Jacob Wheeler of Indianapolis, Ind., caught a five-bass limit weighing 7 pounds, 9 ounces Saturday to become the 2011 BFL All-American champion and win $100,000. Wheeler caught a total of 15 bass that weighed 36-3 for the three day event. Jake Morris of McKee, Ky., came in second place with a tournament total of 12 bass weighing 27 pounds, 1 ounce to win $20,000. The Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy was held on Cross Lake in Shreveport, La., May 19-21 and featured the top 49 boaters and top 49 co-anglers from across the country.
“This is the biggest thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life. It is life changing,” said the 20-year-old Wheeler, who is fishing in his first BFL All-American. “I have been fishing since I was two and dreaming about becoming a pro fisherman since I was four. I have been draining my bank account every tournament to fish. This was a great day and has been a great week.
“Everything just seemed to go my way this week,” added Wheeler. “I spent a lot of time practicing down here and learning the lake. On the first day I went to an area where a pond was being drained into the lake which caused a current. It was loaded with fish. That was really why I had the success I did to start the tournament. I went back on day two but the pump had been turned off and I had to adjust a little bit. This lake is full of fish and you just have to find those key areas.
“On day one I did a lot of running and gunning. Days two and three I really slowed down,” Wheeler went on to say. “My strategy was to maintain my lead and try to bring home the win. I mostly sat on one spot and worked through it. I caught most of my fish on tubes. I caught my biggest one today with a Pop-R. I feel so blessed.”
The final top 10 boaters in the All-American are:
3rd: Charles Cummings, Leeds, Ala., 14 bass, 24-10, $15,000 plus $8,000 Ranger Cup bonus
4th: Lloyd Pickett Jr., Bartlett, Tenn., 12 bass, 23-6, $14,000 plus $7,000 Ranger Cup bonus
5th: Mike Hicks, Goochland, Va., 10 bass, 22-14, $13,000 plus $6,000 Ranger Cup bonus
6th: George Kapiton, Inverness, Fla., eight bass, 22-7, $12,000 plus $5,000 Ranger Cup bonus
7th: Mike Brueggen, La Crosse, Wis., seven bass, 21-12, $11,000
8th: Kip Carter, Loganville, Ga., eight bass, 19-14, $10,000
9t9: Harry Barton, Sterrett, Ala., 10 bass, 18-0, $9,000
10th: Don Boeger, Caldwell, Idaho, nine bass, 16-1, $8,000
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Overall there were 27 bass weighing 54 pounds, 7 ounces caught by 10 boaters Saturday. The catch included two five-bass limits.
Wheeler‘s victory has qualified him for the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart, the world championship of bass fishing. This year’s Cup is being held in Hot Springs, Ark., Aug. 11-14 on Lake Ouachita where pros are competing for a top prize of $600,000 – the sport’s biggest award.
Shane Winchester of Glasgow, Ky., won the Co-angler Division and $50,000 Saturday with a total of nine bass weighing 22-2 followed by Kyle Radake of Cape Girardeau, Mo., in second place with 10 bass weighing 17-0 worth $15,000.
“My goal coming into the tournament was to catch five small fish each day,” said Winchester. “I didn’t do that. I was lucky enough to land that 8 pounder on the first day and that’s what really carried me through the tournament.
“I was able to mostly do the same thing all week,” Winchester went on to say. “I was using a Roboworm skipping docks and tress. I would throw the bait very slowly and slightly shake it after it fell. I am so excited to be going to the Forrest Wood Cup. Hopefully it will turn out like this.
The remaining top 10 co-anglers finished the tournament in:
3rd: David Williams, Fredericksburg, Va., eight bass, 13-6, $6,000
4th: Kermit Crowder, Matoaca, Va., eight bass, 12-11, $5,000 plus $1,600 Ranger Cup bonus
5th: Greg Gilley, Orange Beach, Ala., five bass, 12-6, $4,500
6th: Kevin Crady, Desoto, Mo., six bass, 12-1, $4,000
7th: Tyler Wood, Collinsville, Miss., four bass, 11-2, $3.500
8th: Gerrit Goins, Cleveland, Tenn., seven bass, 11-0, $3,000
9th: Jason Hester, Haleyville, Ala., six bass, 9-15, 2,500 plus $1,100 Ranger Cup bonus
10th: Tony Grubb, Ann Arbor, Mich., eight bass, 8-11, $2,000
For a full list of results visit FLWOutdoors.com.
Overall there were 16 bass weighing 25 pounds, 7 ounces caught by 10 co-anglers Saturday. The catch included only one five-bass limit.
Winchester will also competein the 2011 Forrest Wood Cup.
Coverage of the BFL All-American tournament will be broadcast in high-definition (HD) on VERSUS. “FLW Outdoors,” will air Sept. 4 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. “FLW Outdoors,” hosted by Jason Harper, is broadcast to more than 500 million households worldwide.
The BFL is a 24-division circuit devoted to weekend anglers, offering bigger prizes to those who qualify for regional championships and those who make it to the BFL All-American. Top winners in the BFL can move up to the EverStart Series or even the FLW Tour.
For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow the BFL on Facebook at Facebook.com/BassFishingLeague and on Twitter at Twitter.com/FLWOutdoors.
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