Wheeler leader Mark Rose and his daughter Hannah Grace show off part of Rose's Day 3 catch. FLW photo by David A. Brown.
This week at the FLW Tour Open at Wheeler, Mark Rose is getting to do what he does as well as anyone on tour -- studying offshore structure and fish with his electronics and figuring out which ones will bite and how to catch those fish. In recent years Rose has made a study of offshore fish in big-river systems, and he seems to catch them every time the tour makes a stop on a big-river impoundment. Wheeler is actually the Tennessee River impoundment where Rose has the least experience, but it fishes much like others in the system and during this week's tournament he's fishing as if he were on home waters.
The tournament's not over, and Rose is not getting many bite each day so anything could happen. However, he has brought in a big bag on each of the first three days and leads the event by 7 pounds going into the final day. He's catching his fish on a few different baits, with the specific choice varying according to how the fish are positioned on the structure. Rose's biggest stated concern is that he has been fishing a couple of specific areas and has worked them hard. He'll try to milk the same spots one more day, but he might have to go looking for new fish.
Closest behind Rose is Blake Nick, an Alabama angler who is targeting feeding fish near Wheeler Dam. Today Nick was hindered by wind and necessary boat positioning that gave his co-angler a better casting angle than he could get for the fish he was targeting. Today is forecast to be calm and there are no co-anglers, both of which could be good things for Nick.