Team Rapala fared well in the four-day tournament, showcasing a number of the baits in the Rapala family of brands as 6 of its 8 Elite Series pros competing finished in the Top 12 in a field of 110 anglers. In addition to Wheeler’s win, Minnesota pro Seth Feider finished 4th, Florida pro Randall Tharp came in 8th, Tennessee pro Ott DeFoe in 10th, New Jersey pro Michael Iaconelli was 11th, and Idaho pro Brandon Palaniuk finished 12th.
Feider’s caught several of his biggest fish on a No. 4 Rapala® Flat Jig in the Holo-Flake Anchovy color using 10-lb Sufix® 832 Advanced Superline® tied to a 10-lb Sufix Castable Invisiline 100% Fluorocarbon leader.
DeFoe caught many of the big fish he weighed on a VMC® Neon Moon Eye Jig Head dressed with a small, minnow-shaped soft-plastic bait. He also caught several of the fish he weighed on a Rapala DT®-6 crankbait in the Old School color pattern.
Iaconelli relied on a DT-6 in Disco Shad Color.
Palaniuk exclusively threw Storm Wiggle Warts® and Rapala DT crankbaits throughout the tournament. Slow cranking a Wiggle Wart in the Phantom Brown Orange Craw pattern and a DT Flat 7 in Demon helped him kick of his season with a top 12 finish.