More News with Jacob Wheeler

Make or Break at Eufala

Posted by jacob on May 19, 2015

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(Photo: FLW LLC)

The FLW Tour event at Lake Eufaula was an example of how keeping your mind in the game every second of practice and the event can do.  I nearly missed out on a key pattern going on during the event, but I went with my gut the final day of practice and put in the time and effort in the last three hours that carried me through the entire event.

After a slow start to the season, my energy has been focused on turning things around and getting to the Forrest Wood Cup.  During practice I really tried to keep my options open so I wouldn’t overlook anything.  The guys at this level are so good that you have to go the extra mile to be able to compete with them.

I had gotten onto a shallow bite with a frog that was more of a morning deal where I felt like I could get two or three good bites.  The thing about it though, we blasted off at 6:30am each morning, so by the time I would get to the area, that bite would be all but over.  My buddy and travel partner, Matt Arey, was fishing up the river and told me I had to come up there so I went and checked that out too.  I caught fish up there the final practice day, but nothing giant.

We got off the water and got something to eat before something in my head told me that I needed to go back out and graph brush piles.  In the FLW, you have to be off the water by midnight and those nearly three hours from 9:00-11:50pm made my event.  I found about ten brush piles that I ended up weighing nine of my fish during the event off of.

On the first day of competition I tried some of my other areas and didn’t have a fish in the boat by 10:00am.  I headed to those brush piles I had marked in practice and caught all of my weight that day from them.  Although the brush pile deal was what saved me it was still a mental game.  I had caught a lot of smaller keepers from brush piles throughout the event and then would keep fishing it and crack a four or five pounder which made all the difference.  I had to rotate through a handful of baits to get those fish to bite throughout the event.  My key baits were a Rapala DT-10 on hard bottom areas and brush, along with a big worm and Gene Larew Biffle Bug.

This event was a make or break one and it could’ve easily went the other way had I not went back out on the final day of practice looking for those brush piles.  It just goes to show how hard you have to work at this level and the little things that can make a big difference.  I’m back in the cut for the Cup, hanging in the mid-20s right now.  The next event sets up very well for me.  If I had to pick out one place to call my home lake, I would pick Lake Chickamauga.  I’ve got a lot of experience on the lake and hopefully I can sift through all the acquired knowledge and put together a solid game plan to give myself a chance to do something special.

What I needed at Beaver Lake

Posted by jacob on April 27, 2015

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Anytime you can catch your personal best bag of fish at a lake and lead a tournament is a good day.  That’s exactly what happened at Beaver Lake, but unfortunately day two was filled with tough breaks that took me out of that first cut.  Even though I didn’t manage to win, which is the goal every time I hit the water, I definitely got what I needed at Beaver Lake.  I needed to bounce back from a tough event and get my season turned around after being out of the Forrest Wood Cup cutline and a 32nd place finish, a nice check, and some more confidence going into the next part of the season is exactly what I got.

I spent most of my practice looking for bedding fish, but noticed that most of the fish were getting towards the end of the spawning cycle.  They were beat up, skinny, and very easily spooked.  Looking back at the Rayovac event on Grand Lake showed that in that part of the country, the prime spawn time fishing had come and gone a couple weeks prior to us getting to Beaver.  Nevertheless, I found some quality fish on beds and that allowed me to have success on day one of the event.

Day one I went right to a few big ones that I figured would be easy to catch and sure enough they were.  I managed three in the upper three to four pound range and was able to put a couple more two plus pounders in the boat on route to the biggest sack of fish I’d caught on Beaver and a lead right out of the gate.  I purposely left some sight fish in those areas to hopefully be able to put together another good bag on day two.

With a delay because of a big thunderstorm in the morning, along with clouds and wind, it made for a tough sight fishing bite.  They were definitely more skittish than on day one, so I decided to just go fishing after losing a couple sight fish early on.  I put a flipping stick in my hand and started flipping some trash mats and hooked up with a solid two plus pound fish.  I brought it up to the top of the mat before it came unbuttoned and I watched it flip around on top of the mat for about twenty seconds before working its way back down.  Then I hooked up with another one that was a good fish (three plus) and he pulled himself right off the hook. 

It was frustrating, but I kept plugging away.  With the conditions being as they were, I figured I should be able to catch a few fishing a buzzbait around some of the bushes on the main lake.  I caught the first fish that bit which was a two pounder.  The next two that bit were in the pound and a half range, but I wasn’t able to put either in the boat.  Over the course of the day I lost six of the nine fish that bit, but that’s how this game is sometimes.  It’s what keeps me coming back for more.  You can’t always catch them every day, but it drives me to strive for it regardless.  I had the right bites in the event so I can definitely take that positive out of it.

I want to give a shout out to my roommate Matt Arey for pulling off another great win at Beaver Lake.  If I wasn’t going to win the event he was the person I wanted to see holding the trophy.  He’s like a brother, even though we argue and get on each other, we still are good friends at the end of the day.  On the final day after putting his key fob in the net, he called me all jacked up about his day and having a chance to pull off another win there.  I’m happy for him and it’s great to see him pick up back to back wins on tough body of water.

The next part of the season looks like it’s going to be an offshore fishing fest.  With Eufala and Chickamauga coming up on the schedule, I’m definitely jacked up.  The more I fish down south the more I’m liking these offshore/ledge fishing events.  The Chickamauga event is around the same time as the BASSFest event that I won last season was, so I feel really good about my chances.


Fueling the Fire at Smith Lake

Posted by jacob on April 1, 2015

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Being able to catch bass nearly any way you want is usually a good thing.  But, sometimes when there are a lot of things going on it’s hard to pick the right thing, or things to do.  At the second stop of the FLW Tour at Smith Lake this week that is what happened to me.

The fish were pulling up to spawn, but there was also a lot of fish still in prespawn mode.  In practice I got caught up in the sight fishing thing which ate up a lot of my time.  I also spent some time throwing a big swimbait to see if I could illicit some strikes from some giants.  Neither of those patterns really materialized for me, but I was able to get onto a bit of a schooling bite.  I figured that I could milk that bite for twelve to fifteen pounds each day and then spend the rest of the days trying to cull up by sight fishing for some biggins.

The first day of the tournament I figured would be a good day to do some sight fishing because of the conditions.  That never really proved to be “the deal”, but I was able to scratch together a limit throwing a Rapala Shadow Rap and mixing in some junk fishing.  It cooled down significantly the next day and I figured the sight fishing would be thrown off.  Once again, I junk fished, but never truly felt comfortable and ended up with not quite enough to snag a check.

It was a tough event and the positive to take from the second FLW Tour stop at Smith is I definitely got an attitude adjustment.  In the past, when I’ve had a couple tough events it really puts a fire in my belly and this is no different.  I’m driven by the competition in this sport, not the money or fame.  I crave that competition and when I get knocked down it drives me harder to do well.  Whether it’s putting in more study for the next event or whatever it may be, I’m going to look for ways to put myself in a better position to succeed.

Beaver Lake is coming up next.  I really like fishing there as the weights have consistently been getting better every year.  It fishes a lot like Smith and it’ll be in a similar phase as Smith was this past week.  It’ll almost be a like a do-over when we get to Arkansas.  I’m going to be going back to my strengths.  I’m normally a shallow water guy and with the water up and warming, I’ll probably put a flipping stick in my hands and head as far up the river as I can. 

After the Smith Lake event I talked to a buddy from back home who has given me the nickname, Buzzbait Jig.  The reason being, in the past that was about all I threw.  If they were feeding up I’d have a buzzbait tied on and if they were feeding down I would have a jig on.  He was like, “what are you doing?  Fish your strengths and do what you know.”  That’s what the plan is at Beaver Lake.

FLW Tour Season Opener at Lake Toho

Posted by jacob on March 12, 2015

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It’s always great to start the season in Florida whether it is at Lake Okeechobee or Lake Toho.  I know it was a shocker for a lot of guys not to have the FLW Tour season opener at Lake Okeechobee, but personally I think it was a nice change of scenery. 

Florida is its own animal as far as bass fishing goes and specifically tournament fishing.  There is a lot of luck involved when you are fishing down there because any given cast could produce a game changing giant!  It really puts you on point with the thought of an eight or nine pounder in the back of your mind.

Going into this event, realistically I felt I would have a good chance to do well.  I ended up walking away with a $10,000 check which is always the goal when you are trying to make a living in the fishing industry, but on the other hand I feel as a competitor, that wasn’t my best.  In practice I knew I had figured something out.  I felt comfortable with a number of areas and honestly I think that was the problem.  In tournament fishing sometimes having a lot of areas and things going on in your mind can work against you.  In this event, I felt like because I had so many areas in my head, I fished too fast through areas thinking I would catch them at the next spot instead of spending time to figure out what had changed.

Day one of the event I was able to put together a decent limit quickly throwing an X-Rap Prop.  It felt good to start the day on the right foot.  Soon after I recognized the conditions were ripe for doing some sight fishing.  I stumbled upon a nice one in the 5.5-6 lb range set up on a bed and I committed to putting her in the boat.  She proved to not want any part of what I was serving up. With that decision I ended up weighing the fish I had caught earlier and found myself with a middle of the pack start to my event.  That’s truly the nature of the game though.  It’s all about decisions and that first day, I made a decision that I thought was the right one, but it didn’t work out this time.  The second day I was able to get a little redemption in the morning though and stuck that big spawner on the X-Rap Prop and managed a better limit and a 43rd place finish.

I have to say congrats to JT Kenney for the win.  He fished awesome all week and it was his event to win.  I’m really jacked to be fishing Smith Lake at the next stop.  The biggest spotted bass I’ve ever weighed in a tournament came from there at 4.96 lbs.  It’s an awesome lake and I love the way it sets up. 

I want to take a minute to welcome Academy Sports and Outdoors on board as my title sponsor this season.  I’m very excited to be working with such a great company.  They carry a wide variety of fishing products for about any situation. 

With a solid start to the season I’m really looking to carry my momentum to Smith Lake and continue my quest of making the Forrest Wood Cup!


Jacob Wheeler Fishing is live with Pro Sites Unlimited

Posted by admin on February 11, 2015

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I'm gearing up for the 2015 Professional Bass Fishing Season with my new website powered by Pro Sites Unlimited. Stay tuned for the latest news from the tournament trail along with new product releases from my sponsors, photos, videos and exclusive deals you'll find here. Stay tuned. It's ON - Jacob Wheeler