June 16-19, 2011
The final Elite event of the 2011 season will give the pros a chance to catch some big smallmouth bass. Wheeler Lake is not only a solid largemouth fishery, but a strong bronzeback site, as well. Wheeler first came to national prominence in 1974 as the site of the fourth Bassmaster Classic. Since then, BASS has visited the lake for seven other professional tournaments, including two previous Elite events.
In 2008, Jeremy Starks edged out Kevin VanDam for top honors with a four-day catch weighing 78-10. A year later, Tommy Biffle won a tournament that was shortened by a day due to bad weather. Biffle pitched a lizard, beaver and jig to laydowns in extremely shallow water for the April win. Shaw Grigsby had the event's big bass, a 7-2 that struck a topwater frog.
Wheeler offers a wide variety of terrific bass habitat, from the riverine waters of its upper end to the stump flats and weedbeds of its middle section to the step banks and long points near the dam. In June, the bass will have moved to their summer haunts where crankbaits and soft plastics should play a big role.