DAYTON, Tenn. (June 14) — Another day on Chickamauga Lake with another large bag for pro angler Mike McClelland wasn’t enough to overcome an early tournament shortfall and propel him into the final cut at the Bassmaster BASSfest.
A 15-pound, 12-ounce bag by the Cabela’s/GEICO For Your Boat Elite angler may not have been enough for the top-12 cut, but his overall weight of 35-15 was enough for 48th place, which was a much better finish than McClelland could have imagined after how his BASSfest tournament started.
“Saturday went much more like I thought my whole tournament would go,” McClelland said, “other than the fact that I didn’t get a big bite to anchor my bag. I had 11 keepers overall and felt pretty comfortable fishing all day.
“I had two or three spots that I felt like if I was going to catch a big one. I spent a lot of time on three little areas and threw a 3/4th-ounce football jig with a Zoom Brush Hog trailer and a Zoom Magnum Trick Worm. The Trick Worm was really the key to catching them today, and I think if I had thrown it the first day things may have ended better. Ultimately, I was really trying to catch a 30-pound bag today to possibly have a chance to move on to Sunday.”
Even though McClelland’s time on Chickamauga Lake may have come to a close early, he is leaving with much more than he came into the tournament with: valuable advice and a paycheck.
“The first day of BASSfest was just one of those days that got away from me,” McClelland said. “Looking back to the first day though, I now know what I did wrong. I had enough places from practice that I thought I could make big catches that I probably fished all of them too fast. Saturday really made me analyze what I was doing. Even looking back at Last Chance Friday, I fished much slower and I fished fewer places than I did the first day. It was no different today; I really had to slow down to catch the fish I ended up with.
“Even after doing this as many years as I have, you still make mistakes occasionally. You get in a hurry and overexcited and ultimately fish too fast. That’s one thing that I typically see a lot of locals doing compared to the anglers in the Elite Series. There are times you can pull up on an area and fish fast, but the majority of the time the fishing is tougher when they’re not just eating like crazy. You’ve got to slow down to really be successful.”
Despite catching another large bag on Saturday, Cabela’s/GEICO For Your Boat angler Mike McClelland came up short of advancing to the next day at BASSfest.