Wheeler self-reports violation, has catch disqualified

ORANGE, Texas — Tennessee angler Jacob Wheeler was disqualified from Friday’s second round of the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Elite at Sabine River presented by Econo Lodge.

Wheeler was making the 150-mile run beyond Galveston Bay to the Houston area when he said his boat became lodged on a sandbar. He couldn’t dislodge the boat without asking his marshal to exit the craft, which is a violation of B.A.S.S. rules.

Wheeler, who said he briefly misplaced his phone in all of the commotion, used his marshal’s phone to self-report the violation, and B.A.S.S. officials notified him that his second-round catch would be disqualified.

“I practiced in Houston, but I did not make the run over there (from Orange),” Wheeler said. “I was running a long the way – the longest run I’ve ever made — and I ran up on a sandbar. It stopped the boat dead in the water. The tide was going out, and I was 110 miles away — the worst possible situation.”

Wheeler said he trimmed his outboard up and tried to dislodge the boat without more extreme measures, but he was unsuccessful.

“My marshal was about the same size as me, and I’m not a small guy,” Wheeler said. “He got out, we started pushing and we got it off the sandbar.”

That’s when Wheeler made the call.

“They determined they were going to disqualify my catch for the day,” he said. “I can’t argue with that. I knew I was taking a risk by making that long run — a run through saltwater and an area I didn’t know.

“I’ll just try to come back stronger at the next event.”

B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon said it was a violation of Rule C13.

“Jacob Wheeler self-reported to tournament officials that he got stuck and asked his marshal to get out of the boat and help push him out of an area,” Weldon said. “This is a violation of Rule C13 reading ‘Marshals are not allowed to help the pro in any way.’ This results in disqualification of Day 2.”

Wheeler finished Thursday’s first round in 41st place with 8 pounds, 3 ounces.