Dock talk at Wheeler Lake

The famous Decatur Flats. Ironically, the entrance to the most popular and productive stretch of flats on Wheeler Lake is just outside the takeoff basin of the Whataburger Bassmaster Elite at Wheeler Lake.

The famous Decatur Flats. Ironically, the entrance to the most popular and productive stretch of flats on Wheeler Lake is just outside the takeoff basin of the Whataburger Bassmaster Elite at Wheeler Lake.
This image was taken on the morning of the final day of practice. Tomorrow, it will be covered up with boats. The Holy Grail of the tournament is somewhere along this shallow stretch of flats bordered by the river channel. 

Will the flats be where the sixth Elite event of the season be won? We report and you decide. Is it fact or just dock talk?

Jordon Lee
“I honestly thought the flats would be the deal, and that’s where I normally fish when I’m here. The flats haven’t produced much so far for me. Guys are going to catch them elsewhere.
“Whoever wins this will be alone doing something nobody else figured out. The normal areas where they should be on, they are not.
“It’s fishing tougher than it should. That’s why again, I think someone will figure something out very specific that nobody has though of. We tend to be jaded in our thought process when it comes to the ledge fishing. We might be about to learn something new.”
Cliff Prince
“The only hope I have is the flats. I didn’t do anything else because that’s where the numbers are. I’m going to stay with the flats. 
“There are some sweet spots. I found two of them. Hopefully I will get on them. Half the field is out there. 
“Boat draw number will be key. There are sweet spots and you have to get on them early.”
Patrick Walters
“The fishing is not going to be ideal. I haven’t checked the current schedule to see how much water TVA will pull through here. 
“I’m thinking cut weights will be about 12 pounds a day for 50th place. If you catch 20 fish in a day then you’ll have a good one. There are a lot of small ones; you just have to find a good quality bass. 
“There is a giant flat out there and then an area within it. Boat number will be critical starting out if you want to get on a good starting hole.”
Ray Hanselman
“I’ve spent 90 percent of my practice out on the flats. I can get 20 bites a day but they’ll weigh 11 to 13 pounds. I’ve only caught one three-pound largemouth. 
“I’m going to try for 14 pounds a day. The bite is pretty widespread. 
“There are a lot of boats coming in and out of the flats. I’ve caught them randomly.”
Logan Parks
“Boat draw is everything out here this week. It always has been and was especially last year during the Open. 
“Everybody has the same level of knowledge. Everyone knows all the spots. 
“There are a handful of them. If you don’t get on one early then you’ll have to get in the rotation.” 
Greg Hackney
“I don’t think you have to depend on the flats, because this lake is good from one end to the other. I think the biggest problem right now is lack of current. 
“The Tennessee River with no current is terrible this time of the year. It’s getting later in the year. It quit raining and there’s no current. 
“That’s the deal on the Tennessee River. The current sets these largemouth up on the sweet spots and they find the current breaks and eat. It just makes them more aggressive.”
Clark Wendlandt
“There are a lot of different options available. You can fish the ledges, the brushpiles, go up the river for flipping, whatever. 
“I’m going to fish my history here and stay confident.”
“I don’t plan to change anything.”
Jeff Gustafson
“Being from Canada I’m not savvy on the flats. I can’t catch them there. It’s not my thing. 
“I’m just going to grind it out. I’m junk fishing.
“I’m also going to try and block out how I could be catching 100 smallmouth a day in Canada right now.” 
Matt Arey
“We are in a weird window. The offshore bite should be on fire but it’s not. Somebody will catch them off the bank. I don’t have experience to find them out there. 
“This lake is different than the other TVA lakes. It sets up shallower and harder to graph. At other deeper lakes you can see them set up in 18 or 20 feet and you can’t here. 
“I’ve only got small keepers to show for my effort. It’s been tough for me to catch five. I think 16 to 17 pounds a day to win it. If somebody comes out tomorrow and catches 20 pounds it’ll be hard to follow that up. A limit of three-pounders here will be huge. I don’t think it’ll take but 11 or 12 a day to make the Top 50.”