Following Jacob Wheeler today has taken us from one extreme to the other. It started with the early morning solitude of the Hiwassee River and has now taken us to the Chickamauga rush hour. Wheeler's followers seem to be increasing by the hour and a huge barge just pushed its way right through the middle of them.
Wheeler has friends and family out here everywhere. When he landed his fourth fish this morning in the Hiwassee River, the silence was broken by an unseen fan. We could only here this guy shouting from a tree-lined bank, "Go Jacob! Bass, yes!"
We couldn't see him until he waded knee-deep in the river. Jimmy Bowman is his name. He'd been following BASSTraak and noticed that Wheeler was fishing just down the hill from his house.
Among the people in the boats following Wheeler is his 21-year-old sister, Kaitlin, who came here from Indianapolis with their parents, Lynn and Curtis. Wheeler's best friend, Seth Davis, is out here too. Wheeler refers to Seth's parents, Connie and Steve Davis, as his second family. They live nearby.
"I call them on Mother's Day and Father's Day, right after I call my parents," Wheeler said.
Adding to the chaos of the moment, Kevin VanDam and his armada just sped through all of this, headed up the lake.
Wheeler just left the “Hammer Hole," and made a short run south. I'm sure he'll be back. The discharge from Chickamauga Dam increased to 26,750 cfs at 11 a.m.