NEENAH, Wis. – Another day, another “Jacob Wheeler is leading the round” headline. The Tennessee pro added another first-place finish in Friday’s Elimination Round at the Bass Pro Tour Evinrude Stage Eight Presented by Tracker Off Road.
To say that Wheeler has been on fire and is fishing with confidence (no matter what lake he’s on) is an understatement.
However, several exciting storylines overshadowed his cruise-control day on Winnebago. And as we always see during the Elimination Round, there was plenty to pay attention to.
We had a down-to-the-wire battle for the Points Championship, we had REDCREST qualifications minted, and we and also some slipping through anglers’ fingers. And oh yeah, we had the chance to move on to the Knockout Round on Lake Butte des Morts.
Wheeler began the day in first place and held that position all day long. This marks the fifth time in the last six competition days that he has finished up as the leader.
He had a two-day total of 55 bass for 84 pounds, 15 ounces, with 22 bass for 33 pounds, 11 ounces coming during today’s competition.
As the focus shifts to Lake Butte des Morts, he will still be one to watch as he is a favorite on any lake in the country right now.
Evers vs. Sprague Battle
Ends With as many Knockout and Championship Round appearances these two have had this season, it’s a surprise that the Bass Pro Tour Points Champion title was settled so early this week.
After the dust settled, Sprague had finished in 25th place in Elimination Group B, four spots below where Evers ended up yesterday. Evers finishes the season with 510 points to Sprague’s 500, earning the first-ever Bass Pro Tour Points Championship.
It’s the first time this year that neither will compete in the Knockout Round. Evers had made six of eight, while this was the first time Sprague did not advance.
The REDCREST Shuffle
There are 30 spots available for the league’s inaugural championship event, and coming into this week, 18 of those spots had been claimed. That left 12 places and 26 anglers still mathematically alive to qualify.
That number has shrunk, and there are still 10 anglers vying for the final four spots.
Here’s what we know based on estimated calculations:
The following seven have qualified: Bradley Roy, Mike Iaconelli, Zack Birge, Wesley Strader, Brandon Palaniuk, Casey Ashley, Fred Roumbanis, and Greg Vinson.