May 15, 2016 by Jody White
Most of the fish caught in the Costa FLW Series Southeastern Division event presented by Mercury Marine and hosted by Florence/Lauderdale Tourism on Wheeler Lake came from the shallows. Up shallow, the pros were hardly one-trick ponies, using a wide array of baits to pick through Wheeler’s plentiful shallow cover for the bass.
1. Bradley Dortch earned the win with a 3/8-ounce Picasso Straight Shooter jig teamed with a NetBait Paca Craw in a standard green pumpkin color. He also pitched a Paca Craw on a Texas rig with a 3/8-ounce tungsten weight.
2. The leader going into the final day, Kim Carver flipped and pitched a homemade jig given to him years ago by Guido Hibdon. He fit the jig with two skirts with white strands and gold tinsel and tipped the whole package with a Zoom Super Chunk.
3. Dustin Smith caught a fish or two on a frog, but his bread and butter was a super bug-colored Missile Baits D Bomb that he pitched with a 4/0 Gamakatsu Heavy Cover Flippin’ Hook and a 3/8-ounce tungsten weight.
4. Keeping it diverse, Bryan New caught a few smallmouths on the final day with a 3.8-inch Keitech Swing Impact FAT, but his main deal was shallow, and for that he used a Charlie’s Worms Brush Buster and Flippin’ Bug and a Greenfish Tackle Swim Jig with a Charlie’s Worms Chunk.
5. Making his third top 10 of the season and earning the Strike King Angler of the Year title, Glenn Browne did it all up shallow. His baits of choice this week were a black neon Gambler Flipp’n Tube and a SPRO Bronzeye Frog that has seen a lot of fish.
7. Terry Tucker cranked and tossed a jig for his top-10 finish. The jig was a 5/8-ounce homemade model topped with a Prowler Lures Chunk, and the crankbait was also homemade and hand-painted.
8. The backwaters produced for Jared Dial the first two days and failed on the last. To finish eighth, his baits of choice were a homemade spinnerbait and a NetBait B Bug.
9. Ninth-place pro Bradford Beavers caught every fish he weighed on a 3/8-ounce Katch-Her Lures bladed jig with a Zoom Super Fluke for a trailer.