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Jesse Wiggins earns first tour-level event at Lake of the Ozarks

by Bass Cat & Yar-Craft Boats 10 May 01:01 UTC
Jesse Wiggins won the Bass Pro Tour Bass Boat Technologies Stage Four © Bass Cat & Yar-Craft Boats

Veteran Bass Cat pro Jesse Wiggins won the Bass Pro Tour Bass Boat Technologies Stage Four Presented by Bass Cat on Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks this week. That marked the Alabama angler's first tour level win, to complement three Bassmaster Open wins. He earned $100,000 for this victory.

"This win is huge for me," he said. "Even though I'd won before, I hadn't won against this group of guys. It proves that I belong, especially to do it on a lake I'd never been to. That's what we're all striving for." Despite the fact that he'd never fished the dock-laden Lake of the Ozarks, Wiggins relied on his Smith Lake expertise to take home the title, utilizing a homemade shakey- head with a Jackall Flick Shake worm to catch spawning bass around docks.

The tournament had a 2-pound minimum weight for bass to be scorable, and Wiggins won by just more than a 2 pound margin over runner-up Dean Rojas. Third place finisher Wesley Strader ended up exactly 10 pounds behind Wiggins.

In addition to his tackle, Wiggins also noted that he could not have won without his Bass Cat/Honda rig. "That hull is so stable," he said. "It stays in place. Occasionally when it's windy and I end up next to another boat, I'll stay in place while they drift off into the distance. I also really like the layout, which is perfect for the way I fish in tournaments." Just as importantly, he noted that both boat and motor are ultra-reliable, which enables him to make long runs or dock hop without ever worrying that he'll run into mechanical or operational difficulties. "In six years of running this boat, I've never been to the Bass Cat service trailer. That's also the number one selling point for Honda. Yes, it's quiet and fuel-efficient, but in that same six years I've never once had to take the cowling off."

Bass Cat President Rick Pierce cheered Wiggins on throughout the event. "I know that he needed this win. He had that storybook season in the Bassmaster Opens, but since jumping over to MLF he's struggled to find his groove. We all knew that he had greatness in him, and this is proof that there's no level at which he cannot be competitive."

It was a good week for other Bass Cat pros as well. Mark Rose, who finished 8th, earned two daily Big Bass awards, and Texas pro Kelly Jordon finished 6th. Wiggins is now in 4th place in the Bally Bet Angler of the Year standings, with over $145,000 winnings for the year. Fellow Bass Cat pro Zack Birge is in 8th place.

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