Rookie Wheeler Leads Wire-To-Wire, Wins Bass Fishing’s $500,000 Forrest Wood Cup Presented By Walmart
2012 Forrest Wood Cup Champion Jacob Wheeler
DULUTH, Ga. – After Jacob Wheeler of Indianapolis, Ind., won the 2011 BFL All-American, the championship event for weekend anglers, he stated his goal was to someday win the Forrest Wood Cup, the world championship of bass fishing. In 2012 Wheeler made the leap to the FLW Tour, which features the world’s best professional bass anglers, to pursue his goal of hoisting the Cup. And in storybook fashion Sunday at the Forrest Wood Cup presented by Walmart on Lake Lanier, Wheeler’s five bass worth 11 pounds, 15 ounces gave him a total four-day weight of 60 pounds, 1 ounce as well as a wire-to-wire win and $500,000.
“This was just an awesome event,” said the 21-year-old Wheeler, who became the youngest angler to win the Forrest Wood Cup. “God just really blessed me this whole event. It was just unbelievable, and this is the best day of my life.”
Although it may have turned out well for him, Wheeler said it wasn’t an easy road to a championship title.
“It was a struggle today,” Wheeler said. “I had six keeper bites all day.
“Every time I sat down to run to the next spot I might have been jittery, but I realized I had to stay focused and fish at 100 percent every day and capitalize on every single bite,” Wheeler added.
Wheeler said he targeted fish on the Chattahoochee River using a variety of baits including a Rapala X-Rap Prop, flipping a Trigger X Flippin’ Tube and a Chatterbait-style bait. Wheeler said he caught fish Sunday by flipping creature baits, but two of his biggest fell for a prop bait.
“The second day I caught my two biggest ones on the X-Rap Prop,” Wheeler said. “The fish were getting accustomed to seeing bluegill-looking prop baits out there, but the elongated X-Rap Prop really showed them something different. Those fish really seemed to like that the second day, for sure.”
Wheeler said he fished the river to catch a limit, then made an hour-long run to an area near Brown’s bridge to switch to fishing bluegill beds for larger “kicker” fish.
“A lot of people fish better when they have five fish in their livewell,” Wheeler said. “They just fish better and make better decisions, and you don’t have that pressure of worrying about that other fish on your back.”