Lake Wheeler predictions, forecasts and prognostications


The Bass Angler Sportsman Society (BASS) has traveled to Lake Wheeler only five times since the fishery in northern Alabama hosted the fourth Bassmaster Classic in 1974.

Since the last trip in 2003, the tour membership has changed a great deal, and many of the newcomers have little or no experience on Lake Wheeler. So, although the most recent Southern Challenge events were held on nearby Lake Guntersville, logic still dictates the potential for this tournament to be a wide-open affair.

Those Elites with experience on the lake should find fishing conditions consistent with what Wheeler has produced in the past. That is to say, largemouth and smallmouth bass will be available for the taking. And with the spawn complete, our crack team of fishing pundits is putting faith in a few household names who are among the best under the types of conditions that are being forecasted.

Of course you never know what Mother Nature — or Lady Luck — will throw at the Elites this week.

Here's a list of guys the pundits think have the best chance of latching onto a $100,000 check and a tournament title at Wheeler.

Alan Clemons
ESPN Outdoors contributor

Kelly Jordon — Experience on Wheeler could help him.

Terry Scroggins — Big Show should do well with Wheeler settling down after the spawn.

Kevin VanDam — Crankbait and ledge fish may be a factor, and he could shine.

Aaron Martens — He's always done well on Wheeler and could have an ace in his sleeve if the TVA is moving water through the dams.

Jason Williamson — Gut pick on a young pro who could make an appearance.

Trey Reid
ESPN Outdoors contributor

Peter Thliveros — Watch out. Peter T. shows what he's all about on Wheeler, where he's caught 'em before and he'll catch 'em again.

Timmy Horton — Here's this week's home-grown 'Bama pick.

Mark Davis — With the fish locked into their post-spawn deal, you can't bet against the guy who's arguably the best post-spawn angler on the Series.

Kevin VanDam — He'll show up here. Count on it.

Mike McClelland — This is where my Arkansas homeboy makes a move in the AOY race.

Steve Bowman
ESPN Outdoors Editor

Timmy Horton — No brainer. Over the years he's been the king of finding a pile of post-spawn fish and using them to win. He's familiar with the lake and the timing is right.

Gerald Swindle — He's at home and he has a lot to prove. He's having his toughest year, but he will be ready for this one.

Kevin VanDam — Like, who isn't going to pick him?

Derek Remitz — He's been too quiet this year, and this lake fits his style, not to mention it's close to home.

Mark Davis — It's just a matter of time before he hits the winner's circle. Wheeler is right up his alley.

M.A. Fisher
ESPN Outdoors contributor

Tim Horton — Gotta' go with some local blood on Wheeler.

Kevin VanDam — He won at Guntersville last year. This pond is just up the pike. I look for him to run, gun and make a game of this tournament (as if that's a surprise to anyone.)

Steve Kennedy — After getting off to a slow start (at least by his standards) in 2008, he picked it up at Murray. I picked him there and he came through with some stellar fish. As a friend of mine says, "Don't fight the dice," which is code for "Go with what's working." Will do.

Todd Faircloth — He's proven to be as versatile as anglers come. He should be in the mix.

Kenyon Hill — He seems to like this event, as evidenced by recent performances in north 'Bama. Even though the past few Southern Challenges have been held on Guntersville, Wheeler is close enough for me. Kenyon could be a player.