GREENVILLE, S.C. (Jan. 14) — With the esteemed 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic at Lake Hartwell drawing ever closer, pro angler Mike McClelland is anxious for his chance to make history.
“When you talk about the Bassmaster Classic,” McClelland said, “especially with GEICO becoming the title sponsor last year, the urgency for me to finally win one of these makes it that much greater. This is probably the ultimate goal every angler puts on his list at the beginning of the year. Angler of the Year is important, but winning the Classic is the most prestigious title you can win in this occupation.
“The Classic is one of those few goals that has eluded me in my career. Other than winning Angler of the Year, I feel like I’ve accomplished a lot in my career from when I originally set out to do this for a living.”
Determined to add the Bassmaster Classic to his list of career accolades, the Cabela’s/GEICO For Your Boat Stratos Elite angler has used the short off-season to take every precaution possible to make it a reality.
“Typically, once the tournament season ends I start getting on the treadmill, working out, and keeping myself in decent shape,” McClelland said. “A lot of people don’t look at tournament fishers as true athletes, but it takes a special person to stand on the deck of a boat for eight hours a day during a tournament.
“Aside from physical preparation, I’ll do some on-water work too; however, the weather has been too cold lately. As soon as the weather starts breaking though, I’ll spend as much time on the water as I can to stay sharp.”
Adding to his physical training, McClelland has been mentally planning for his Feb. 20-22 trip to South Carolina.
“I really feel like I’ve done my homework for this year’s Classic,” McClelland said. “The Classic was at Lake Hartwell in 2008. Fortunately I participated in that one, so I have a little bit of history on that lake already. Also, I spent five days before the off-season in December on Lake Hartwell. Since then, I’ve been studying topographical maps of the lake and preparing as much as I can without being on the water.
“When you have a lake that is off limits for two months, you have to do everything you can to keep your mind fresh as to what the lake has to offer. That way when you do get there, you’re not fumbling around with what the next step is going to be.”
Cabela’s/GEICO For Your Boat Elite angler Mike McClelland is anxious for his chance to make history at the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic Feb. 20-22 at Lake Hartwell.