Skip to main content

Omori Comes From Behind To Win Bassmaster Elite On Wheeler Lake

Takahiro Omori recovered from the 72nd spot at the end of day one to win the Bassmaster Elite at Wheeler Lake

Omori Comes From Behind To Win Bassmaster Elite On Wheeler Lake
Omori Comes From Behind To Win Bassmaster Elite On Wheeler Lake

DECATUR, Ala. — In 2004, Japan native Takahiro Omori won the GEICO Bassmaster Classic during the final minutes of the final day. On Championship Sunday of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Wheeler Lake, Omori earned another win after putting together a final-day catch of five bass weighing 25 pounds, 3 ounces.

Omori, who now hails from Emory, Texas, finished with a four-day total of 81-6, more than 4 pounds ahead of Saturday’s leader, Dave Lefebre of Erie, Pa.

Omori struggled on Thursday’s opening round of competition weighing only 10-7, which put him in 72nd place. He made a powerful comeback on Friday, catching 23-3, which bumped him all the way up to fourth place.

Following Saturday’s competition, Omori climbed into second place after weighing a mixed bag of large- and smallmouth bass for 22-9. The former Classic winner kept his momentum rolling and produced the tournament’s heaviest limit of bass on Sunday for an impressive come-from-behind victory.


“I found the spot where I caught my fish on Monday of practice, and I shook off several fish that I knew would weigh up to 6 pounds,” Omori said.


During the practice period, it’s common for anglers to avoid setting the hook in hopes the same fish will bite again during official competition days.

“I knew the area was pretty special, but I was concerned the pattern had changed after a tough first day,” he said. “You never know with these fish; sometimes they do exactly as they had in practice, and other times they just disappear for what seems like no reason. And, sometimes the fish just move around and you have to find them again. That’s what I did Friday through today, and it paid off.”

He was fishing a popular area known as Decatur Flats, which was only a few hundred yards from Ingalls Harbor in Decatur, Ala. The flat is only 3 to 4 feet deep, but it’s adjacent to the main river channel, which helps the area reload with fresh bass daily.

“Each day there were new waves of fish moving in, but I wasn’t sure that I could keep catching over 20 pounds,” Omori said. “That really helps when you’re trying to win a four-day tournament.”


Omori caught most of his bass during the morning hours, especially early, but he was able to upgrade with bigger bass as the day went on. His baits of choice included a walk-the-dog style topwater, a 5-inch swimbait in a shad pattern and a Carolina-rigged worm.

After leading Friday and Saturday, Lefebre didn’t have the big bites today that he was expecting. Lefebre finished in second place after a Day-4 weight of 16-10 and total of 77-3.

“On Saturday, I purposely backed off of some of my better spots hoping to catch those fish today, but it just didn’t work that way,” Lefebre said. “If I could go back and change that decision, it probably would have changed the outcome. But, you can’t change the past. I made a lot of solid decisions and fished a great tournament.”


Lefebre said it’s hard to second-guess a game-time decision, but he believes that heavier weights during the second and third days of the tournament would have helped his four-day total.

His baits of choice throughout this event included a new Terminator Popping Frog that is set to be unveiled at ICAST 2016, a Terminator buzzbait with a copper blade, a 1/4-ounce Yamamoto black and blue swim jig and a Terminator swim jig in the same size and a similar color pattern.

John Crews of Salem, Va., burned a lot of fuel fishing numerous spots across Wheeler Lake.

“Most of my best water was within five miles of Decatur,” Crews said. “But, I really had to mix it up between several areas, and I drove back and forth several times each day. My pattern had a spawning shad component to it, and that made the first two hours of the day key to catching the right fish.”

Crews caught most of his fish on walking topwater baits, a fluke-style soft plastic a Missile D-Bomb flipping bait.

Rounding out Top 13 anglers on Championship Sunday were Steve Kennedy (64-0), Bobby Lane (60-7), Greg Hackney (59-12), Cliff Crochet (59-10), Luke Clausen (59-9), James Elam (58-9), Casey Ashley (58-0), Gerald Swindle (56-12), Gary Klein (52-12) James Niggemeyer (50-1).

Greg Hackney was awarded $1,000 for the leading the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race at the end of the event.

Crews also earned the Power-Pole Captain’s Cash award of $1,000 for being the highest-placing angler who is registered and eligible and uses a client-approved product on his boat.

Lefebre earned the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $500 for leading on the second day.

Crews also won the Toyota Bonus Bucks of $3,000 for being the highest-placing eligible entrant in the program. The second-highest-placing eligible entrant, Bobby Lane, received $2,000.

The Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award of $1,500 was presented to both Casey Ashley and Gerald Swindle for each weighing in the overall biggest bass of the event — a 6-14 bass. Ashley caught his 6-14 bass on the first day of competition, and Swindle caught his on the third day of competition.

Crews earned the A.R.E. Top Angler Award of $1,000 for being the highest placing angler using A.R.E. products.

Dick Cepek Rolling Forward Award of $1,000 will be presented to the angler who makes the largest gain in Toyota Angler of the Year points from tournament to tournament.

Click here for complete event results.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Daiwa Tatula Swimbait Rods

Daiwa Tatula Swimbait Rods

No matter what your bass catching goal is, Daiwa's Tatula line of rods is perfect for every job according to MLF Bass Pro Tour veteran Cody Meyer. Here's why.

RIO Slickcast Fly Lines

RIO Slickcast Fly Lines

Chris Walker, with RIO Products, talks with Editor/Publisher Ross Purnell of Fly Fisherman magazine about the new SlickCast lineup of fly lines for 2020.

Daiwa J-Fluoro Samurai Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Daiwa J-Fluoro Samurai Fluorocarbon Fishing Line

Pro angler Cody Meyer calls Daiwa's J-Fluoro Samurai the best fluorocarbon he's ever fished. Meyer spoke with In-Fisherman associate publisher Todd Ceisner as part of the 2020 ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

Tackle Test 2020: Lew

Tackle Test 2020: Lew's Pro-Ti Speed Stick

Tackle Test 2020: Lew's Pro-Ti Speed Stick

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish time after time.10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About Catfish

10 Secret Catfish Baits You Didn't Know About

Anietra Hamper

We found 10 secret (and proven) catfish baits that have the staying power to attract catfish...

The National Shooting Sports Foundation provides places to start.Are You a New Hunter Looking for Help? Hunting How-To

Are You a New Hunter Looking for Help?

Adam Heggenstaller - August 19, 2020

The National Shooting Sports Foundation provides places to start.

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together Wild Game

10 Recipes for Your Backyard Get Together

Game & Fish Online Staff

Celebrate with great food for your backyard BBQ or picnic with these outdoor recipes.

Anglers can find catfish in practically any freshwater system in the South, but some waters really stand out for monsters.The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish Catfish

The South's Best Waters for Trophy Catfish

John N. Felsher - August 21, 2020

Anglers can find catfish in practically any freshwater system in the South, but some waters...

See More Trending Articles

More News

In a landmark bipartisan result, the House of Reps passed the bill by a 319-107 vote; President Trump expected to sign into law.Great American Outdoors Act Passed By House Conservation & Politics

Great American Outdoors Act Passed By House

Lynn Burkhead - July 23, 2020

In a landmark bipartisan result, the House of Reps passed the bill by a 319-107 vote;...

Campaign launches to help Americans find mental health support while fishing and boating in face of COVID-19.'Get On Board' Promotes Pandemic-Stress Relief News

'Get On Board' Promotes Pandemic-Stress Relief

Game & Fish Staff - July 01, 2020

Campaign launches to help Americans find mental health support while fishing and boating in...

Listed as endangered just half a century ago, the American alligator now thrives across the South and represents one of our great conservation success stories.Once Endangered, the American Alligator Survived Potential Disaster Thanks to Conservation Efforts News

Once Endangered, the American Alligator Survived Potential Disaster Thanks to Conservation Efforts

Carolee Anita Boyles - September 21, 2020

Listed as endangered just half a century ago, the American alligator now thrives across the...

Fake websites pretending to sell licenses have increased as state DNRs move to online fulfillment.Beware of Internet Hunting and Fishing License Sales Scams News

Beware of Internet Hunting and Fishing License Sales Scams

Andrew McKean - September 15, 2020

Fake websites pretending to sell licenses have increased as state DNRs move to online...

See More News

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now