Dec 2016 News/Columns Whisker Whackers

The Curse of Pre-tournament Fishing – Winter Blues on Wheeler

catfish, tournament, blue catfish, flathead catfish, channel catfish, Wheeler Lake, Alabama, Joe Wheeler State Park

catfish, blue catfish, flathead catfish, channel catfish, Ron Presley



Plenty of catfish anglers are keeping an eye on Facebook and noting the numerous big fish being caught on Wheeler Lake in Alabama. The ones that are catching them will have to beat an age-old curse that often falls on tournament anglers that catch their big fish in practice, only to fall short during the tournament.

catfish, tournament, blue catfish, flathead catfish, channel catfish, Wheeler Lake, Alabama, Joe Wheeler State Park
David Magness and his son Ryan show off their 72.58-pound blue that won Big Fish last year.

The tournament is the ever-popular Winter Blues on Wheeler. The New Year’s Eve tournament is presented this year by FishLife Fishcare products. The 1st place purse is a guaranteed $5,000.

The launch and weigh-in will take place at the First Creek Ramp in Joe Wheeler State Park, Rogersville Alabama. The Captains Meeting is on December 30th, 7:00 pm, at the First Baptist Church of Rogersville.

A special $1000 Big Fish Prize is offered by Bottom Dwellers Tackle (BD) if the winner was a BD customer within the previous 12 months AND have a BD decal visible from the outside of the boat at weigh in. Failure to meet the requirements reduces the prize to $500.

More prizes are coming from Monster Rod Holders, Catfish Tech, Big Kat Bait Company, Shattered Cat Rods, FishLife Fishcare, SouthernCats Guide Service and more.

The highest placing team that includes a youth (18 and younger) will receive a certificate for a BlackHorse Custom Rod.

Shattered Cat Rods is offering a $500 bonus to 1st Place if fishing with at least 4 of the company’s rods.

Wheeler is known for big cats and plenty of them. Two years ago, it was Janet Fox that reeled in the tournament’s Big Fish. “Last year was the first time we fished Lake Wheeler,” said Janet. “Of course, I fell in love with it after I caught my 76-pounder.”

The next year’s Big Fish honors went to David Magness. David was fishing with his son Ryan in the tournament. “We went a long time without a bite,” reported Magness. “Then we got the one we needed. That bite was a 72.58-pound blue. It was the only bite we got.”

Prefishing on Wheeler has resulted in numerous anglers catching huge fish. In many cases they are personal bests. Time will tell who will claim the Big Fish honors at Winter Blues on Wheeler, 2016.

Winter Blues will also crown an overall winner based on the heaviest 5 fish stringer. If the bite holds up to prefishing levels that weight could be a new record!

In a twist of timing, Winter Blues on Wheeler will be the first tournament to qualify anglers for the recently announced Catfish Weekly National Catfish Tournament. Beginning with Winter Blues, participating tournaments will be qualifying their top 5 finishers to compete in the national tournament in 2018.

Interested anglers can visit  for rules and registration.

For more information on visiting the area check out

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