KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Jacob Wheeler discovered a pattern that has him in position to win the Bassmaster Classic.
After landing 14 pounds, 11 ounces during Friday’s opening round, Wheeler landed five bass Saturday that weighed 17-11 for a two-day total of 32-6 that put him in the lead going into Sunday's final round. His five-bass limit Saturday was one of the few weighed in this week that featured all smallmouth.
“I know this crew,” Wheeler said in a release to bassmaster.com. “I knew they would figure out the same thing I had figured out. Even though there are miles and miles and miles of water, they were going to figure it out.
“I tried to move around the lake, be smart about it and just fish what looked good to me — looking for that needle in the haystack. But I never found it, so I just had to fall back to what I knew I had.”
He said catching five smallmouth Saturday was a surprise.
“If you would have told me at the start of the tournament that eight of my 10 fish so far would be smallmouth, I would have said there’s no way,” Wheeler said. “It’s been so hard to catch a smallmouth — even a nonkeeper.”
Wheeler is just ahead of Alabama angler Mark Daniels Jr., who moved into second place with a Saturday catch of 17-6 that pushed his total to 31-14. Daniels had a 6-3 largemouth that gave him the lead in the Berkley Big Bass competition.