Jacob Wheeler – Ranked No. 1 Bass Fisherman in...

Jacob Wheeler – Ranked No. 1 Bass Fisherman in...

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Jacob Wheeler – Ranked No. 1 Bass Fisherman in the World Day 2: Jacob Wheeler’s Big Bass Fishing Mistake and Wins

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Editor’s Note: Jacob Wheeler of Harrison, Tennessee, is probably one of the most-unusual yet successful tournament bass fishermen I’ve ever met. Arriving 10-years ago on the professional bass-fishing circuits at the age of 20, he’s earned more than $2.5 million in tournament winnings – not counting the income he’s also received from his sponsors. He’s currently ranked No. 1 world-wide on BassFan (http://www.bassfan.com/). Wheeler is the first tournament bass fisherman I’ve ever met who runs five different fish finders from three different companies on his boat. Wheeler’s wife is Alicia, and his 1-year old daughter is Olivia. To learn more, check out his Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/wheelerfishing/.

I always had been confident in my ability to find and catch bass, so I was excited when I got the chance to fish the FLW tour (https://www.flwfishing.com/) the following year. I felt like, whether it was true or not, that I could fish against the best of the best and do really well. I was having a really-good year on that circuit, until I made a major mistake: I was 10 minutes late for a weigh-in. Before that, I was only a few points away from winning the title of Rookie of the Year. I was even more upset because this tournament was also the last of the year. This caused me to get down on myself. Some of my “buddies” didn’t make it better as they came by after the tournament to tell me, “Jacob, you need to learn how to read a watch.” Upset, I might answer, “I hope you pop a tire on the way home.”

But the good news was that I qualified to compete for the Forrest Wood Cup after my win at Kentucky Lake. I was determined and willing to do whatever it took to be the champion of this tournament. I put a lot of time into researching the lake, getting my tackle just right, studying maps and doing everything I could to prepare myself. Not only did I want to win that tournament, but I also knew that this win paid $1/2-million, which was more money than I’d ever seen.

On the morning of the tournament, I led the field by 6 pounds. Throughout the entire 4-day tournament, I was in the lead, and eventually, I won. This achievement was very important because it helped me establish myself as a serious professional bass fisherman. At that time, I was still living at home with my mom and dad. My mom was always very supportive of anything that I wanted to do. My dad, always would tell me, “You’re gonna be one of the best bass fishermen in the world!” When I came home from that tournament, my dad went on and on saying, “I knew you could do it!” While laughing, I told him, “Dad, shut up, and get out of here.”

After this tournament, I did an interview with a local news station out on the lake in my boat. I remember being asked, “What did you buy with all that money?” This may sound basic to some people, but the first thing I bought were three brand-new pairs of Nike tennis shoes. Growing up, I always had hand-me-downs or cheap tennis shoes and thought that three pairs of shoes was as extravagant as buying a nice car or big house. Of course, the interviewer laughed, but I was dead serious.

My Growing Professional Bass-Fishing Career:

By the time I was 21, I had earned a total of $600,000 after winning just two tournaments. Two years later, I earned a little bit over $700,000 and thought to myself, “Life is good.” These events changed my life dramatically, and now, at age 29, my tournament winnings are somewhere around $2.5 million. The last tournament I won was right in the middle of the pandemic on May 28-29, 2020 – the Toyota Series Tournament at Pickwick Lake in Florence, Alabama; I finished this tournament with $40,000. After that, I took home $7,500 after placing 10th in the 2020 Toyota Heavy Hitters tournament held on the Kissimmee Chain in Florida. Jordan Lee – a two-time Bassmaster Classic winner – finished in 1st place.

To learn more about bass fishing, check out John E. Phillips’ book, “Winning Strategies of the Bass Pros,” at https://amzn.to/2XJrz3k, available in Kindle and print. Click here for the Audible link.

Tomorrow: Jacob Wheeler Wins on Lake Chickamauga in the Summer of 2020

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