Wheeler Stretches Lead In 2012 Forrest Wood Cup - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Wheeler Stretches Lead In 2012 Forrest Wood Cup

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DULUTH, Ga. – Fatheadz Eyewear pro Jacob Wheeler has now weighed in the biggest stringer for two of the three tournament days at the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, giving him a commanding lead heading into the fourth and final day of the world championship of bass fishing. The top cash award of $500,000 is now his to lose as the best professional bass anglers from around the world continued their competition at Lake Lanier on Saturday.

The Indianapolis, Ind., angler advanced to the top 10 as the No. 1 seed with a five-bass limit Saturday of 14-7. With a three-day catch of 15 bass weighing 48-2, and now holds a 5-pound, 13-ounce lead in the tournament going into the final day of competition.

"I was very blessed with the bites I had today," said Wheeler, who would become the youngest Forrest Wood Cup champion in history with a victory tomorrow. "I really am not feeling nervous, though, because I'm putting it into God's hands. If he wants me to win this thing, it'll happen. If he doesn't, it won't. I am on like three hours of sleep over the past three nights, though, and I highly doubt I'm going to get any sleep tonight."

Wheeler said the bite was better for him Saturday because of the little bit of rain that greeted the tournament anglers. He said the rain created more current, and that was the key for him.

"I actually caught a lot of them flipping today," said Wheeler. "They were biting on a green-pumpkin Trigger X Goo Bug and a couple of other flipping baits. You really just have to keep switching it up. The fish get used to seeing the same stuff. I'll flip the Goo Bug, then maybe switch it up to a vibrating bait. Some of them want a jig, some want a chatterbait. I had two fish come on two different topwaters today. I had eight keepers today on nine keeper bites. I lost a 5-pounder at the boat when she jumped and spit the hook. I wanted to cry.

"After I had a pretty big limit, I decided to run 45 minutes down the lake just to target one bank," Wheeler said. "I was able to cull out a 1½-pounder there. I really haven't caught more than one fish off of any piece of cover. They're all over the place, and you have to work them out, one by one, taking your time. That's my kind of fishing. I love the current and the way that it positions the fish, and I feel very comfortable taking my time and picking them off. Today was actually the first day where I caught a fish below Brown's bridge."

The 21-year-old credits his Bass Fishing League All-American win for giving him the ability to handle the pressure in this high-stress situation.

"Winning the All-American last year is helping me out so much," he said. "It really gave me a lot of experience in big tournament fishing – from how to handle the media attention, to fans following your every move, to having a camera guy in the boat. It really taught me just to focus on fishing. Believe it or not, it actually helps me to have a camera in the boat now because it gives me confidence and gets me going. It's nice having someone to talk to all day as well."

Wheeler said the sunny skies that are being forecast for tomorrow will not affect his game plan.

"The bright sun tomorrow should actually position the fish better for me," he said. "The majority of my fish are coming in 5 feet of water or less. The current is really positioning them for me, and with the sun I feel it will probably position them better. I'm very confident that I can go catch them tomorrow, but I'm really just putting it into God's hands."

Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury of Springville, Ala., advanced to the final round of 10 pros in the No. 2 spot with a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 42-5.

The top 10 pros advancing to the final day of competition are:

1st: Fatheadz Eyewear pro Jacob Wheeler, Indianapolis, Ind., 15 bass, 48-2
2nd: Straight Talk pro Scott Canterbury, Springville, Ala., 15 bass, 42-5
3rd: Chevy pro Bryan Thrift, Shelby, N.C., 15 bass, 39-15
4th: National Guard pro Scott Martin, Clewiston, Fla., 15 bass, 39-11
5th: Chevy pro Jay Yelas, Corvallis, Ore., 15 bass, 37-2
6th: Chevy pro Luke Clausen, Spokane, Wash., 15 bass, 37-0
7th: Andy Morgan, Dayton, Tenn., 14 bass, 36-14
8th: Troy Morrow, Eastanollee, Ga., 15 bass, 36-7
9th: Castrol pro David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., 15 bass, 35-7
10th: Chevy pro Dion Hibdon, Sunrise Beach, Mo., 13 bass, 35-3

Finishing in 11th through 20th are:

11th: Cody Meyer, Auburn, Calif., 15 bass, 35-1, $20,000
12th: Clent Davis, Montevallo, Ala., 15 bass, 34-10, $20,000
13th: Clark Wendlandt, Leander, Texas, 15 bass, 34-7, $20,000
14th: Kettle Brand Chips pro Dan Morehead, Paducah, Ky., 15 bass, 34-6, $20,000
15th: Cheez-It pro Shinichi Fukae, Palestine, Texas, 15 bass, 34-2, $20,000
16th: Folgers pro Scott Suggs, Bryant, Ark., 15 bass, 32-5, $15,000
17th: Cody Bird, Granbury, Texas, 12 bass, 31-8, $15,000
18th: Rayovac pro Jason Christie, Park Hill, Okla., 14 bass, 29-8, $15,000
19th: Dr Pepper TEN pro Glenn Browne, Ocala, Fla., 15 bass, 28-4, $15,000
20th: National Guard pro Brent Ehrler, Redlands, Calif., 13 bass, 27-0, $15,000

Final results for the remaining field can be found at www.flwoutdoors.com

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