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Similarities To Home Have McClelland Hopeful

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Photo: BassFan - If it seemed to writers and TV types like there was an extra spring in the steps of Mike McClelland leading up to the Bassmaster Classic this week, there was.

Because as the Bentonville, Ark., angler finished his tackle prep work in his Ranger bass boat, he couldn’t stop liking his chances.

“It’s one of those events where the fish are really moving a lot and they are transitioning a lot,” said McClelland. “And it’s the time of the year when I’m going to get to fish a lot of the ways that I really enjoy fishing and to me, that’s all you can hope for when you show up at a Bassmaster Classic.”

But fish movement and fishing methods are only a part of the reasons for McClelland’s confidence in making a run this weekend at a potential first Classic title. 

“It’s shaping up a lot like Table Rock did last April, honestly,” said McClelland of his 2017 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open title on his home water where the he captured the eighth B.A.S.S. win of his career. “The water temperatures are warming and a lot of the fish are starting to move shallow, potentially some fish have already spawned and you’re in one of those situations where there are a lot of fish in a lot of different areas.”

That being said, McClelland cautions that conditions have taken a step backwards this week as chilly rainfall earlier in the week and overnight lows near freezing since then have cooled the water temperature down. 

“With the colder temperatures, that’s pushed a lot of fish off the bank (now) and that could make it an event that is not going to be won by somebody going to the bank and fishing (shallow),” he said. 

Herring Factor

What about Hartwell’s well-known blueback herring baitfish population and the role that these nomadic baitfish will play this weekend? Read more