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McClelland: Don't Ignore Cold-Water Shade Lines

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By Jonathan LePera Special to BassFan - Mike McClelland has always marched to the beat of his own drum. Bucking the norm is nothing new to him, so when anglers learn that he targets the shade in cold water instead of the sun, it might raise an eyebrow or two. 

“So many guys will pull up to a boat dock in the spring and disregard the shade and just fish the cover of the dock,” McClelland said. “Through my years of fishing, I realized so many of my bites have come from the shade line instead of the dock itself." 

Regardless of what part of the country he’s fishing during the cold-water months, McClelland will seek out the shade. 

“A shade line gives bass that sense of security and cover,” he said, “but they want to be close to the sun which is creating the shade because of the cold water and the temps they are fighting this time of the year." 

Cruising for Cover

In the spring, the bass use the sun to warm themselves but the shade becomes the cover, McClelland says. Once the water temperatures start to warm in the cold-weather months, baitfish and forage start climbing in the water column seeking the warmth of the sun. 

Bass still have predatory instincts in wanting some sort of cover, McClelland added, but they don’t want to bury up into shade by hiding under a dock, preventing them from using the “soft shade lines” as ambush points. Fish will utilize the shade thrown over a point by a big tree the same way. 

They’ll cruise the edges, always keeping their body in the sunshine to feel the warmth of the sun and their nose and eyes into the shade to make them feel like they are hidden, yet always ready to ambush, McClelland says. 

When dealing with larger areas of shade created by a larger set of docks or a larger dock that may harbor a number of fish, the bigger fish tuck a little further into the shade, ducking just out of sight. Most often, the smaller fish are the first to commit while the larger fish are less aggressive when covered by shade

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Tip for Fishing in Florida

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When it comes to Texas-rigging weedless soft plastics in Florida’s weedy waters, Mike McClelland always adjusts to the lightest weight possible.

 “Since Florida has so many different densities of vegetation, constantly changing your weight on Texas rigs to match those different densities is critical,” said McClelland. “You can’t believe how many more bites you will get on an 1/8-ounce weight versus a ¼-ounce weight when fishing something like sparse eelgrass or lily pads. The trick is to get that worm to fall as naturally as possible.

“Wind is a major factor in this choice, too,” he added. “If it’s dead slick, you might even consider going weightless or down to a 1/16-ounce. Often times I’ll have several rods rigged with the same soft plastic but with different weights to match vegetation and wind conditions.”

Grouping For First Bass Pro Tour Event Announced

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Major League Fishing announced the groupings for the first two days of fishing in their first ever Bass Pro Tour event on Lake Toho next week. The competition starts Jan. 29, 2019 and group A will fish then. While Group B will fish on the Jan. 30 2019. Here is who will be competiting in each group. For more details visit MajorLeagueFishing.com.  

Bass Pro Anglers
Group A

Mark Daniels
Gary Klein
Casey Ashley
Brandon Coulter
Andy Montgomery
Dave Lefebre
Randy Howell
Randall Tharp
Mark Davis
Ish Monroe
Kelly Jordon
Jared Lintner
Gerald Spohrer
Fred Roumbanis
Edwin Evers
Brett Hite
Chris Lane
Michael Neal
Justin Lucas
David Walker
Zack Birge
Jason Lambert
Mike McClelland
Tommy Biffle
Russ Lane
Matt Lee
Stephen Browning
Andy Morgan
Ott DeFoe
Roy Hawk
Jacob Wheeler
Greg Vinson
Keith Poche
Takahiro Omori
James Watson
Jordan Lee
Tim Horton
James Elam
Cody Meyer
Shin Fukae

 Group B

Aaron Martens
Adrian Avena
Bradley Roy
Jeff Kriet
Jeff Sprague
Skeet Reese
Terry Scroggins
Dustin Connell
John Murray
Shaw Grigsby
Alton Jones
Brent Chapman
Britt Myers
Jacob Powroznik
Luke Clausen
Boyd Duckett
Gerald Swindle
Jason Christie
Josh Bertrand
Todd Faircloth
Greg Hackney
Scott Suggs
Jesse Wiggins
Wesley Strader
Cliff Pace
Paul Elias
Cliff Crochet
Johnathon VanDam
Brent Ehrler
Anthony Gagliardi,
Justin Atkins
Kevin VanDam
Bobby Lane
Alton Jones Jr.
Mike Iaconelli
Fletcher Shryock
Mark Rose
Brandon Palaniuk
Marty Robinson
Dean Rojas

5th: McClelland Feels Good

&2018 Elite StLawrence IMG 9507

Photo by: B.A.S.S. / Seigo Saito > Day 4: 5, 23-04 (20, 90-01) McClelland's finish was easily his best of 2018 – his previous high was a 28th at Lake Travis.

"I feel like I had a great event," he said. "Could I have caught more (weight) on 1 or 2 days? Yeah, I weighed a 2-15 yesterday and a 3-04 today and if I could've gotten rid of those I'd have had a little bit better bags, but it was still a good tournament."

His best fish of the day, a 6-1, bit after another good one had raced toward the bottom and spit out his hook.

"When it came off I opened my bail to let the line start falling, and then it quit falling and I raised up and that fish was on there. I truly don't think it was the same fish because that one fought harder than the one that came off."

He employed a variety of baits on dropshot rigs, including a Big Bite Baits Limit Maker and a prototype offering from that company. Read more

RV living with McClelland

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Photo by Overstreet

RV Living With The McClelland's

Bassmaster Classic Final 19th. Mike McClelland (10-09, 38-12)

“It’s one of those deals that looking back, I really felt like I had found enough largemouths that I could continue to figure out how to catch them during the week. That’s usually always the big difference-maker, when you come to a lake that is predominantly spots, is figuring out how to catch a better largemouth or two. And you know, every day, largemouth is what carried me.

Today, I never got a largemouth bite. I knew when I pulled up on my first spot this morning, and then the first one that bit me was a spot, it probably wasn’t going to be a great day. You just know those things. I did do some things, try some things that were different today, and you’re here to win." Read more

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