Jacob Wheeler Takes the Lead on Day One at 2017 Elite Series Toledo Bend

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2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Toledo Bend Day One Leader Jacob Wheeler – photo by Seigo Saito – Bassmaster

MANY, La. — For the second time in three tournaments this season, Jacob Wheeler is sitting atop the leaderboard.

The Indiana pro caught five bass that weighed 25 pounds, 1 ounce during Thursday’s first round of the Bassmaster Elite at Toledo Bend presented by Econo Lodge.

Wheeler, who won the season’s first Elite Series event on Tennessee’s Cherokee Lake in February, leads Arizona pro Brett Hite (24-11) by 6 ounces. But the field has three days left to fish on a lake that has topped the list of Bassmaster Magazine’s 100 Best Bass Lakes the last two years.

“I don’t have much experience here, which might have helped me a little bit or might have hurt me,” said Wheeler, who made the move to the Elite Series this year after a successful career on the FLW Tour. “I spent two days here in the fall one time, five or six days in pre-practice and then practice this week — and that’s it.

“But I know there are a lot of big fish here, and everything worked out for me today.”

With so much fishing left to do, Wheeler was tightlipped about how he caught his fish Thursday. He only said that he managed to catch a few good fish early to calm his nerves.

He said things could change on the 180,000-acre fishery as the week goes by, and the key to winning will be rolling with those changes.

“I think the biggest thing right now is to keep an open mind,” Wheeler said. “I really don’t know how I’m going to fish tomorrow. I’ve got to run around, fly by the seat of my pants, fish a few areas that look good. I’m definitely going to mix it up.”

Many big largemouth bass are spawning on Toledo Bend. But the winds blew 15 to 20 mph Thursday, making it hard for some anglers to spot those bass in shallow water.

Like Wheeler, Hite didn’t say how he was fishing. But he said the wind didn’t hurt him at all.

“Where I’m fishing, I didn’t have the big waves,” Hite said. “A little breeze never hurts when you’re trying to get them to bite.

“Dead-slick calm, post-front conditions would have probably been just right for the sight fishermen. But for what I’m doing, a little breeze always helps.”

Hite said he started his day in the area where he had the most bites during practice, and it proved to be a good decision. One of his first fish was largemouth that weighed 7 1/2 pounds.

“I caught that big fish and had a limit that weighed probably 18 or 19 pounds and moved out of there,” Hite said. “I made a little switch-up and caught a couple of big ones later in the afternoon. That definitely keyed me in on some stuff and how to fish it.”

Toledo Bend didn’t show out from top to bottom Thursday, but the Top 7 anglers all had at least 20 pounds. Behind Wheeler and Hite were Jamie Hartman (23-5), Jason Christie (21-5), Steve Kennedy (20-8), Todd Faircloth (20-2) and Matt Lee (20-0).

Christie’s bag was anchored by a 9-10 largemouth that gave him the lead for Phoenix Boats Big Bass of the week.

“That’s the third-biggest fish I’ve ever caught in a tournament,” Christie said. “I went to a place just thinking I could catch a limit fishing the shad spawn and caught that fish. I just went in there hoping to catch five, and I caught that one.

“It kind of helped the stringer a little bit.”

Christie said he actually needed to sit for a moment and collect his thoughts after landing the big bass.

“When I hooked it I thought it was a 5-pounder,” Christie said. “Then it came up and kind of wallowed and I thought maybe it was a 7-pounder. Then it came by the boat, and I knew it was a giant.

“Luckily, it was hooked good.”

The tournament will continue Friday with takeoff scheduled for 6:45 a.m. CT from Cypress Bend Park. The weigh-in will be held back at the park at 3:15 p.m., with only the Top 51 anglers moving on to Saturday’s semifinal round.

The event is hosted by Toledo Bend Lake Country.

2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Yamaha, Berkley, Huk, Minn Kota, Triton Boats, Power-Pole, Shell Rotella, Humminbird, Nitro Boats, Mercury, Skeeter Boats

2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Lowrance, Shimano, Advance Auto Parts, Livingston Lures, T-H Marine, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Phoenix Boats

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series, Academy Sports + Outdoors B.A.S.S. Nation presented by Magellan, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

2017 Bassmaster Elite at Toledo Bend presented by Econo Lodge 4/6-4/9
Toledo Bend Reservoir, Many  LA.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$

1.  Jacob Wheeler          Indianapolis, IN         5  25-01  110
Day 1: 5   25-01
2.  Brett Hite             Phoenix, AZ              5  24-11  109
Day 1: 5   24-11
3.  Jamie Hartman          Newport, NY              5  23-05  108
Day 1: 5   23-05
4.  Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  21-05  107
Day 1: 5   21-05
5.  Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  20-08  106
Day 1: 5   20-08
6.  Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  20-02  105
Day 1: 5   20-02
7.  Matt Lee               Guntersville, AL         5  20-00  104
Day 1: 5   20-00
8.  Brandon Palaniuk       Hayden, ID               5  19-13  103
Day 1: 5   19-13
9.  John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  18-11  102
Day 1: 5   18-11
10. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               5  18-05  101
Day 1: 5   18-05
11. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  18-03  100
Day 1: 5   18-03
11. Gerald Swindle         Guntersville, AL         5  18-03  100
Day 1: 5   18-03
13. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  17-13   98
Day 1: 5   17-13
13. John Murray            Spring City, TN          5  17-13   98
Day 1: 5   17-13
15. Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  17-12   96
Day 1: 5   17-12
16. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                5  17-09   95
Day 1: 5   17-09
16. Cliff Pace             Petal, MS                5  17-09   95
Day 1: 5   17-09
18. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            5  17-07   93
Day 1: 5   17-07
19. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  17-04   92
Day 1: 5   17-04
20. Fletcher Shryock       New Philadelphia, OH     5  17-02   91
Day 1: 5   17-02
21. Drew Benton            Panama City, FL          5  17-01   90
Day 1: 5   17-01
21. Dave Lefebre           Erie, PA                 5  17-01   90
Day 1: 5   17-01
23. David Fritts           Lexington, NC            5  16-12   88
Day 1: 5   16-12
24. Brent Ehrler           Newport Beach, CA        5  16-10   87
Day 1: 5   16-10
25. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              5  16-07   86
Day 1: 5   16-07
26. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  5  16-06   85
Day 1: 5   16-06
27. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  16-02   84
Day 1: 5   16-02
28. Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  15-15   83
Day 1: 5   15-15
29. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                5  15-14   82
Day 1: 5   15-14
30. Randy Howell           Guntersville, AL         5  15-12   81
Day 1: 5   15-12
31. Jacob Powroznik        North Prince George, VA  5  15-07   80
Day 1: 5   15-07
32. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          5  15-05   79
Day 1: 5   15-05
33. Jesse Wiggins          Cullman, AL              4  14-15   78
Day 1: 4   14-15
34. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            5  14-14   77
Day 1: 5   14-14
35. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            5  14-11   76
Day 1: 5   14-11
36. Shaw Grigsby Jr.       Gainesville, FL          4  14-10   75
Day 1: 4   14-10
37. Hank Cherry Jr         Lincolnton, NC           5  14-07   74
Day 1: 5   14-07
37. Darrell Ocamica        New Plymouth, ID         5  14-07   74
Day 1: 5   14-07
39. Stetson Blaylock       Benton, AR               5  14-04   72
Day 1: 5   14-04
39. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         5  14-04   72
Day 1: 5   14-04
39. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  14-04   72
Day 1: 5   14-04
42. Seth Feider            Bloomington, MN          5  14-03   69
Day 1: 5   14-03
42. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  14-03   69
Day 1: 5   14-03
44. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           5  14-00   67
Day 1: 5   14-00
44. Chad Pipkens           Lansing, MI              5  14-00   67
Day 1: 5   14-00
46. Alton Jones Jr.        Lorena, TX               5  13-15   65
Day 1: 5   13-15
47. Jordan Lee             Grant, AL                5  13-14   64
Day 1: 5   13-14
47. David Williams         Newton, NC               5  13-14   64
Day 1: 5   13-14
49. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  13-12   62
Day 1: 5   13-12
49. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            5  13-12   62
Day 1: 5   13-12
49. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  13-12   62
Day 1: 5   13-12
52. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  13-05   59
Day 1: 5   13-05
53. Koby Kreiger           Bokeelia, FL             5  13-04   58
Day 1: 5   13-04
54. Casey Ashley           Donalds, SC              5  13-03   57
Day 1: 5   13-03
55. Brett Preuett          Monroe, LA               5  13-01   56
Day 1: 5   13-01
56. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         5  13-00   55
Day 1: 5   13-00
56. Chris Zaldain          Laughlin, NV             5  13-00   55
Day 1: 5   13-00
58. Gary Klein             Mingus, TX               5  12-15   53
Day 1: 5   12-15
58. Chad Morgenthaler      Reeds Spring, MO         5  12-15   53
Day 1: 5   12-15
60. Justin Lucas           Guntersville, AL         5  12-13   51
Day 1: 5   12-13
61. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          5  12-12   50
Day 1: 5   12-12
62. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        5  12-11   49
Day 1: 5   12-11
62. Jesse Tacoronte        Orlando, FL              5  12-11   49
Day 1: 5   12-11
64. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  12-10   47
Day 1: 5   12-10
65. Kelly Jordon           Flint, TX                5  12-08   46
Day 1: 5   12-08
66. Mark Daniels Jr.       Tuskegee, AL             5  12-07   45
Day 1: 5   12-07
67. Brandon Card           Knoxville, TN            5  12-06   44
Day 1: 5   12-06
68. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              5  12-04   43
Day 1: 5   12-04
68. Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  12-04   43
Day 1: 5   12-04
68. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              5  12-04   43
Day 1: 5   12-04
71. John Hunter Jr         Shelbyville, KY          5  12-03   40
Day 1: 5   12-03
71. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            5  12-03   40
Day 1: 5   12-03
73. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  12-02   38
Day 1: 5   12-02
74. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  11-14   37
Day 1: 5   11-14
75. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               5  11-13   36
Day 1: 5   11-13
75. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              5  11-13   36
Day 1: 5   11-13
75. Randall Tharp          Port St. Joe, FL         5  11-13   36
Day 1: 5   11-13
78. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            5  11-12   33
Day 1: 5   11-12
78. Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI            5  11-12   33
Day 1: 5   11-12
80. Dustin Connell         Clanton, AL              5  11-11   31
Day 1: 5   11-11
80. Fred Roumbanis         London, AR               5  11-11   31
Day 1: 5   11-11
82. Adrian Avena           Vineland, NJ             5  11-09   29
Day 1: 5   11-09
83. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  11-04   28
Day 1: 5   11-04
84. Shane Lineberger       Lincolnton, NC           5  11-00   27
Day 1: 5   11-00
85. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     4  11-00   26
Day 1: 4   11-00
86. Tim Horton             Muscle Shoals, AL        5  10-13   25
Day 1: 5   10-13
86. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                5  10-13   25
Day 1: 5   10-13
88. Jay Brainard           Enid, OK                 5  10-10   23
Day 1: 5   10-10
89. Luke Clausen           Otis Orchards, WA        5  10-05   22
Day 1: 5   10-05
90. Tyler Carriere         Youngsville, LA          4  10-05   21
Day 1: 4   10-05
91. Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL           5  09-13   20
Day 1: 5   09-13
91. Boyd Duckett           Guntersville, AL         5  09-13   20
Day 1: 5   09-13
91. Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL             5  09-13   20
Day 1: 5   09-13
91. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             5  09-13   20
Day 1: 5   09-13
95. Brandon Coulter        Knoxville, TN            5  09-06   16
Day 1: 5   09-06
96. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          5  09-04   15
Day 1: 5   09-04
97. Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ              5  09-02   14
Day 1: 5   09-02
98. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  08-14   13
Day 1: 5   08-14
99. Chad Grigsby           Maple Grove, MN          5  08-10   12
Day 1: 5   08-10
99. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  08-10   12
Day 1: 5   08-10
101. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          5  08-00   10
Day 1: 5   08-00
102. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           4  06-14    9
Day 1: 4   06-14
103. Gerald Spohrer         Gonzales, LA             3  06-10    8
Day 1: 3   06-10
104. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         3  06-07    7
Day 1: 3   06-07
105. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             3  06-02    6
Day 1: 3   06-02
106. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  2  05-05    5
Day 1: 2   05-05
107. Morizo Shimizu         Suita, Osaka JAPAN       2  04-04    4
Day 1: 2   04-04
108. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               2  04-02    3
Day 1: 2   04-02
109. Skylar Hamilton        Dandridge, TN            2  03-12    2
Day 1: 2   03-12
110. Robbie Latuso          Gonzales, LA             2  03-07    1
Day 1: 2   03-07
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        97       524      1472-01
———————————-
97       524      1472-01