Top 13 baits at Wheeler Lake Posted on May 5, 2016 Photo: Ronnie Moore - Wheeler Lake was predominantly a shallow water bite â very shallow. Topwater lures, buzzbaits and swim jigs were the keys for several top finishers. All captions: Steve Wright Photo: Steve Bowman - Even for guys who were flipping, like Greg Hackney, it was about less depth than usual. "They were literally 10 inches deep," said Hackney. "It was just enough water to cover their backs." Photo: Seigo Saito - But it wasn't exclusively a shallow bite. A shaky head around cover both deeper and shallow was common. Steve Kennedy caught 'em both shallow and deep on a 3/4-ounce swim jig, saying, "Some were coming out of grass less than a foot deep and some came 20 feet down on a bluff wall." Takahiro Omori won fishing both sides of an offshore ledge. The following is a brief rundown of the baits each angler used. Photo: Garrick Dixon - 13. James Niggemeyer, 50-1 Niggemeyer used two baits â a 3/8ths-ounce green pumpkin Strike King swim jig with a candy craw-colored Rage Craw trailer and a green pumpkin Strike King Rage Swimmer swimbait. "I caught them during the shad spawn early, then in the afternoon I went to the water willow or any kind of vegetation near the bank," he said. Photo: Garrick Dixon - 12. Gary Klein, 52-12 Klein relied on two baits and one produced most of his weight â a 3/8ths-ounce Boss swim jig with a "blue glimmer" skirt Klein made and an unnamed pearl white trailer "that had some wiggles on the end of it." He said, "It had a big profile, but the most important thing about it was I could slide it. When that shad spawn was going the first two days, the lure presentation meant everything. If you plopped it, you wouldn't get a bite. But if you slid it under the overhanging cover where you couldn't see the bait, when you engaged the reel handle a fish would have it." After the shad spawn petered out, Klein caught fish flipping a green pumpkin creature bait on a 3/16ths-ounce weight in the same places where he was skipping the jig. Photo: Garrick Dixon - 11. Gerald Swindle, 56-12 Swindle is known for "junk fishing" and he threw all kinds of junk at them in this tournament. The first day, he mostly caught them on a 5-inch Tennessee shad Zoom swimbait with a 3/8ths-ounce head and added one keeper on a Rapala DT-6 crankbait. The second day it was three keepers on the swimbait and two on a Rat-L-Trap. Day 3 he caught one on a DT-6, two on a drop shot, one on a Rat-L-Trap and a 6-14 and a 3-pounder at the end of the day on a 3/8ths-ounce buzzbait trailed with a white Zoom Z-Craw. The final day he caught bass while swimming a "little black-and-blue jig," pitching a Zoom Z-Craw and throwing the buzzbait. Photo: Garrick Dixon - 10. Casey Ashley, 58-0 Ashley caught all his fish on a 3/16ths-ounce shaky head jig and a green pumpkin Zoom Trick Worm on 10-pound test fluorocarbon line and a spinning rod. Even the 6-pound, 14-ounce bass on Day 1 that tied for tournament big bass honors came on the shaky head. "Most of them came out of blow-downs," he said. "I was fishing blow downs at the end of bluff walls and catching 'em on the bluffs too. Anything I could find that was out of the ordinary, that maybe somebody hadn't thrown at already, that's what I was fishing. It got slow the last two days. The first day I probably caught 30 or 40." Photo: Garrick Dixon - 9. James Elam, 58-9 "The most consistent deal for me was a shaky head," Elam said. He used a 3/16ths ounce shaky head with "three different bags of 7-inch green pumpkin worms. It didn't matter." Photo: Garrick Dixon - Elam also caught some fish off bluffs by flipping a Jackall Chunk Craw with a 3/8ths-ounce weight, and a few key fish on a white Jackall Break Blade trailed with a small shad-colored Jackall swimbait. Photo: Garrick Dixon - 8. Luke Clausen, 59-9 Clausen relied mainly on a 3/16ths-ounce Z-Man shaky head paired with a green pumpkin Z-Man Fattyz worm. Photo: Garrick Dixon - He also caught some on a 3/8ths-ounce Dirty Jigs Tackle Canterbury Compact Pitchin' Jig trailed with a small green pumpkin Z-Man chunk. "I started out on any kind of rock in the morning during the shad spawn," he said. "As the day went on I'd go deeper to more shade-type cover, like docks, bluffs and laydowns." Photo: Garrick Dixon - 7. Cliff Crochet, 59-10 It's no secret that Crochet loves to throw a frog, and he caught all his bass on a black Spro Dean Rojas Bronzeye Frog. "The main deal was isolated patches of reeds," Crochet said. "I was able to skip that frog in there real subtle and get bit. I also caught them on isolated wood, like cypress trees. I think these fish were coming in to spawn. The last two days I caught several that were bloody on the bottom end of their tails." Photo: Garrick Dixon - 6. Greg Hackney, 59-12 Hackney enjoyed "the most peaceful tournament I've fished in a long time because I never saw another competitor." That's because Hackney ran up some "treacherous" log-filled water in the Elk River almost to Tennessee, then kept a flipping stick in his hands for four days. Most of his fish came on either a black neon or California craw Strike King Rage Bug with a 5/16ths-ounce slip sinker. He also caught some the last day on a half-ounce Strike King Hack Attack jig, but he called that a mistake. "The Rage Bug has a lot of drag and it falls slower," Hackney said. "The jig was falling too fast and shooting in the mud. They weren't getting it good. I lost two 4-pounders and jerked another one out of the water. It's not that they didn't want to get it. They just couldn't get it that shallow." Photo: Garrick Dixon - 5. Bobby Lane, 60-7 Lane's key bait was a 1/2-ounce homemade jig with an orange-and-blue skirt trailed with a green pumpkin 5-inch Berkley Havoc Craw Fatty. Dipping the tips of the Craw Fatty in orange JJ's Magic was a key. "I would flip straight green pumpkin," he said. "The fish would bite it and seemed to let go. I tried chartreuse. It didn't work. I tried orange. The first one I caught on it was a 3-pounder and he had it choked all the way in its throat, so I knew I had the right color." Lane said he also caught some on a topwater frog, but "maybe only two out of 20." Photo: Garrick Dixon - 4. Steve Kennedy, 64-0 Kennedy's "main deal" was swimming a white 3/4-ounce jig trailed with a white Zoom Super Chunk. Photo: Garrick Dixon - "It's a flipping jig, but I swam it," he said. "I fished inside bends, bluff walls, big logs, whatever cover was in the water. I caught some on a green pumpkin football jig and a flipping jig. But the main deal the last three days was swimming that jig around." Photo: Garrick Dixon - 3. John Crews, 66-4 Crews covered the water column with six different baits ... Photo: Garrick Dixon - ... Two topwater walking lures in shad colors, 3 3/4- and 4 1/2-inches long, a clear/chartreuse Spro Bronzeye Frog65, a 1/4-ounce shad colored swim jig trailed with a pearl white Missile Twin Turbo, a pearl white Zoom Super Fluke fished weightless and a green pumpkin Missile Baits D-Bomb with a 3/8ths-ounce tungsten weight. Photo: Garrick Dixon - 2. Dave Lefebre, 77-3 Lefebre relied mainly on two similar looking jigs â a 1/2-ounce Terminator black-and-blue jig with a big soft plastic chunk trailer, and a 1/4-ounce Yamamoto swim jig, also black-and-blue. "I oversized everything on that flipping jig," Lefebre said. "The skirt, everything." He also caught fish the first day on a Â½-ounce Terminator buzzbait, black with a copper-colored blade, and a new Terminator popping frog (black with a little red) that will be unveiled at ICAST. Lefebre targeted mainly bushes and isolated wood in Fox Creek. Photo: Garrick Dixon - 1. Takahiro Omori, 81-6 Omori was fishing mostly shallow shell bars near the main Tennessee River channel, and he targeted them with a chrome-body, black-back Heddon Super Spook, a discontinued Bass Pro Shops XPS swimbait (gray back, white body) and a green pumpkin Zoom Brush Hog fished on a Carolina rig. Photo: Garrick Dixon - He didn't use the swimbait until the final two days, but it produced some of his bigger bass. "I've caught so many fish on that bait at Lake Fork," Omori said. "A bunch of 5- and 6-pounders. I have a lot of confidence in it."