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Old 04-07-2009, 09:45 AM   #1
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Default Tommy Biffle Wins B.A.S.S. Wheeler Lake

Through a series of flipping and pitching casts from a hidden cove, Tommy Biffle of Wagoner, Okla., accumulated 50 pounds, 13 ounces on his way to victory at Wheeler Lake.

During practice, the water had been slowly dropping, but it stabilized by day 1 and the area produced 16 pounds. The best fishing there was on day 2, when the water shot up 18 inches to 2 feet. The water dropped about 8 inches that night, and Biffle caught 5 pounds less there the final day.

"You had to adjust a little bit," Biffle noted of the 3 days. "The first day, the water wasn't up, and I was really miffed the second day when they canceled. I didn't think anybody was doing what I was doing fishing super-shallow in shoreline grass or whatever I could find, like a bush, that had enough water on it. I was pretty sure nobody was fishing that shallow.

"I was worried they were going to (keep) dropping the water," he added. "But the big rains came and that brought it up about a foot, so then I had plenty of places to fish."

When he saw that the water had dropped for the final day, he began to fish some outside bushes, but when he got bit again in the super-shallow water, he knew the fish were still there.

He flipped the whole event with three different baits a jig, Sweet Beaver and lizard. Biffle noted his fish were pre-spawn and "probably had just come in there."

Winning Gear:

Biffle's flipping gear was the same for all three baits a 7'6" heavy-action Quantum Tommy Biffle Signature Series flipping stick, a Quantum Tour Edition PT "Burner" casting reel (7.0:1) and 25-pound Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon.

A 3/8-ounce Lunker Lure Rattleback jig (black/blue) tipped with a Gene Larew Super Salt Biffle craw (black/blue with sapphire-blue claws)

A Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver 4.20 (black/red), Texas-rigged with a 5/16-ounce Tru-Tungsten Worm weight and 4/0 Reaction Innovations BMF hook, and pegged with a Tru-Tungsten Peter T. Smart Peg.

An 8.5" Gene Larew Biffle-O lizard (black-neon), which is a hollow-body and hollow-tail lizard. He Texas-rigged it with the same weight and pegging system, but used a 5/0 Owner hook.

"Quantum let us make this signature series the way we wanted it. I like my flipping stick to be really stiff, but it's also really well-balanced. It's like you're holding nothing when you're using it, but it has a lot of backbone, so if you're fishing in bushes or heavy grass, or flipping a 1-ounce or 1 1/2-ounce weight, it's the perfect rod. Some people might say it's too stiff, but when I hit 'em I want to move 'em."

The Field:

Casey Ashley:

He had a stretch of jerkbait water that accounted for all of his day-1 weigh-fish. During the day-2 cancellation the area muddied significantly, so he needed to use a jig there on day 3 when competition resumed. The water had cleared enough overnight, however, that the jerkbait was back on for the final day.

"I guess they pulled some water overnight because it cleared up" he noted. "I caught 13 pounds in 30 minutes, which was about the best I was going to do in the place, but with that limit, I was able to relax and fish the rest of the day. I just picked up a jig and went to some real muddy water and started pitching. That's how I caught that big 6-04."

He noted his jerkbait fish were on the first break away from the cover. Some were post-spawn and some were pre-spawn. "I was right in the travel path. It was a sort of bluff wall that had a ridge on it where it dropped to 6 feet, and then to 23. They were holding right off that ridge."

Jerkbait gear: 6'6" medium-fast Fenwick Techna AV Triggerstik rod, Abu Garcia Revo STX casting reel (7.1:1), 15-pound Berkley Trilene 100% fluorocarbon, Lucky Craft Slender Pointer 97 (misty shad).

Jig gear: 7'6" Fenwick Elite Tech flipping stick, same reel, 20-pound Trilene 100% fluorocarbon, 1/2-ounce E&L jig (handpainted brown/green-pumpkin with some orange), Z-Man ChunkZ trailer

Takahiro Omori:

Takahiro Omori fished with the crowds in the back of a creek on the dam-end of Wheeler. He routinely fished around 15 other boats. His approach was to throw a wide variety of baits to the same cover elements.

"I was cranking, and (using) a lipless crankbait, spinnerbait, flipping, Senko doing a lot of different stuff. I was trying to adjust to whatever the water (was doing) coming up or going down, or getting colder.

Key Baits: Unnamed lipless crank, Lucky Craft R.C. 2.5, 5" Yamamoto Senko, Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver, Trixie Shad and Shock, which is like a Horny Toad, and my homemade TO spinnerbait."

He noted that he changed out his crankbait hooks for red No. 2 Gamakatsu round-bend trebles.

Brent Chapman:

Brent Chapman cranked for most of the tournament, which is one of his strengths. He fished both shallow- and medium-divers, but also threw a jig now and then.

"I was just fishing bluffs and main-lake points and secondary points from 1 to 10 feet of water," he said. "Then I'd jig-fish if there was any type of cover like brush or docks. It was just junk-fishing at its finest."

Crankbait gear: 7' medium-action All Star Brent Chapman fiberglass cranking rod, Ardent XS 1000 casting reel, 12-pound Gamma Edge fluorocarbon, unnamed square-bill shallow-diver (chartreuse/black-back) and Storm Wiggle Wart medium-diver (brown crawdad).

Jig gear: 7'6" medium-heavy All Star flipping stick, same reel, 20-pound Gamma Edge, 1/2-ounce Terminator jig (brown), Zoom Super Chunk (brown).

Mike Iaconelli:

Iaconelli focused on the main lake to avoid the crowds and ran a specific pattern. He specifically targeted bluffs with a "table top or flat" in front of them and threw a jig and shakey-head.

"On Wheeler, if you go down the main lake, there's like 2,000 bluffs, so you can't get caught fishing just any bluff," he noted. "Everything I tried to key on was main-lake bluffs, or sometimes a point but they all had flat spots before they dropped down. Typically, if I pulled up to a bluff or point, I'd put the boat in 20 to 25 feet and cast up into 5 to 10 feet. It had to have that little flat ledge before the main drop into deep water.

"And on top of the table top it would have to have scattered rock. If it was smooth gravel or sand, there wouldn't be any fish."

He added several good fish by cranking any little indentation in the bluff he could find.

Jig gear: 7'2" heavy-fast Team Daiwa Mike Iaconelli rod, Daiwa Steez casting reel, 17-pound Trilene 100% fluorocarbon, 1/2-ounce Berkley Ike's Finesse jig (green-pumpkin), unnamed craw trailer (green-pumpkin, tips dipped in chartreuse Spike-It).

Shakey gear: 6'8" medium-action Team Daiwa Mike Iaconelli rod, Daiwa TD Sol spinning reel 10-pound Trilene 100% fluorocarbon, 3/16-ounce Tru-Tungsten Ikey Head, Tru-Tungsten Dart worm (green-pumpkin).

Crankbait gear: 7'8" medium-action Team Daiwa Mike Iaconelli Longcast cranking rod, Daiwa Steez casting reel, 15-pound Trilene 100% fluorocarbon, LaserLure shallow-diver (custom Beat Down color, which is black/blue, to be available soon).

TW Staff

Last edited by TW_Staff; 04-08-2009 at 09:42 AM.
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