DULUTH, Ga., Aug. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- 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 1-1/2-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 FLWOutdoors.com.
Overall there were 91 bass weighing 201 pounds, 13 ounces caught by pros Saturday. The catch included 15 five-bass limits.
Timothy Dearing of Loudon, Tenn., won the co-angler division and $50,000 Saturday with a three-day total of 10 bass weighing 22 pounds, 13 ounces followed by Josh Smith of Hamilton, Ohio, in second place with seven bass weighing 20-4 worth $15,000.
"This is just such an awesome experience," said Dearing, a retired colonel from the U.S. Air Force. "I have so many people to thank, including my wife who told me to retire and go fish while I was still healthy enough to be able to live my dream. I get so much support from all of the pros; I have learned so much. There is one special guy out there who really helped me a lot, though, and that's (FLW Tour pro) Brandon Coulter. Five years ago I met him at an FLW event, and I walked up to him and asked him if he ever took anybody out to help them learn how to fish. He took me out three or four times and we became good friends. I really wouldn't be here without him. I'm very blessed."
The top 10 co-anglers are:
1st: Timothy Dearing, Loudon, Tenn., 12 bass, 22-13, $50,000
2nd: Josh Smith, Hamilton, Ohio, seven bass, 20-4, $15,000
3rd: Rich Dalbey, Greenville, Texas, eight bass, 19-5, $12,500
4th: Matt Krekovich, Granite City, Ill., eight bass, 18-14, $10,000
5th: Bryan New, Belmont, N.C., eight bass, 18-10, $9,000
6th: Rob Hicks, Lula, Ga., nine bass, 17-5, $8,000
7th: James Waller, Cypress, Texas, nine bass, 17-1, $7,000
8th: Nick Hensley, Cumming, Ga., nine bass, 16-3, $6,000
9th: Richard Peek, Centre, Ala., nine bass, 15-12, $5,000
10th: Ralph Myhlhousen, Council Bluffs, Iowa, eight bass, 15-8, $4,000
Final results for the remaining field can be found at FLWOutdoors.com.
Overall there were 36 bass weighing 78 pounds even caught by co-anglers Saturday. The catch included no five-bass limits.
Anglers will take off from Laurel Park located at 3100 Old Cleveland Highway in Gainesville, Ga., at 7 a.m. Sunday morning. Weigh-ins will be held at the Gwinnett Convention Center located at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth, Ga., beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday.
Fans will be treated to the FLW Expo at the Gwinnett Convention Center on Sunday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. prior to the weigh-ins. The Expo includes Ranger boat simulators, the opportunity to interact with professional anglers, enjoy interactive games, activities and giveaways provided by sponsors, and fans can learn more about the sport of fishing and other outdoor activities. All activities are free and open to the public. On Sunday 1,000 free rods and reels will be given away to the first 1,000 children 14 years and under who are accompanied by an adult. The rod and reel giveaways are courtesy of the Gwinnett Daily Post. Also on Sunday, one lucky fishing fan will win a Ranger Z520 with a 250-horsepower Evinrude, Lowrance electronics and Minn Kota trolling motor. The Ranger boat giveaway is courtesy of the Gwinnett Daily Post and is free to enter, but the winner must be present at the conclusion of Sunday's final weigh-in to win.
Coverage of the Forrest Wood Cup will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on NBC Sports Network when "FLW" airs Sept. 16 from 1-2 p.m. ET. "FLW" is hosted by Jason Harper and is broadcast to more than 559 million households worldwide, making it the most widely distributed weekly outdoors-sports television show in the world.
FLW and the Shreveport/Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau announced Saturday Shreveport would once again be hosting the Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing, Aug. 15-18, 2013, on the Red River. The last time the Forrest Wood Cup, the sport's premier event, was held in Shreveport was 2000 and Dion Hibdon of Sunrise Beach, Mo., made professional fishing history by becoming the second man to win both major championships in the sport of bass fishing.
Mark Rose of Marion, Ark., was awarded the inaugural Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship and Community Leadership Award presented by Goodwill on Saturday, and a donation will be made to Rose's charity of choice. FLW and Goodwill recognized the angler that exemplified the ideals of sportsmanship and community service through the 2012 season. The Forrest L. Wood Sportsmanship and Community Leadership Award recognizes the individual who displayed overall commitment of sportsmanship and community leadership, on and off the water, by displaying ethical behavior, upholding integrity, class, selflessness, conservation efforts and kindness to others.
The same values that brought Goodwill and FLW together as partners inspire the high standards of this award. By recognizing this outstanding individual who set a high standard with their approach on and off the water, FLW hopes to set the tone for tournament fishing and to pass those values on to its anglers, sponsors, fans and host communities.
For complete details and updated information visit FLWOutdoors.com. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/FLWFishing and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWFishing.
FLW is the industry's premier tournament-fishing organization, providing unparalleled fishing resources and entertainment to our sponsors, fans and host communities. FLW is offering anglers of all skill levels the opportunity to compete for millions in prize money nationwide in 2012 over the course of 191 tournaments across five tournament circuits, each providing an avenue to the sport's richest payday and most coveted championship trophy – the Forrest Wood Cup. FLW is committed to providing a lifestyle experience that is the "Best in Fishing, On and Off the Water," through a variety of platforms including tournaments, outdoor expos and the world's richest fantasy sports game – FLW Fantasy Fishing. For more information about FLW and FLW Fantasy Fishing, visit FLWOutdoors.com or FantasyFishing.com and look for FLW on Twitter and Facebook.