.”
Wiggins shaky-head rig was homemade – he fished both a 1/8-ounce and a 3/16-ounce – and he credited his key bait as being a watermelon-candy-colored Jackall Flick Shake worm.
“I always throw my shaky-heads on my 7-foot, 1-inch extra fast St. Croix Legend Elite rod – medium-heavy – with a Quantum Smoke S3 reel,” Wiggins said. “My line was Seaguar Smackdown 30-pound braid and a 12-pound Seaguar Invizx leader . I worked with 12-pound because the water was dingy, and I was throwing it mainly around docks and cables.
“To come away with a win, first place against these guys – Lord have mercy, I can’t even put it into words,” Wiggins went on to say. “My support system back home – they all sacrifice so much. My wife Haley, River, my mom, Haley’s mom, Haley’s sisters, my grandma, my brothers – it’s crazy how much they sacrifice just for me to come out here and chase these things. I am so happy to win this for them. I can’t wait to bring this trophy back home to Addison.”
The top 10 pros from the Bass Boat Technologies Stage Four on Lake of the Ozarks Presented by Bass Cat finished:
1st: Jesse Wiggins, Addison, Ala., 11 bass, 27-11, $100,000
2nd: Dean Rojas, Lake Havasu City, Ariz., nine bass, 25-4, $45,000
3rd: Wesley Strader, Spring City, Tenn., six bass, 17-11, $38,000
4rd: Stephen Browning, Hot Springs, Ark., five bass, 14-0, $32,000
5th: Jacob Wheeler, Harrison, Tenn., five bass, 13-2, $30,000
6th: Kelly Jordon, Flint, Texas, four bass, 11-11, $26,000
7th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., four bass, 10-9, $23,000
8th: Mark Rose, Wynne, Ark., three bass, 10-4, $21,000
9th: Jonathon VanDam, Kalamazoo, Mich., two bass, 4-3, $19,000
10th: Jeremy Lawyer, Sarcoxie, Mo., zero bass, 0-0, $16,000
Full results for the entire field can be found at MajorLeagueFishing.com.