John Cox of Florida extended his lead on day two of the 2016 Forrest Wood Cup on Wheeler Lake with a 15-pound, 10-ounce limit that gives him 32 pounds, 5 ounces for two days. He holds a 6-pound, 7-ounce lead on Jacob Wheeler and Michael Neal who are tied with 25 pounds, 14 ounces for two days.
Cox has been running his normal log-jumping, shallow-creek pattern that he’s had so much success with all over the country from his aluminum boat. His pattern held up for the second day, and he maintained a solid lead on day two.
“It was a lot tougher today,” Cox said. I went past where I caught them yesterday and only caught 7 fish today. I guess those fish I was catching way in the back are on their way out or something. I ‘m not sure what’s left in the area but I’ll probably go in there again tomorrow. I’ve got another area that I haven’t touched but I really don’t want to yet either. So we’ll see how it goes in the morning.
“I really just thew a topwater and a worm today but I had to fish a lot more water today to get my fish. So I’m not sure what to expect.”
Here is the top 20 cut fishing day three.
1. John Cox 32-5
2. Jacob Wheeler 25-14
3. Michael Neal 25-14
4. Darrel Robertson 25-3
5. Todd Auten 25-2
6. Bryan Thrift 24-10
7. Mark Rose 24-4
8. Bill Chapman 22-5
9. Jimmy Reese 22-3
10. David Dudley 21-11
11. Brandon Cobb 21-10
12. Scott Martin 21-9
13. Chris Johnston 21-8
14. Cody Meyer 21-6
15. Ray Hanselman 21-3
16. Joseph Webster 20-15
17. Jeremy Lawyer 20-15
18. JT Kenney 20-13
19. Shane Lehew 20-8
20. Brandon McMillan 20-7
Here is a sampling of what the field had to say about the fishing on day two on Wheeler Lake.
I went back to where I lost that big fish yesterday and caught it first thing this morning. I caught that fish and it was a 4 1/4. Then I caught a 3 1/2. And I knew it was going to be a different day. I caught 13 pounds in that area and left and went looking for some new stuff. I’m catching residential fish and once you pluck them off there is not another one waiting to move in there.
I can’t catch 17 pounds tomorrow but if I can catch some solid fish doing what I found later in the day I can get 13 or 14 pounds and be in the hunt on the final day. I caught 10 keepers today. I caught my fish on 3 different baits. One was slow, one was subsurface and one was on top. So it’s not a bait thing; t’s more about being around the fish.
I’m trying to work the good areas over as thoroughly as I can. I might burn through an area and catch one or two and go back in and fill in the gaps if I felt like I was missing anything. I just flip back through it hitting everything or go back over it with a topwater.
I sat on one area today. I just got the bigger fish to bite today. I saw them yesterday and today they bit for me. I will pitch a tent and camp on that spot all day tomorrow.
I don’t know what to think. It was a lot tougher today. Yesterday I caught 5 early running a lot of water with a topwater and that really settled me down and let me commit to fishing deep on some brush piles I had sunk in pre-practice. But I only managed 2 fish doing that yesterday. Today I only caught 2 fish on the topwater so I thought the deep bite might be getting better but they just aren’t out there. I don’t know why so many fish are shallow right now but they are. It’s like it’s October or something. Tomorrow I’ll change up probably on areas.
The lack of current hurt me today. Yesterday I had more current and they bit pretty good. Today there was no current and it scattered the fish too much where they were more concentrated yesterday. I’m not burning 5 gallons of gas. I need that current they way I’m fishing. I’m throwing one bait that I’m sure no one else in this event is throwing.
Yesterday I ran a lot more water fishing 5-6 areas. Today I only really fished two areas. There are fish in the area to have a 16-pound bag, but it’s hard to get them to bite. I’m figuring out a little bit of a rhythm switching between big baits and baits as small as crappie jigs to get bites. There is a timing and rhythm to getting the fish to come up and then catching them. I feel like I’m getting it dialed in better. I don’t think I can catch enough to take the lead but I could definitely make the top 10.
I just got that big bite that I didn’t get yesterday. That’s the real difference. I’m seeing 17 pounds school around me but you just cannot get those fish to turn and chase your bait. They might turn and key on another shad while your bait is in the air and you have no shot. There are big ones in there and I was fortunate to get one of those fish to bite today. I’m fishing one little ole small stretch of the river. I have maybe 2 or 3 shots at them in a days time to catch them and it’s just a frustrating deal to see them and not have them even look at your bait. I’ve got 15 rods on the deck and other anglers have fished around me and both of us throwing at the same fish and neither of us can get them to hit anything.
I completely changed up my program today. I tried fishing out deep all day on day one and it didn’t work so I went back to shallow areas where I got a few bites in practice and caught 4 big ones. I missed a few but I had 4 fish in that 4-pound class and one fish about 2 pounds and I culled twice. So I didn’t get a lot of bites but I had the quality.
I fished one area today and I feel like there is still some weight in there. I’m not going to go catch 19 pounds again in there. I mean they don’t catch that in the spring here. But I think I can catch 12-14 pounds in there and stay competitive. I’ve got a few other deals similar to that in the same general area that I will try to run. I didn’t have anyone else in there with me today and that was obviously key. Tomorrow there will likely be 30 people in there and it will be screwed up so I’ll probably have to run some other stuff.