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More News With Jacob Wheeler

Holidays and Prepractice Days

Posted by jacob on December 16, 2017


The holiday season is upon us and it’s been an enjoyable time thus far.  I’ve been enjoying the married life with my wife, relaxing and getting prepared for the 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series season.  I’ve been down at Hartwell prepracticing for next year this past week.

Although I’ve been here plenty of times in the past, it’s always useful spending some time looking for new areas to fish because things are always changing year to year.  Highland reservoirs like Hartwell are some of the most notorious for changing.  To me it’s very important to stay in tune with these types of lakes, especially for this reason.

Prepracticing has been an integral part of my strategy for years now.  I’ve seen tremendous value in going to scout this fisheries well before our events because even though the fish will probably be in a different stage by the time the tournament rolls around, the time spent behind the graphs can be invaluable.

Electronics, like my Lowrance units are great for searching for new spots.  However, even things like finding spawning areas in the spring can pay off big time later in the season.  In many places, fish don’t ever venture that far from spawning areas.

With the new rule change, I expect to see a lot more guys taking advantage of the prepractice period.  I think it will really show up in the results with the guys that are utilizing that time doing well.

The past month I also did quite a bit of hunting up in Ohio which is always something I look forward to.  It’s a great way to recharge and enjoy an outdoor activity that isn’t fishing.  We’ve also been going through a lot of tackle in the garage and trying to order new stuff for the season.  I kind of feel bad for my wife after leaving my tackle all over the place before leaving for Hartwell.

Living at Lake Chickamauga has also had its perks.  The fishing has been decent recently, but should continue to get better as it cools down.  I’ve been fishing some smaller tournaments that have been a lot of fun.  A couple weeks back we won one with about seventeen pounds then this past week came in second with eighteen.  I enjoy fishing regardless of how big the event is.

I’m also excited about a couple great new partnerships for next season with Triton Boats and Realtree Outdoors being on board.  They’ve both been great to work with and I really look forward to getting my new Triton within a couple weeks.  They really seem to take care of their guys and that’s always a great thing to see.

It’s almost Christmas time and I’m looking forward to spending it with my wife and family.  Shortly afterwards we’ll be headed out again to do some prepracting for the upcoming season, so any time spent with loved ones is always something I’m grateful for.  I wish all of year a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Be safe out there!

Marriage Vows and Mille Lacs Sows

Posted by jacob on October 8, 2017

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I’m excited to get to finally marry my wonderful fiancé Alicia tomorrow in Hawaii.  We got engaged, we bought a house and all that’s left now is to tie the knot.  Before heading out I was up in Ohio getting everything ready to do some deer hunting when I get back with my buddy.  It mostly consisted of hanging stands and just spending some time in the woods.  I can’t wait to get out there during the rut.  We also wrapped up the Elite Series season at Mille Lacs Lake in Minnesota.  It was a solid finish to the season and we got to catch plenty of big brown ones which is a ton of fun.

Going into the final Angler of the Year Championship, I knew everything had to go right for me to really make a run at winning.  It was kind of fun knowing I could go out there and fish and just let everything else play out.

I know Mille Lacs pretty well now.  I’ve spent a good bit of time up there, but you never know if it’ll be the same.  The first day of practice I had over twenty four pounds which was pretty encouraging.  You had to do a lot of different stuff to get bites, but I felt like I was putting it together slowly throughout practice and figured out a few ways to get some bites.

The first day of the tournament, I was able to catch a little over twenty pounds pretty quickly.  I got plenty of bites and ended up losing one five pounder that day, but started off right in the mix.  Day two, I had about twenty two pounds in the first thirty minutes.  It was one of the most fun days fishing in a derby I think I’ve ever had.  We were culling four and a half pounders and having a ball.

The top two guys never ended up stumbling enough for me to move up and win, but all in all, it was a great event and first Elite Series season.  I just never really had the bites to win throughout the event and I felt like I did everything I could to put myself in the best position.  Congrats to Brandon on an excellent season.

Once we get back from Hawaii, we’ll be heading to the next Major League Fishing event.  It’s going to be somewhere down in the South so it should be a grind of an event.  It should still be fun and I’m looking forward to getting back after them for the first time since wrapping up the Elite Series season.

Different Motivation at Mille Lacs

Posted by jacob on September 13, 2017

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Tomorrow we kick off the final event of the Elite Series season at Mille Lacs Lake.  The place is an absolute giant smallmouth factory, but it definitely is fishing tougher than normal right now.  Overall, my practice has been decent, but I wouldn’t call it great.  The first day, I was able to get a lot of bites, but no big ones.  The second day I didn’t get a lot of bites, but they were all big.  Today was kind of in between with decent numbers and better size than day one.

I’m sure a lot of people will be talking about how tough the fishing is going into this one, but I assure you, big bags will come to the scales.  They are acting a bit goofy from what seems like all of the fishing pressure this past year.  To prepare for this one, I headed up to the St. Lawrence to get my smallmouth game face on.

I’m really not too worried.  There’s no pressure on me now and my goal is to just go out there and catch as big of bag as possible each day and see where that takes me.  The guys at the top could stumble and open the door for me, but I’m just focused on going out there, doing my job, and having fun in this one.

St, Clair was an absolute whack fest!  After prepractice in July I kind of knew St. Clair was hot this year.  However, I felt like my best chances to win were more tied to Erie and the rivers.  Day one, I did catch a couple big ones shallow in St. Clair before leaving, but caught most of my bag outside of it.  After a great day one, I felt like on day two I needed to run to Erie to really have a chance to win the thing.  Unfortunately, I guessed wrong on that one and even though I had close to twenty pounds, I fell down the standings.  They absolutely slaughtered them on day two of the derby.  There were thirty bags over twenty pounds which is completely unheard of! 

Day three, I stopped and caught some three pounders in St. Clair before heading out again, but was never able to really keep up with what those guys were doing over the course of the day there.  It’s not the way I like to fish as there’s a level of randomness to it.  I like to fish structure and current where it gives fish a reason to stick around.

Going into the season you obviously have goals.  The first one we took care of was making the Classic.  Once that was out of the way and Angler of the Year became realistic, that’s where all of my focus shifted.  Everyone has fished at another level this season and it’s honestly a great thing.  Going in, you know that you have to catch them every single day to have a chance and it pushes you to work harder each day.