McClelland Surges to Eighth-place Finish at GEICO Bassmaster Classic

GREENVILLE, S.C. (Feb. 22) — Cabela’s/GEICO For Your Boat angler Mike McClelland turned in a terrific performance on the final day of the GEICO Bassmaster Classic on Sunday to snare a top-10 finish at bass fishing’s premier event.

HdhqTnA7qrHTfTlIynbt0j-1NXezK7p5eQNXZkZYKubES9EjKTNSXW8VgjOtose6yvQjr93jwF740mFdSkJbzybWJmTL2CM4sOduK7--HGQzJ6JYFGuV-r5X2-X0VCMvCroO5g=s0-d-e1-ftMcClelland brought in five fish weighing 16 pounds, 1 ounce — the fourth-best bag on the final day — to finish eighth among the 56 pro anglers who competed in the Classic.

“Finishing in the top 10 of a Bassmaster Classic is frustrating, but it is much better to finish eighth than it is 40th or 50th,” McClelland said. “I feel good about what I’ve done. This is my third top 10 in a Classic, and it gives me a lot of momentum looking ahead to next year. Any time you finish the Classic with a strong finish, it flows into the next season.”

McClelland improved his bag each day of the Classic and finished with a total of 41 pounds, 7 ounces. He was less than 3 pounds out of third place, a tantalizing number given he weighed less than a limit during Saturday’s time on Lake Hartwell.

“Yesterday, I was a little disappointed,” McClelland said. “I only weighed four yesterday, and any time you don’t weigh five, you’re frustrated with yourself, especially when you lose fish. I lost three fish yesterday that were all over three pounds and that bit me. It cost me $15,000, $20,000. It didn’t cost me a win, but it cost me some money.”

McClelland started the Classic with 12 pounds, 2 ounces on Friday, a day that began in sub-freezing temperatures, but McClelland battled to a solid bag. As the weather got warmer over the weekend, so did McClelland.

“It’s been a crazy week with the weather and the things we’ve had to put up with,” McClelland said. “But I feel really good about the way the week’s gone.

“Getting through an event like this, there are a lot of things that have to work in your favor. You’ve got to have the correct equipment, and I’m fortunate that Cabela’s does a phenomenal job with cold-weather gear.

“Your equipment’s got to function right, and everybody that I represent does a great job of making products that allow me to do my job in an efficient way.”

McClelland came into the 2015 Classic confident he could contend for the victory, especially after working Lake Hartwell two months ago, but he continued to learn lessons throughout the weekend.

“It definitely means a lot, especially after the start that I had,” McClelland said. “I really felt like, based on the pre-practice I had back in December and spending the time that I did trying to figure the lake out, that I had everything going in my favor to possibly win this 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic.

“Probably the biggest thing I realize now is that I didn’t cover enough water. The winner, Casey Ashley — a hometown, local guy — he knows how to fish this lake. Any time you go to a lake that has blueback herring in it, you’ve got to cover water to be successful. Bass act differently in these lakes that have blueback. I promise you Casey fished 20 or 30 more spots a day than I even attempted to fish.”

McClelland could get a similar chance to fish the Classic in the next couple of years on one of his home lakes, Grand Lake in Oklahoma near his hometown of Belle Vista, Ark.

“There’s a rumor the Classic the next year or the year after could be back in my neck of the woods,” McClelland said. “I want to get out there and perform the best I can and make everybody proud.”



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