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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Wheeler wins Bass Tournament
Jacob Wheeler of Indianapolis, won the 2017 Bassmaster Elite at Cherokee Lake on Sunday. At only 26 years of age, Wheeler won the event and its $100,000 first-place prize with a four-day total of 69 pounds,13 ounces. Jamie Hartman finished second with 69 pounds, 3 ounces, and Jesse Wiggins, who held a slim lead through the first three rounds of fishing, placed third with 69 pounds. “The smallmouth can be hard to see on this lake because of all the rocks, but you can see them if you know what you’re looking for. That’s the key — looking at the graph and deciding whether you want to stop and fish,”says the winning angler. Wheeler relied all during the tournament on a VMC Moon Eye Jighead with a 3-inch soft jerkbait in simple pearl white. He was watching for smallmouth on his depthfinder and literally dropping the bait to specific fish in 20 to 30 feet of water. He caught the biggest part of his limit during one 10-minute stretch at about 10:30a.m. Sunday. It was technically his second Elite Series win. Fishing was predicted to be outstanding on Cherokee Lake, a fishery the Elite Series had never visited before, and it didn’t disappoint. It didn’t produce any giant bass — a 5pound 5ounce bass caught by Randall Tharp took the $1,500 Phoenix Boats Big Bass award — but the 110 anglers weighed in 1,159 keeper bass during the event, and those bass averaged nearly 3 pounds each. The event was hosted by the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County and Visit Knoxville.


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