DULUTH — Jacob Wheeler continues his lead in the Forrest Wood Cup on Lake Lanier, weighed in the biggest stringer Saturday with his five best bass weighing 14 pounds, 7 ounces during weigh-in at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth.
Wheeler, 21, has now landed the day’s best catch for two of the three days and carries a total weight of 48-2 into today’s final round.
“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 win. “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.”
The overall winner will be crowned tonight at the Gwinnett Arena and will carry home a check for $500,000.
Wheeler owns a 5-pound, 13-ounce lead over Scott Canterbury (42-5). Bryan Thrift is in third (39-15) as they head out for the final round of fishing at 7 a.m. today at Laurel Park in Gainesville.
Wheeler said the bite was better for him Saturday because of the rain that greeted the tournament anglers, creating more current that is favorable for his style of fishing.
“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 five-pounder at the boat when she jumped and spit the hook. I wanted to cry.
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.”