Arkansas angler Mike McClelland has familiarity with Grand Lake
BY KELLY BOSTIAN World Outdoors Writer
Sunday, February 17, 2013
2/17/13 at 6:04 AM
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Mike McClelland lives in Arkansas, but the Bassmaster Elite pro from Bella Vista lives as close or closer to Grand Lake O' the Cherokees as any of the Oklahoma anglers - and he won one of the more recent Elite Series tournaments on the lake in 2006.
"I've definitely spent a lot of time on Grand, but I've never fished it during the timeframe of the Classic, so it's really going to be more about fishing new patterns, new styles than I've ever fished on Grand before," he said.
At the same time, because of the lake's proximity to his home, the 2013 Classic is different for McClelland than his previous eight appearances. "It is really nice to fish a body of water that I have some history on," he said. "I feel like it gives me some more options. Classics in the past have never been on a body of water I had much experience with so I was pretty limited in my options based on what I found in practice."
Knowing the lay of the land means making adjustments will be easier. That could be important on Grand Lake at the end of February in Oklahoma's notoriously unpredictable weather. "You might not be catching them where you are and you know you can move down 4 or 5 miles and put together a pattern. It will allow me to run a little more and not get me caught up in fishing spots as much."
Not only is McClelland familiar with Grand, but he has broad experience on similar bodies of water, rocky, relatively clear lakes like Table Rock, Lake of the Ozarks, and others in the neighborhood of Grand, like Eucha and Hudson.
While familiarity with the lake can help, McClelland is one in the competition who has his own signature bait that might help as well.
For winter bass fishing a suspending jerk bait is a favored lure. A baitfish imitation, the lure dives as the angler reels it in, but when he stops the lure suspends in the water column, imitating the movements of a dying or wounded shad.
McClelland developed a line of signature jerkbaits with SPRO Corp. bait manufacturers called the McStick.
"It is really nice when you have that hands-on experience with the bait, working on it making it perform the way I want it to perform," he said. "I understand all the characteristics so through the design process so that may give me a little leg up on a lot of the guys, even the ones who are good jerkbait fishermen."
Hometown: Bella Vista, Ark.
Family: Wife, Stacy, sons Jusin, Jacob and Noah
Pro angler since: Since 1997
Notable: Won 2006 Elite Series Sooner Run on Grand Lake
Best Classic finish: 4th in 2009
Original Print Headline: Familiar territory
Kelly Bostian 918-581-8357
MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World