‘It was just an awesome day’

Wiggins climbs to top of leaderboard after record-setting day on Smith Lake

Jesse Wiggins is greeted by fans at Depot Park after his record-setting performance on Smith Lake Wednesday. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Anglers have been putting up some big numbers on Smith Lake so far this week in the Major League Fishing (MLF) Bass Pro Tour Stage 5, but no one is putting up numbers like Jesse Wiggins. The Addison native racked up 72lbs. 4 oz. Wednesday after hauling in an MLF record 49 scorable fish to climb to the top of Group B in the shotgun round. According to MLF, Wiggins’ haul boke the Bass Pro Tour record for the most bass caught in a single round.

Wiggins has had a lot of big days on the water in his time as a professional angler, but his performance on Wednesday was truly one to remember.

“In my time as a professional that was one of the best days I’ve ever had as far as catching fish. It was just an absolute blast. I caught tons of them, and I don’t know man, it was just an awesome day,” Wiggins smiled. “Now, the pressure is to do it again on Saturday. I don’t have to do it Friday because the weights carry over, but I’ll have to do it Saturday when we get to the top 40 and then I’ve got to get into that top 10 for Sunday. That was a good day. I just hope we can keep it up.”

Growing up here, Wiggins has spent a lot of time fishing out on Smith Lake, so he knew what to expect coming into this week and isn’t surprised by a lot of the weights he has seen in the first two days.

“I’ve told people that this lake has more bass in it than a lot of lakes around and you can see it. Everybody’s whacking ‘em and just catching a ton of fish with really good weights and there’s not a lot of big fish right now because of the time of year, but we still get to catch a bunch of them,” Wiggins said. “If we were here earlier in the year, there’d be some giants and a bunch of them, but we’re here now and I’m not going to complain because we get to catch a bunch, set the hook a bunch and it was just an awesome day.”

After setting himself up in a great position with his performance on Wednesday, Wiggins will have an opportunity to prepare for the weekend when he hits the water again Friday morning.

“The plan for Friday is to go look for more stuff. I should have enough of a lead to go look for stuff because the weights will reset after the second day so there’s really no reason in going and catching a bunch more so I’m going to go look for some stuff for Saturday. That’s the plan anyways.”

Wiggins is in a comfortable spot going into the elimination rounds on Thursday and Friday and if he can carry the momentum into the weekend, he’ll have a good shot at the $100,000 grand prize Sunday.

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Nick Griffin