Cabela’s/GEICO For Your Boat Pro Mike McClelland has Sights Set on Central Open No. 3

WAGONER, Okla. (Sept. 12) — Encouraged by his performance at the Central Open No. 2 on Fort Gibson Lake this week, Cabela’s/GEICO For Your Boat pro angler Mike McClelland is already looking forward to Central Open No. 3.
McClelland needs a victory in one of the Central Opens to secure a spot in the 2016 GEICO Bassmaster Classic, and after a 46th-place finish on Fort Gibson, he has his eyes on one of his favorite bodies of water: Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo.
Fluctuating water level on Fort Gibson hampered anglers this week, as the lake started at near normal levels before rain added up to two and a half feet.
“There was a lot of uncertainty about where the fish should’ve gone,” McClelland said. “I had to keep mixing it up and try different things. But when I go to Table Rock, barring any Mother Nature catastrophes, it’s a lake that I can fish with a lot of confidence and fish pretty open-minded. That’s generally what it takes to win a tournament.”
McClelland should know because he won the Elite Series event there last year.
“I’m very excited to go fish,” McClelland said. “It’s a body of water that I have a lot of confidence on and can fish open-minded. (Winning last year) was about fishing a pattern; it wasn’t about getting locked into any specific spots or area of the lake. If I can go up there and have an open mind, I’ll punch my ticket to the GEICO Bassmaster Classic.”
Winning is all that matters for McClelland now, and he approached Fort Gibson looking for winning fish. His two-day total of 16 pounds, 7 ounces wasn’t enough to make the top-12 cut to fish Saturday, but his per-fish weight was solid.
“This was all about trying to win,” McClelland said. “If you look at my tournament weight number of fish I caught, I was catching the right quality fish; I just didn’t figure out how to catch enough of them every day. If I would’ve had five a day the first two days, I would’ve been pushing the top 20.
“I feel like I fished the way I needed to fish to try to win this event. It wasn’t about points, it wasn’t about trying to get a check, so I feel like I did what I had to do.”
Central Open No. 3 will be held Oct. 1-3.
“It’s been an up-and-down tournament season,” McClelland said. “But without the help of all the great sponsors I’ve got — GEICO, Cabela’s, Falcon, Stratos, Mercury, Mustang — it would’ve been a lot more down. I’m thankful for their support.”

After a 46th-place finish on Fort Gibson, Mike McClelland has his eyes on one of his favorite bodies of water: Table Rock Lake in Branson, Mo.

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