Jacob Wheeler's game plan for today is going just like he drew it up. This shallow spot in the Hiwassee River is one of the places he didn't fish yesterday - for a reason. He had so many observer boats yesterday - 30-plus, all day long - that he didn't want to chance one of those observers deciding to fish it after he left.
He just caught his fifth keeper of the morning, and he just put all five of them on his scales. They weighed 17.30 pounds.
"That's the way to start it," Wheeler said. "I knew I should save this sucker."
Every one of these pro anglers will tell you how important it is to get five keepers in the boat, from a confidence standpoint. Wheeler alluded to that just now, saying, "I've got a lot more work to do, but I can gamble a little bit now."
He mentioned that he will soon go to that main lake ledge where he caught the 7-7 and a 4-8 yesterday. He has caught 3 other good fish on that spot during the tournament. He had to direct a lot of boat traffic while there yesterday, but it still produced most of his 16-2 total.
"I'm going to leave here in just a second," he said. "The current is starting to run. Leaving here with five is a good feeling."
Wheeler keeps a close watch on the TVA website that shows the discharge from Chickamauga Dam. The prediction for today is an average of 25,000 cubic feet per second, which is significantly more than the 20,000 cfs average yesterday.
It has jumped up from zero at 5 a.m. to about 12,000 cfs at 8 a.m. It should be up over 25,000 within the next hour or two.