2014 Wheeler Lake Tournament Feature Story

January 21, 2014

Mason, Walker plan to swing for fences in Wheeler tournament
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After fishing their way to the top of the points race for the Alabama Bass Trail Tournament Series North Division, Jimmy Mason and Lance Walker will be swinging for the fences when the tour visits Wheeler Lake May 31.
“There are so many good anglers in the Alabama Bass Trail tournaments that you are probably not going to win anglers of the year unless you win a tournament,” Walker said. “We’re going to fish wide-open in Wheeler and try to win.”
Mason said he and Walker will be focused more on winning than trying to hold on to their lead in the points race. He said winning tournaments is key to winning season titles.
“If we start trying to be conservative and just fish for points, we will probably stumble,” Mason said. “In a tournament series as tough as this one, you have to go for the win at every tournament.”
So far, Mason of Rogersville and Walker, of Counce, Tenn., have two top 10 finishes, Guntersville and Pickwick. They lead the second place team of Jamie Smith and Michael Rains by 11 points in the season-to-date standings. Rahn Hogeland and Allen Guyse are 14 points out of the lead.
“We don’t have much of a cushion with two tournaments still to go,” Mason said. “We cannot let up. We are going to have to fish hard at Wheeler and at Logan Martin.”
With so much on the line at the Wheeler tournament, Mason and Walker are tightlipped about what areas of the lake they plan to fish, which techniques they expect to work best in late May or even how much weight they expect it will take to win.
“There’s going to be some big bags weighed in,” Walker said. “Wheeler is underrated among the Tennessee River lakes. It’s a lot better than some people think. There some big fish up there and we have to figure out what its going to take to catch the five biggest ones weighed in at the tournament.”
Mason said say he will not be surprised if some anglers are able to catch a few bass that are still spawning when the Alabama Bass Trail visits Wheeler Lake.
“When they first announced the calendar for this season, I looked at it and thought an offshore bite would win at Wheeler,” The hard winter really slowed things down on the Tennessee River and some of the bass are spawning a lot later than usual. We always have several waves of fish moving up on the shore to spawn throughout the spring and from the way things are looking, some of those waves might not spawn this year until around the end of May or even in early June.
“The Wheeler tournament is going to be great. We’re really looking forward to it.”