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How Pro Angler Mike McClelland prepares for a Tournament ~ Part 1

Many professional anglers break down tournament fishing into: 1) practice, 2) preparation and 3) competition. Practice spans several days immediately preceding competition. When practice ends, a pro will use what was learned during practice in order to narrow down and prepare the specific gear that will be used in competition. This tackle preparation is crucial. In Part 1 of 3, pro Mike McClelland of Bella Vista, Arkansas tells you how he prepares his rods, reels and line for use with the specific baits he plans to depend on during competition. Jump aboard McClelland’s boat and witness firsthand how pros prepare for tournaments.

Inside Mike McClelland's ride

Inside Mike McClelland's ride Check out Mike's Rig on

Spro McStick 95 with Mike McClelland at Lake Lanier

Mike McClelland's Easy Backlash Fix

Video – Jerkbaits in Detail with Mike McClelland

When it comes to fishing jerkbaits, those anglers from the Midwestern part of the country have long been known as some of the premier “jerkbaiters” out there.  Sure, the West has its share of stellar examples, as do the Northeast.  However, the jerkbait has become synonymous with lakes like Table Rock, Lake of the Ozarks, Bull Shoals, Grand Lake and some of the other clear water impoundments throughout the Ozarks and the Midwest.

One of those anglers that has been at the peak of his craft with the jerkbait for many years is Bella Vista, Ark. Elite Series pro Mike McClelland.  McClelland has developed a line of baits with his sponsor SPRO that fills all of the needs of a jerkbait angler.  From the McRip 85, to the original McStick 110, the 95, and now the 115, each of those lures has its own specific place for it to be used.  Until now, anglers were forced to try and use a trial and error approach to figuring out which bait to use when.

While we were at the recent SPRO, SUNLINE, Big Bite Baits and Gamakatsu Media Days event at Lake Sydney Lanier outside Atlanta, Ga., we sat down with McClelland and figured out how to put together a comprehensive start to finish guide with his signature SPRO baits.  In this video, McClelland helps us understand which bait to choose for the conditions and when we are fishing, where to apply them and how to use them.

So, enter the Advanced How-to classroom with professor Mike McClelland and get all of the details on jerkbait fishing. Watch Video

5th: Bad Day Haunts McClelland

McClelland caught nearly 18 pounds on the first and final days, but just more than half of that on day 2. The middle day doomed his chances in an event in which he was considered one of the favorites due to his history on Grand (which includes and Elite Series victory) and his proximity to it.

"I'd like to do yesterday over again," he said. "It's all about decision-making, and rather than really zeroing in on a one creek or pocket or area, I had too much stuff look at. Then when they didn't bite, I tried to hunker down and make them bite in specific spots.

"I said beforehand that the guy who ran a pattern over the course of the Classic and fished new water every day would be the winner, and I didn't do that."

A 4-11 was the biggest fish in the bag he caught today.

"I caught them pretty quick and I thought I had a good opportunity to take it over 20 pounds. I kept doubling back to where I caught the three best ones, but I think they'd just quit biting."

He threw a Spro McStick jerkbait and a Bass-X jig