Jesse Wiggins Takes the Day Two Lead at 2017 Elite Series Cherokee Lake

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2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Cherokee Lake Day Two Leader Jesse Wiggins – photo by Seigo Saito – Bassmaster

KNOXVILLE/JEFFERSON COUNTY, Tenn. — With the Bassmaster Elite at Cherokee Lake having reached its halfway point, a trio of Elite Series newcomers are sitting atop the standings with a chance to make their mark on the trail very early in the season.

Jesse Wiggins of Cullman, Ala., came to eastern Tennessee this week, having already won two Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Opens in the past 10 months. Now, after catching 35 pounds, 15 ounces the first two days, Wiggins is leading his first-ever Elite Series event with a 1-6 advantage over Indiana pro Jacob Wheeler — a newcomer to the Elite Series who doesn’t qualify as a rookie because of his past career earnings on other trails.

Wiggins has relied on one incredible spot the first two days — and probably hasn’t spent more than three hours fishing it in 16 total hours of competition.

“I was done a little after 9 a.m. today,” said Wiggins, who has been catching big limits off the spot early and then ceasing fishing in hopes of “saving” more bass to catch on the remaining days of the tournament. “After that, I just backed off it and kept guarding it.”

The place is easy enough to guard, considering how small it is.

“It’s only about the size of three boats,” said Wiggins, who caught 19-1 Thursday and 16-14 Friday. “It’s just a hole in a pocket that stuck out like a sore thumb on a map. I can’t believe no one else found it.”

Wiggins said he had a tough time locating fish in practice because the lake is so full of rocks, and it can sometimes be hard to differentiate between fish and rocks on his depthfinder. But his magic spot has nothing but a clay bottom, and that makes the fish easy to see.

“I just go around in circles until I see one — and then I know it’s a fish, so I just drop down to it,” Wiggins said. “The fishing was a little slower this morning, and it took me a little longer to get a limit. But every time I set the hook on one, it was a 3-pounder.”

Wheeler began the day on a sour note, realizing he had lost about half of the waypoints he marked during practice on Cherokee because of a glitch in his GPS system. But once he moved past the shock, he managed to find enough of his good spots to catch 16-15.

“It was just a jacked-up deal,” Wheeler said. “Sometimes you just have issues like that. I learned a valuable lesson — now I know I need to have an extra card for my depthfinder with me at all times, even right before the tournament.”

Wheeler said he benefitted greatly from “sneak holes” — inconspicuous areas that were being overlooked by many anglers.

“I’m not just fishing points or flats or big areas,” Wheeler said. “I’m fishing little subtle places on those bigger areas where, if you find fish, you’re going to get bit.

“Today, I felt like the experience I’ve gained on this lake just allowed me to pull it together at the end.”

Jamie Hartman of Newport, N.Y., who is designated an Elite Series rookie, has a lot of experience fishing for smallmouth bass. Many people assumed he would feel right at home fishing deep water for smallies this week.

He said that hasn’t been the case.

“The kind of fishing I’m doing this week — I’ve never even seen this kind of fishing,” Hartman said. “The structure that’s here is awesome, but I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

So why has he been able to catch 17-10 and 16-13 the first two days?

“I went in with a game plan that they’re wintering fish, and they were going to be deep,” Hartman said. “That’s the way I’ve been fishing. It’s worked so far, but who knows how long it will hold up.”

Minnesota angler Seth Feider is in fourth place with 33-11, and Tennessee pro David Mullins is fifth with 33-10.

The tournament will resume at 7:15 a.m. ET Saturday with the Top 51 remaining anglers taking off from Cherokee Lake Dam and TVA Boat Ramp. The weigh-in will be held at the Knoxville Convention Center at 4 p.m.

The field will be trimmed to the Top 12 after Saturday’s round, with those anglers vying for the $100,000 first-place prize Sunday.

Randall Tharp of Port St. Joe, Fla., is in the lead for the Phoenix Boats Big Bass award with a 5-5 largemouth.

The event is hosted by the Economic Development Alliance of Jefferson County and Visit Knoxville.

2017 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

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

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

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 Cherokee Lake 2/9-2/12
Cherokee Lake, Knoxville  TN.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 2

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

1.  Jesse Wiggins          Cullman, AL             10  35-15  110
Day 1: 5   19-01     Day 2: 5   16-14
2.  Jacob Wheeler          Indianapolis, IN        10  34-09  109
Day 1: 5   17-10     Day 2: 5   16-15
3.  Jamie Hartman          Newport, NY             10  34-07  108
Day 1: 5   17-10     Day 2: 5   16-13
4.  Seth Feider            Bloomington, MN         10  33-11  107
Day 1: 5   18-10     Day 2: 5   15-01
5.  David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN           10  33-10  106
Day 1: 5   16-12     Day 2: 5   16-14
6.  Randall Tharp          Port St. Joe, FL        10  32-15  105
Day 1: 5   12-04     Day 2: 5   20-11
7.  Brandon Palaniuk       Hayden, ID              10  32-07  104
Day 1: 5   17-03     Day 2: 5   15-04
8.  Skylar Hamilton        Dandridge, TN           10  32-06  103
Day 1: 5   17-07     Day 2: 5   14-15
9.  Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN           10  32-00  102
Day 1: 5   15-02     Day 2: 5   16-14
10. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO        10  31-14  101
Day 1: 5   18-01     Day 2: 5   13-13
11. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC               10  31-12  100
Day 1: 5   16-11     Day 2: 5   15-01
12. Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ             10  31-08   99
Day 1: 5   16-08     Day 2: 5   15-00
13. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA               10  31-06   98
Day 1: 5   15-02     Day 2: 5   16-04
14. Dustin Connell         Clanton, AL             10  31-02   97
Day 1: 5   15-08     Day 2: 5   15-10
15. Brandon Coulter        Knoxville, TN           10  31-00   96
Day 1: 5   15-04     Day 2: 5   15-12
16. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL            10  30-13   95
Day 1: 5   15-11     Day 2: 5   15-02
17. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL          10  30-10   94
Day 1: 5   16-02     Day 2: 5   14-08
18. David Williams         Newton, NC              10  30-10   93
Day 1: 5   16-01     Day 2: 5   14-09
19. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX          10  30-09   92
Day 1: 5   15-15     Day 2: 5   14-10
20. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC             10  30-09   91
Day 1: 5   15-07     Day 2: 5   15-02
21. Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ         10  30-04   90
Day 1: 5   16-00     Day 2: 5   14-04
22. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA            10  29-13   89
Day 1: 5   15-04     Day 2: 5   14-09
23. Hank Cherry Jr         Lincolnton, NC          10  29-12   88
Day 1: 5   12-04     Day 2: 5   17-08
24. Adrian Avena           Vineland, NJ            10  29-10   87
Day 1: 5   16-07     Day 2: 5   13-03
25. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC          10  29-07   86
Day 1: 5   14-02     Day 2: 5   15-05
26. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS              10  29-05   85
Day 1: 5   14-09     Day 2: 5   14-12
27. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT           10  29-01   84
Day 1: 5   12-05     Day 2: 5   16-12
28. James Elam             Tulsa, OK               10  29-01   83
Day 1: 5   14-09     Day 2: 5   14-08
29. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK           10  28-15   82
Day 1: 5   14-09     Day 2: 5   14-06
30. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ              10  28-06   81
Day 1: 5   15-06     Day 2: 5   13-00
31. Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL            10  28-05   80
Day 1: 5   14-10     Day 2: 5   13-11
32. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX              10  28-04   79
Day 1: 5   13-04     Day 2: 5   15-00
33. Gerald Swindle         Guntersville, AL        10  28-03   78
Day 1: 5   14-10     Day 2: 5   13-09
34. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL           10  28-02   77
Day 1: 5   15-03     Day 2: 5   12-15
35. Jordan Lee             Grant, AL                9  27-12   76
Day 1: 5   17-08     Day 2: 4   10-04
36. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                8  27-05   75
Day 1: 3   09-14     Day 2: 5   17-07
37. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN          10  27-04   74
Day 1: 5   13-01     Day 2: 5   14-03
38. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX              10  27-03   73
Day 1: 5   14-10     Day 2: 5   12-09
39. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY           10  27-01   72
Day 1: 5   13-11     Day 2: 5   13-06
40. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            9  26-13   71
Day 1: 5   16-14     Day 2: 4   09-15
41. Boyd Duckett           Guntersville, AL        10  26-13   70
Day 1: 5   11-07     Day 2: 5   15-06
42. Darrell Ocamica        New Plymouth, ID        10  25-14   69
Day 1: 5   12-10     Day 2: 5   13-04
43. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN        10  25-12   68
Day 1: 5   11-14     Day 2: 5   13-14
44. Mark Daniels Jr.       Tuskegee, AL            10  25-11   67
Day 1: 5   14-10     Day 2: 5   11-01
45. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          7  25-07   66
Day 1: 5   19-07     Day 2: 2   06-00
46. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          9  25-07   65
Day 1: 4   09-06     Day 2: 5   16-01
47. Shane Lineberger       Lincolnton, NC           9  25-07   64
Day 1: 5   15-05     Day 2: 4   10-02
48. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              9  25-07   63
Day 1: 5   14-10     Day 2: 4   10-13
49. Alton Jones Jr.        Lorena, TX              10  25-05   62
Day 1: 5   11-08     Day 2: 5   13-13
50. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            8  25-04   61
Day 1: 3   09-03     Day 2: 5   16-01
51. David Fritts           Lexington, NC            9  25-02   60
Day 1: 4   12-12     Day 2: 5   12-06
52. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              8  25-01   59
Day 1: 5   15-08     Day 2: 3   09-09
53. Jacob Powroznik        Port Haywood, VA         9  25-01   58
Day 1: 4   11-01     Day 2: 5   14-00
54. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL           10  25-00   57
Day 1: 5   13-06     Day 2: 5   11-10
55. John Murray            Spring City, TN         10  24-15   56
Day 1: 5   11-02     Day 2: 5   13-13
56. Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               8  24-08   55
Day 1: 3   10-02     Day 2: 5   14-06
57. Brett Preuett          Monroe, LA              10  24-04   54
Day 1: 5   12-13     Day 2: 5   11-07
58. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR         10  24-01   53
Day 1: 5   11-07     Day 2: 5   12-10
59. John Hunter Jr         Shelbyville, KY         10  23-13   52
Day 1: 5   09-07     Day 2: 5   14-06
60. Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI            9  23-12   51
Day 1: 5   14-13     Day 2: 4   08-15
61. Casey Ashley           Donalds, SC             10  23-11   50
Day 1: 5   10-14     Day 2: 5   12-13
62. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            9  23-09   49
Day 1: 5   15-04     Day 2: 4   08-05
63. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               8  23-09   48
Day 1: 5   13-09     Day 2: 3   10-00
64. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          9  23-03   47
Day 1: 4   09-06     Day 2: 5   13-13
65. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                 10  22-15   46
Day 1: 5   12-03     Day 2: 5   10-12
66. Cliff Pace             Petal, MS               10  22-04   45
Day 1: 5   13-05     Day 2: 5   08-15
67. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        7  21-12   44
Day 1: 2   03-11     Day 2: 5   18-01
68. Brent Ehrler           Newport Beach, CA        7  21-12   43
Day 1: 5   17-06     Day 2: 2   04-06
69. Chad Grigsby           Maple Grove, MN          8  21-06   42
Day 1: 3   06-15     Day 2: 5   14-07
70. Stetson Blaylock       Benton, AR               7  20-14   41
Day 1: 5   14-09     Day 2: 2   06-05
71. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              8  20-12   40
Day 1: 5   12-13     Day 2: 3   07-15
72. Fletcher Shryock       New Philadelphia, OH     9  20-11   39
Day 1: 5   12-00     Day 2: 4   08-11
73. Randy Howell           Guntersville, AL         8  20-10   38
Day 1: 5   12-03     Day 2: 3   08-07
74. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     8  20-05   37
Day 1: 5   12-11     Day 2: 3   07-10
75. Koby Kreiger           Bokeelia, FL             8  20-00   36
Day 1: 5   15-05     Day 2: 3   04-11
76. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         9  19-15   35
Day 1: 5   11-12     Day 2: 4   08-03
77. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          7  19-09   34
Day 1: 2   06-11     Day 2: 5   12-14
78. Gary Klein             Weatherford, TX          8  19-08   33
Day 1: 5   13-02     Day 2: 3   06-06
79. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               8  19-08   32
Day 1: 5   12-02     Day 2: 3   07-06
80. Jay Brainard           Enid, OK                 8  19-05   31
Day 1: 4   08-14     Day 2: 4   10-07
81. Gerald Spohrer         Gonzales, LA             6  18-14   30
Day 1: 1   03-03     Day 2: 5   15-11
82. Tyler Carriere         Youngsville, LA          8  18-13   29
Day 1: 4   09-10     Day 2: 4   09-03
83. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           7  17-14   28
Day 1: 2   03-12     Day 2: 5   14-02
84. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  17-13   27
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 5   17-13
85. Kelly Jordon           Flint, TX                6  17-09   26
Day 1: 1   03-06     Day 2: 5   14-03
86. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              7  17-05   25
Day 1: 5   12-09     Day 2: 2   04-12
87. Morizo Shimizu         Suita, Osaka JAPAN       7  16-14   24
Day 1: 4   08-09     Day 2: 3   08-05
88. Dave Lefebre           Erie, PA                 7  16-13   23
Day 1: 4   08-14     Day 2: 3   07-15
89. Clent Davis            Montevallo, AL           6  16-11   22
Day 1: 3   07-13     Day 2: 3   08-14
90. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              6  16-03   21
Day 1: 1   04-01     Day 2: 5   12-02
91. Jesse Tacoronte        Orlando, FL              5  15-07   20
Day 1: 1   02-12     Day 2: 4   12-11
92. Drew Benton            Panama City, FL          6  15-06   19
Day 1: 2   04-07     Day 2: 4   10-15
93. Fred Roumbanis         London, AR               6  14-06   18
Day 1: 5   11-03     Day 2: 1   03-03
94. Matt Lee               Guntersville, AL         5  13-13   17
Day 1: 5   13-13     Day 2: 0   00-00
95. Brock Mosley           Collinsville, MS         6  12-12   16
Day 1: 5   10-01     Day 2: 1   02-11
96. Tim Horton             Muscle Shoals, AL        5  12-11   15
Day 1: 2   04-15     Day 2: 3   07-12
97. Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  12-08   14
Day 1: 4   09-15     Day 2: 1   02-09
98. Chad Morgenthaler      Reeds Spring, MO         4  12-05   13
Day 1: 2   05-02     Day 2: 2   07-03
99. Chad Pipkens           Lansing, MI              4  10-07   12
Day 1: 3   07-08     Day 2: 1   02-15
100. Justin Lucas           Guntersville, AL         4  10-01   11
Day 1: 2   04-13     Day 2: 2   05-04
101. Brett Hite             Phoenix, AZ              4  09-04   10
Day 1: 4   09-04     Day 2: 0   00-00
102. Chris Zaldain          Laughlin, NV             3  08-13    9
Day 1: 1   03-07     Day 2: 2   05-06
103. Shaw Grigsby Jr.       Gainesville, FL          4  08-01    8
Day 1: 4   08-01     Day 2: 0   00-00
104. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  3  06-06    7
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 3   06-06
105. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         2  06-03    6
Day 1: 2   06-03     Day 2: 0   00-00
106. Robbie Latuso          Gonzales, LA             3  06-02    5
Day 1: 1   01-13     Day 2: 2   04-05
107. Brandon Card           Knoxvillge, TN           2  05-08    4
Day 1: 1   02-00     Day 2: 1   03-08
108. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                3  04-13    3
Day 1: 2   03-07     Day 2: 1   01-06
109. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             1  03-05    2
Day 1: 0   00-00     Day 2: 1   03-05
110. Luke Clausen           Otis Orchards, WA        1  03-00    1
Day 1: 1   03-00     Day 2: 0   00-00
———————————————————————–
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
1        73       453      1277-08
2        65       435      1229-05
———————————-
138       888      2506-13