Longtime Toyota Bonus Bucks participant and frequent Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees angler Mike McClelland, along with 2-time Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Gerald Swindle, graciously took time to talk about everything from spawning bass to “Taco Tuesday” on the eve of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite at Grand Lake, Oklahoma.
Q: What percentage of the bass weighed-in this week will be caught from a visible spawning bed?
Swindle: I’ll say 2%
McClelland: I’ll go as high as 5%
(Note: Both anglers agreed that while there are plenty of bass spawning this week, being able to actually see their beds in Grand Lake’s dingy water is very difficult.)
Q: What do you like most about Grand Lake, Oklahoma?
Swindle: I like the fact that Grand Lake spreads people out. It’s a lake that keeps you really busy because there’s so much to cast at. You’re constantly thinking about whether you should be fishing docks, rocky points, riprap, brush piles, laydowns, you name it, this place keeps you busy.
McClelland: Grand has so many different forms of fish holding habitat that you can usually fish the way you prefer to here.
Q: What’s challenging you most after three days of practice?
Swindle: Trying to understand how the water levels are affecting the exact position and movement of these fish.
McClelland: Believe it or not, as much as I’ve fished here, I’ve never fished here when most of the bass were just about to make a major push to spawn. So the conditions I’m facing this week are all pretty new to me.
Q: How much weight do you think an angler will have to average each day in order to make the Top 12 cut on the final day?
Swindle: 17 ¾ pounds per day
McClelland: Man, I’m the wrong guy to ask, but I’ll guess 16 pounds per day.
Q: Both of you live life on tour in a 5th wheel RV — what’s the best meal you’ve shared with your wife in the RV this week?
Swindle: Chicken tacos
McClelland: Taco Tuesday. We have tacos every Tuesday out here on tour.