Kip Carter of Mansfield, Ga. brought a five-bass limit to the scale Saturday weighing 15-08to win the Wheeler Lake Southeastern FLW Seris in Decatur, Ala. Carter’s 3-day total of 15 bass weighing 41-14 earned him the win by a comfortable 4-11 margin over 2nd-place angler Harry Peyton of Guntersville, Ala. and earned Carter the top payout of $22,286.
Carter's win was particularly special to him since he used his 2002 aluminum tunnel-hull “beater” rig to help him get the job done.
“I’ve had that tunnel-hull for 16 years,” said Carter, who has 50 career top-10 finishes in FLW competition. “It’s a special boat to me. I bought it to fish the Ocmulgee River, which is a shallow, shoaly-type river, and it didn’t take long for me to realize that it worked pretty darn good in a lot of lakes that have shallow backwaters and silted-in creeks.
“To be able to just run in and out of creeks – over those big silted-in flats – at will, without worrying about hitting anything makes it an invaluable tool here on these lakes in the Southeast.”
After running a lot of creeks in practice, Carter settled on Limestone Creek as his best shot at winning. Limestone has multiple tiny creeks seeping into it and Carter utilized several of them throughout the week.
“I would fish back in the true creeks when it was sunny and slick,” he says. “And I did catch a few fish that way, but if the wind got up and we got some clouds, I’d go back out into the flats. When it got right in those flats, I could catch those better 4-pound fish out there.”
During the week, Carter did most of his damage with two lures: a 3/8-ounce Dirty Jigs buzzbait teamed with a black Zoom Horny Toad and a 3/8-ounce white swim jig with a Zoom Super Chunk, also white.
“The first couple of days, the swim jig was the key player,” Carter said. “Today, it was all about the buzzbait. The wind and clouds probably helped that bite – and I had some vicious bites on it today.
“This win has been a long time coming,” Carter went on to say. “I did a lot of celebrating out on the water today with some special fish catches. It’s something to finally pull one of these tournaments off; I get choked up just thinking about it.”
Here are the final totals for the top 10:
1. Kip Carter: 41-14
2. Harry Peyton: 36-15
3. Dustin Smith: 34-08
4. Andrew Johnson: 34-02
5. Lavoyd Lemmond: 32-08
6. Jesse Millsaps: 31-08
7. Josh Bragg: 30-03
8. Lynn Johnson: 29-12
9. Dustin Neat: 27-10
10. Bill Spratlin: 26-09