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McClelland Figured Out He Needed To Go Deep

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Photo: B.A.S.S./James Overstreet - There's just no place like home for Bassmaster Elite Series pro Mike McClelland.

Although he resides in Bella Vista, Ark., McClelland could consider Table Rock Lake his home waters since he spent so much time fishing there as a kid while staying at his grandparents’ property near the lake. He relied on his extensive experience on Table Rock to win the Bassmaster Central Open event there on Saturday with a 3-day total of 44-04.

The win was his second B.A.S.S. victory on Table Rock, which earned him the top prize of a boat and motor rig valued at $45,000, along with $8,491 in cash and a berth in the 2018 Bassmaster Classic if he fishes the remaining two Central Opens. The Arkansas pro also won the 2014 Bassmaster Elite event at Table Rock.

The first 2 days McClelland had success keeping his boat in 45 to 50 feet of water and throwing a Cabela’s 3.4 Finesse Swimmer swimbait with a 1/4-ounce underspin jighead to bass holding in standing timber 25 to 32 feet deep. He credited his Garmin Panoptix electronics for helping him see the bass he was catching from the trees. He also caught some shallower fish on a Spro McStick stickbait and a Spro Rock Crawler crankbait. Full Story

Open Road: Meet Justin McClelland

McClellands_1605_ArkRiverOpen_grilling_574_MM.jpgFor Mike McClelland and son Justin, fishing has always been a way for the two to come together, whether on camping trips along the White River or bass fishing at lakes around northwest Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.

For years, though, fishing kept them apart, too, as Mike traveled extensively as he built a successful career as an Elite Series pro. This summer, the McClelland boys are back together as Justin gets his first taste of high-level tournament fishing in the Bassmaster Central and Northern Opens. He’d made a deal with his father that before he’d pursue a career in fishing, he would earn his college degree, which he did this spring.

Father and son will travel together, practice together and compete against each other on the pro side. It figures to be a rewarding experience for both. Justin and Mike have agreed to share their experiences with BassFan through periodic entries in what’ll be called the Open Road Journal. In the first entry, in advance of this week’s Central Open at the Arkansas River, Justin introduces himself and offers some background as to why he’s been looking forward to what this summer may hold.

We all want to follow in our father’s footsteps. Read Story

Take Five with Mike

Mike Finishes 2nd on Sabine

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McClelland, a four-time Elite Series winner, had no qualms about his runner-up showing this time.

"I'm tickled to death with a 2nd-place finish," he said. "Anytime you run that far that many days in a row, it's a big gamble. With the conditions I had to face, I was blessed.

"Everything had to all into place for me to finish as good as I did."

He's been in contention in all three events he's competed in this year – he was 8th at the Classic and 13th at the Ross Barnett Central Open after leading on day 1.

"I do feel like I'm fishing well. I've got a lot of confidence and a lot of good momentum going right now. It's really kind of strange, but when I look back on all the years of my career, the only year I really competed for the Angler of the Year (he was 3rd in 2008) was the year I won the first event at the Harris Chain.

"A good start is such a momentum-builder to even have a chance for Angler of the Year."

He caught six keepers today and missed three others. His 4-02 bag topper was the biggest fish of the day. Full Story

McClelland's wild ride paying off

ORANGE, Texas — Where Mike McClelland is concerned, the dateline should be Houston instead of Orange for the Bassmaster Elite at the Sabine River presented by STARK Cultural Venues. McClelland is running 114 miles to Galveston Bay before making his first cast of the day.

And that's even with the fog delays that shortened the days to a 9 a.m. start Thursday and a 9:40 a.m. launch Friday.

"Based on the practice I've had in the Sabine River area, I told myself if I could fish for just one hour, I would go," said McClelland, who is in seventh place with a two-day total of 20 pounds, 15 ounces. "As long as I can go over there and fish for one hour, I'll continue to go over there." Read More

2015 Classic GoPro: Day 1 with Mike McClelland