RUSSELLVILLE, Ark. (May 16) — When the 2014 Bassmaster Elite schedule came out in the off-season, Cabela’s/GEICO For Your Boat angler Mike McClelland of Bella Vista, Ark., put a big red circle around this weekend’s event on Lake Dardanelle.
Unfortunately, after two days of fishing on the familiar waterway, situated just two hours from his home, McClelland didn’t have enough weight to make the cut and advance to Saturday’s action.
“I came down here with quite a bit of past history on this lake and I think that might have worked against me,” McClelland said. “I’ve always fished here in late May, June, and July, and the fish really like to stack up off the bank a bit where it’s not real deep but a little deeper than the shore line.
“Both yesterday and today I caught a few good ones shallow but then I moved out to go for the bigger ones, especially today thinking I needed more weight, when I probably could have made the cut if I’d just stayed in there close and grinded. Past history definitely altered my thinking and ultimately worked against me.”
McClelland caught five fish weighing 11 pounds, 4 ounces on Day 1 and followed that up with another five fish weighing an even 12 pounds Friday, but he missed the cutoff to advance by 2 pounds, 14 ounces.
“Phenomenal fishery here,” he said. “I’ve had some great tournaments on this lake, not necessarily in BASS events but in others, and it hurts not to do well when you’re in your home state. We have a bunch of great fans here and lots of family, so we’ll be able to spend time with them now. I’ll work the Expo tomorrow and meet as many folks as I can. Then we’ll get ready for the next one.”
For McClelland and the others, the next big tournament is the brand-new BASSfest, which is scheduled for June 11-15 on Chickamauga Lake and Nickajack Lake near Dayton, Tenn.
Cabela’s/GEICO For Your Boat angler Mike McClelland came up just 2 pounds, 14 ounces short of advancing to the next round of fishing at the Bassmaster Elite event on Lake Dardanelle.