DRAGONFLY - RAYMARINE

JACOB WHEELER LEADS DAY TWO AT CHICKAMAUGA WITH 52-3

Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 06/12/2014

Story by Matt Pangrac - Photos by Dave Rush

Dayton, TN - After kicking off BASSfest with an impressive 25-12 limit to take the tournament lead, Mike Iaconelli was unable to remain at the top on Thursday at a rainy and overcast Lake Chickamauga. Iaconelli crossed the stage with just three bass weighing 8-1 and slipped to 20th in the tournament standings, opening the door for a handful of hopefuls.     

2011 BFL All-American and 2012 Forrest Wood Cup champion, Jacob Wheeler, was the angler who walked through that open door.   Wheeler, who qualified for BASSfest this week on Chickamauga with a 13th place finish in the 2013 Bassmaster Northern Open point standings, made his presence felt in a big way on Thursday with a limit weighing 29-13.   

With a total weight of 52-3, the 23-year-old has a lead of just less than 7-pounds and is on pace to break the century mark.   

Chasing Wheeler is Kevin VanDam, who bettered his day one performance by 5-ounces and brought 22-14 to the BASSfest scales for a total weight of 45-7.  

Fresh off an FLW Tour victory last week on Pickwick, it appears as though Greg Hackney brought the mojo with him to Chickamauga.  With 24-8 on Thursday, the Louisiana pro finished the day in 3rd place with 44-13.   

Matt Herren finished in 4th place with 21-7 on the day and a total weight of 43-14, and Takahiro Omori rounded out the Top 5 with a total weight of 43-1.   

In total, 10 of the 140 anglers cracked the 20-pound mark on Thursday.  The biggest move of the day belonged to Justin Lucas, who rebounded from a 10-12 limit on Wednesday with a 25-5 limit on Thursday to jump up to 16th place and qualify for Saturday’s third round of competition.  

With the unique BASSfest format, the top 50 anglers have Friday off while the remaining 90 anglers will compete on nearby Nickajack Lake on Friday.  The top 10 finishers at Nickajack will rejoin the top 50 anglers for the third round of competition on Saturday.  

Marty Robinson was the last angler inside the Top 50, edging out Dean Rojas in a tie breaker after both anglers finished with a total weight of 26-3.   

Tournament: Bassmaster Elite Series - BASSfest
Location: Lake Chickamauga – Dayton, Tennessee
Day Two Leader: Jacob Wheeler (22-6, 29-13: 52-3)
50th Place: Marty Robinson (26-3)  
Total weight separating 1st from 12th Place: 16-0

1st Place: Jacob Wheeler (22-6, 29-13: 52-3)
Wheeler on his overall day on Chickamauga:
“It started off pretty slow for me.  When I got (to my spot), my graph was turned off on the front.  I tried messing with it, but it was shot and I didn’t have a front graph all day long.  I settled down after 15 minutes and decided to use a buoy and get on the places and fish slowly and take my time.

“Everything got into a rhythm and I was able to catch a few fish.  I made an adjustment and went to another place that I had and caught a few more.  I reached a point in the day where I had a place that I knew I needed to fish, and when I pulled up there was nobody there.  It was lights out and I caught a couple really nice fish.  I was basically able to use the rest of the day to idle around and fish places where I’ve seen schools (of bass) in the past.

“I culled one fish after 12:30, but three fish came off one spot and the rest came off different places.  The cool thing is that I’m not committed to just one place and I like the fact that a lot of people aren’t fishing the stuff that I’m fishing.  I only had nine (keepers) all day.  It was definitely a struggle, but when I got a bite it was the right one.”  

Wheeler on the importance of using a marker buoy on Thursday:
“Without a doubt, having a marker buoy in the boat was huge.  You may think that you’re right on point, but you may be just 10 feet off and that’s a big deal when you’re ledge fishing.  Having a reference point and being able to make those casts I think helped me catch a few more fish.”  

Wheeler on his familiarity with Chickamauga:
“I’ve fished Chickamauga a lot over the past three or four years.  Last year, I fished a major event down here and even with all the information and my understanding of this place, I just didn’t catch them and I got spun out.  This tournament, I said that I didn’t care about any other angler and I just told myself that it was payback time.   

“I’ve fished multiple smaller events here because one my best friends lives down here.  We met in the Junior Bassmasters and his family is like my second family.  I come down here and fish all the time in the winter and we just go out and fish a lot.

“I knew what happened last year (in the FLW Tour event on Chickamauga) and what areas got pressured and the fish wouldn’t bite because of it.  I knew that those places are obvious places with a big fish on them, but I stayed away from those places.”   

Wheeler on the difference between Wednesday and Thursday on Chickamauga:
“I think that I just made the right rotation today, and it’s as simple as that.  There are obviously 30-pound bags out there and today was just my day...The fish set up differently depending on how the current is running.  There are schools of fish out there that are hard to get to bite, but when you do get a bite, it’s a big one.”

Wheeler on what it will take to maintain his lead:
“If you’re going to win an event, it’s going to happen and you have to put everything behind you and not worry.”

2nd Place: Kevin VanDam (22-9, 22-14: 45-7)
VanDam on his overall day on Chickamauga:
“It was a really slow day for me and an all-day grind.  I had one good one and four little fish at noon and I had to keep the faith and know that how I was fishing was the right thing to do.”

VanDam on the difference between Wednesday and Thursday on Chickamauga:
“There really wasn’t much wind or current today, so the fish moved.  It was one of those days where I was pretty fortunate to catch what I caught.  I lost some big ones today, and that’s kind of been the story of the last couple of years.  I’m not really making mistakes and it’s part of fishing.  I fished clean yesterday, but it was costly today and that will be hard to make up.  

“They were biting a little funny, and I know that one of the fish short-struck me and was barely lip hooked before it came off.  On a couple of the other ones, I really can’t explain what happened.  That’s just part of it.

VanDam on fishing in a crowd:
“That’s just the nature of things here.  I don’t know why, but these fish are very specific on a lot of the spots.  There aren’t nearly the number of hard bottom spots on this lake than on, say, a Kentucky Lake.  On Kentucky Lake, the whole bottom is shell and hard gravel and sand.  Here, it’s just different terrain.  The grass coming into this fishery is what has made it boom.  If you look at the physical health of these fish, it’s incredible.”  

VanDam on how the day off will affect him:
“When you’re out there on consecutive days, you can really follow the changes and patterns and the fish.  It’s the same for everyone so I guess that it doesn’t matter, but I’d rather be out there fishing tomorrow.  I think that everything will be fine, though.”  

3rd Place: Greg Hackney (20-5, 24-8: 44-13)
Hackney on his overall day on Chickamauga:
“I’m actually doing something that I like to do and fishing the stuff that I like to fish.  I’m not the only one fishing this way, but this lake is full of grass and that’s my favorite way to fish.   Yesterday they ran a lot of water so I was able to cover water and find the fish.  Today, I didn’t get near the bites but I was fishing places where I knew the fish were.  I just moved around and hit the key places.

“I was really fortunate today because I had a decent bag and I saw a big one blow up.  I fired a topwater over there and caught it.  It was probably a 6-pounder, so that was a gift fish.”   

Hackney on the difference between Wednesday and Thursday:
“There was a huge change.  I probably caught 30 keepers yesterday and they ran a lot of current.  These are current fish, so that was the deal yesterday.  Today, I probably caught a dozen to 15 keepers.  I knew that it was going to be tougher, and I was just really fortunate that I caught a couple good ones. This morning, I knew that there was no movement.”

Hackney on fishing Chickamauga with limited practice after winning the FLW Tour on Pickwick last Sunday:
“I actually got her the next day (Monday) at 11:00.  I practiced until dark and then I got up the next morning (Tuesday), but I didn’t feel good so I just stayed in and worked on my tackle.”

Hackney on how the day off will affect him:
“I’m looking forward to sitting on the bank tomorrow.  I’m not going to set my alarm clock and I’m going to get up, eat some breakfast, and have a great day.  Honestly, I feel like I’ve already accomplished a lot more during the first two days than I expected.”  

DAY TWO STANDINGS

 

PlaceNameDay 1Day 2Total FishTotal Weight
FishWeightFishWeight
1 Jacob Wheeler 5 22- 6 5 29-13 10 52- 3
2 Kevin VanDam 5 22- 9 5 22-14 10 45- 7
3 Greg Hackney 5 20- 5 5 24- 8 10 44-13
4 Matthew Herren 5 22- 7 5 21- 7 10 43-14
5 Takahiro Omori 5 22-15 5 20- 2 10 43- 1
6 Jason Williamson 5 21- 3 5 17-10 10 38-13
7 David Smith 5 20- 6 5 17-15 10 38- 5
8 John Crews 5 18-14 5 19- 7 10 38- 5
9 Brett Hite 5 19- 2 5 18-15 10 38- 1
10 Gerald Swindle 5 15- 5 5 22-11 10 38- 0
11 Edwin Evers 5 24- 3 3 13- 4 8 37- 7
12 Boyd Duckett 5 16- 0 5 21- 3 10 37- 3
13 Terry Scroggins 5 19- 7 5 17-11 10 37- 2
14 Fred Roumbanis 5 20- 0 5 16-10 10 36-10
15 Jason Christie 5 22- 5 5 14- 1 10 36- 6
16 Justin Lucas 5 10-12 5 25- 5 10 36- 1
17 Tommy Biffle 5 24- 1 5 12- 0 10 36- 1
18 Russ Lane 5 14- 3 5 20-14 10 35- 1
19 Hank Cherry 5 13-13 5 21- 0 10 34-13
20 Michael Iaconelli 5 25-12 3 8- 1 8 33-13
21 Casey Ashley 5 16- 1 5 17- 7 10 33- 8
22 Brandon Card 5 14-13 5 18- 7 10 33- 4
23 Cliff Pirch 5 16- 2 5 16- 5 10 32- 7
24 Michael Murphy 5 15-13 5 16- 8 10 32- 5
25 Scott Rook 5 20-10 3 11- 8 8 32- 2
26 Luke Clausen 5 15- 8 5 16-10 10 32- 2
27 James Niggemeyer 5 15-15 5 15-14 10 31-13
28 Randall Tharp 5 17- 1 5 14- 3 10 31- 4
29 Brandon Palaniuk 5 17-15 5 13- 3 10 31- 2
30 Stephen Mui 5 16- 1 5 14-14 10 30-15
31 Nate Wellman 5 15- 3 5 15-10 10 30-13
32 Britt Myers 5 19- 1 5 11- 9 10 30-10
33 Jared Knuth 5 14- 3 5 16- 6 10 30- 9
34 Bill Lowen 5 13-11 5 16- 9 10 30- 4
35 Davy Hite 5 21- 8 4 8- 9 9 30- 1
36 Jeff Kriet 5 12- 0 5 18- 0 10 30- 0
37 Gary Klein 5 13-10 5 16- 2 10 29-12
38 Jacob Powroznik 5 15- 0 5 14-11 10 29-11
39 Skeet Reese 5 19- 2 3 10- 1 8 29- 3
40 Ott DeFoe 5 14-15 5 13-14 10 28-13
41 Brian Snowden 4 15-10 5 13- 0 9 28-10
42 Andy Montgomery 5 11- 6 5 17- 0 10 28- 6
43 Kelly Jordon 3 7- 4 5 21- 0 8 28- 4
44 Jeremy Starks 4 9-15 5 18- 4 9 28- 3
45 Alton Jones 5 13- 9 5 14- 9 10 28- 2
46 David Lefebre 5 12-15 5 15- 1 10 28- 0
47 Rick Clunn 4 12-13 5 14-11 9 27- 8
48 Jared Lintner 3 13-13 5 13- 4 8 27- 1
49 Glenn Browne 5 12- 2 5 14- 7 10 26- 9
50 Marty Robinson 4 6- 7 5 19-12 9 26- 3
51 Dean Rojas 5 12- 2 5 14- 1 10 26- 3
52 Brock Mosley 5 12-13 5 13- 4 10 26- 1
53 Keith Combs 5 11-11 5 13-11 10 25- 6
54 Tim Horton 5 17- 3 3 8- 1 8 25- 4
55 Chad Morgenthaler 5 16-13 4 8- 7 9 25- 4
56 Derek Remitz 3 9- 7 5 15-12 8 25- 3
57 Kevin Hawk 5 11- 3 5 13- 4 10 24- 7
58 Randy Howell 4 9- 0 5 15- 6 9 24- 6
59 Joel Baker 5 10- 5 5 13-11 10 24- 0
60 Joseph Sancho 5 16-12 3 6-15 8 23-11
61 Rick Morris 4 7- 4 5 16- 7 9 23-11
62 Matt Reed 3 9- 6 5 14- 5 8 23-11
63 Chris Zaldain 5 15-10 4 7-15 9 23- 9
64 Jim Dillard 5 11- 0 5 12- 9 10 23- 9
65 Richard Howes 5 14- 8 3 9- 0 8 23- 8
66 Ish Monroe 3 7-13 5 15- 5 8 23- 2
67 Gerald Spohrer 5 16- 5 3 6- 7 8 22-12
68 Michael Elsea 3 8-15 5 13-13 8 22-12
69 Mike Kernan 5 16-13 3 5-14 8 22-11
70 Kevin Short 4 13-15 2 7-10 6 21- 9
71 David Walker 5 9-15 5 11-10 10 21- 9
72 Stephen Kennedy 4 14-13 3 6- 6 7 21- 3
73 Tracy Adams 5 16- 4 2 4-11 7 20-15
74 J Todd Tucker 5 12-10 4 8- 5 9 20-15
75 Keith Poche 1 2-10 5 18- 4 6 20-14
76 Yusuke Miyazaki 2 5- 3 5 15-11 7 20-14
77 Chad Wiley 4 12-11 3 8- 3 7 20-14
78 Brent Chapman 5 11- 8 3 9- 2 8 20-10
79 Kurt Dove 4 12-12 3 7- 9 7 20- 5
80 Kotaro Kiriyama 5 17- 5 2 2-14 7 20- 3
81 Mike McClelland 2 3- 8 5 16-11 7 20- 3
82 Greg Vinson 5 12-14 3 7- 4 8 20- 2
83 Michael Simonton 5 10- 8 4 9- 6 9 19-14
84 Skylar Hamilton 3 6- 7 4 13- 6 7 19-13
85 Cliff Crochet 3 6- 5 4 13- 6 7 19-11
86 Cliff Prince 5 12-10 3 6- 8 8 19- 2
87 Brian Clark 5 11- 3 3 7-14 8 19- 1
88 Charlie Evans 5 10- 0 4 9- 1 9 19- 1
89 Josh Bertrand 3 6- 8 4 12- 6 7 18-14
90 Paul Pagnato 3 6-14 5 11-11 8 18- 9
91 Tommy Durham 4 8-10 5 9-14 9 18- 8
92 David Kilgore 2 4- 7 5 13- 7 7 17-14
93 Brandon Lester 5 11- 6 4 6- 8 9 17-14
94 Casey Scanlon 4 9- 6 4 7-15 8 17- 5
95 Dennis Tietje 3 6- 6 3 10-14 6 17- 4
96 Todd Faircloth 4 9-10 2 7- 8 6 17- 2
97 James Biggerstaff 3 8-14 4 8- 1 7 16-15
98 Derek Fulps 3 7-10 5 8-14 8 16- 8
99 Bernie Schultz 5 10- 4 3 5- 9 8 15-13
100 Stephen Browning 5 13-14 1 1-11 6 15- 9
101 Kendall Newson 2 4-14 3 10-11 5 15- 9
102 Pete Ponds 1 2-15 5 12- 3 6 15- 2
103 J T Kenney 4 10-14 2 4- 3 6 15- 1
104 Chris Lane 3 7-12 4 7- 5 7 15- 1
105 James Elam 2 4-11 4 10- 2 6 14-13
106 Steve Sennikoff 2 4- 2 4 10-10 6 14-12
107 Shaw Grigsby 3 11- 5 2 3- 6 5 14-11
108 Paul Elias 3 8-11 2 5-10 5 14- 5
109 Gary Clouse 1 2- 2 5 12- 2 6 14- 4
110 Bobby Lane 5 11-11 1 1-12 6 13- 7
111 Scott Ashmore 3 8- 7 2 5- 0 5 13- 7
112 Chad Pipkens 2 3-12 3 9-10 5 13- 6
113 Fletcher Shryock 0 0- 0 5 13- 1 5 13- 1
114 Morizo Shimizu 5 11- 0 1 1-15 6 12-15
115 Bradley Roy 2 4- 2 2 8-11 4 12-13
116 Mark Davis 5 12- 8     5 12- 8
117 Jeff Cloud 1 2-15 4 9- 8 5 12- 7
118 Jamie Horton 4 11- 9     4 11- 9
119 Kelley Jaye 2 3-15 3 7- 2 5 11- 1
120 Matt Lee 2 6-11 1 4- 5 3 11- 0
121 Kenneth "Boo" Woods 4 10-11     4 10-11
122 William Weidler 2 3-13 2 6- 2 4 9-15
123 Billy McCaghren 5 9-11     5 9-11
124 Jared Miller 2 9-11     2 9-11
125 Jonathon VanDam 1 2-13 2 6-14 3 9-11
126 Brian Potter 2 6- 7 2 3- 1 4 9- 8
127 Aaron Martens 5 9- 7     5 9- 7
128 Grant Goldbeck 1 0- 0 4 9- 7 5 9- 7
129 Trevor Romans 3 8- 8     3 8- 8
130 Byron Velvick 3 8- 7     3 8- 7
131 Zell Rowland 3 5- 4 1 2- 0 4 7- 4
132 Al Farace 2 5- 3 1 2- 1 3 7- 4
133 David Mullins 2 7- 0     2 7- 0
134 Charlie Hartley 1 2-10 2 3-13 3 6- 7
135 Patrick Pierce 1 2- 1 2 3- 9 3 5-10
136 Kenyon Hill 2 5- 3     2 5- 3
137 William Kemp 2 4-11     2 4-11
138 John Murray 1 3-10     1 3-10
139 Jamey Caldwell 0 0- 0 1 1- 1 1 1- 1
140 Lucas Ragusa 0 0- 0     0 0- 0