Skip to main content

McClelland a Classic Favorite – And He Likes It

2013 Bassmaster Classic Grand Lake O' the Cherokees - Tulsa, Okla., Feb 22 - 24, 2013

McClelland a Classic Favorite – And He Likes It

Permitted use provided by: MajorLeagueFishing.com

TULSA, Okla. - While a great deal of attention at this year’s Bassmaster Classic on Grand Lake has been focused on Oklahoma anglers Jason Christie, Edwin Evers and Tommy Biffle, an angler from a different state has made his way onto the radar: Major League Fishing pro Mike McClelland.

McClelland, from Bella Vista, Arkansas, lives a mere hour away from Grand Lake. Adding intrigue to McClelland’s growing status as “one of the favorites” is his love of jerk bait fishing.

“The people that have got the patience to throw that jerkbait are going to be favorites,” said Major League Fishing pro Edwin Evers.


That said, most anglers don’t want the pressure of being categorized as a favorite. Who needs the added attention? Who wants to deal with interviews?


But that’s conventional wisdom, and McClelland has never embraced convention. And he didn’t sneak his way onto the radar as a favorite. He came in practically screaming.

“Yes, it seems like lately I’ve been mentioned a lot as one of the strong contenders. That must mean I’m doing some things right. And really, I don’t mind the attention,” McClelland said.

In fact, McClelland believes that when the spotlight is shining in his direction, he’s a better angler. He points back to the first Major League Fishing tournament at Lake Amistad. Entering the event of his worst professional year, he fished his way to the finals.

“There’s something about having that kind of pressure, with cameras catching your every move,” he said. “I just fish better.”


McClelland reached back a few years to describe when he discovered that he likes pressure.

“As funny as this is to say, even in my previous occupation – I hung wallpaper – I liked the attention,” McClelland said.

“I was a damned good wallpaper hanger, and I used to have people stand around and actually watch me. It always seemed that I could perform. Really, job superintendents used to bring workers around to watch me hang vinyl. I was good at it, and I got better when the pressure was on. I always feel like when the attention is on, it actually raises my level of competition.”


McClelland said it doesn’t hurt that the Classic could be won on effective use of a jerk bait.

“The one thing about this is I’m going in with as much confidence as I’ve gone into any tournament. I’m going to get the opportunity to throw baits that I truly love to throw,” McClelland said.

“There is no secret; I’ll be throwing a jerkbait. The thing that comes into play for me is that I’ve got to concentrate on a pattern and not get hung up on spots. I’ve never fished this lake in late February. I will try to fish a pattern and go for new water every day. I might backtrack some, but I think the guy that’s going to do well here is the guy that’s willing to fish by the seat of his pants."

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Daiwa Tatula Swimbait Rods

Daiwa Tatula Swimbait Rods

No matter what your bass catching goal is, Daiwa's Tatula line of rods is perfect for every job according to MLF Bass Pro Tour veteran Cody Meyer. Here's why.

Tactacam Fish-I Action Camera

Tactacam Fish-I Action Camera

Tactacam founder Ben Stern highlights the features of the Fish-I action camera with In-Fisherman associate publisher Todd Ceisner as part of the ICAST New Fishing Gear Guide.

Strike King KVD J-100 Jerkbait & KVD 1.5 Hard Knock

Strike King KVD J-100 Jerkbait & KVD 1.5 Hard Knock

Strike King introduces two, new exciting baits to their already stellar lineup this 2020: the KVD J-100 Jerkbait, and the KVD 1.5 Hard Knock. KVD sits down with In-Fisherman Associate Publisher Todd Ceisner to explain how these two baits are going to help catch you more fish.

Strike King Ned Rage Craw

Strike King Ned Rage Craw

In-Fisherman's Todd Ceisner sits down with Mark Zona to discuss the new Ned Rage Craw to hear all about how this little finesse bait, is going to get you those extra couple bites when times get tough.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Sight Savvy: Different styles of bow sights each have their strengths—and weaknesses.How to Pick the Right Bow Sight for You Bows

How to Pick the Right Bow Sight for You

Tony Hansen - August 25, 2020

Sight Savvy: Different styles of bow sights each have their strengths—and weaknesses.

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix them.10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems Fishing How-To

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common spinning and baitcaster reel performance problems and how to fix...

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? You'll need a cartridge that lives up to the expectations demanded at ranges up to and beyond 500, 600 or even 1,000 yards. Try these different loads until you find the one that thumps steel at long ranges consistently.10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made Ammo

10 Best Long-Range Rifle Cartridges Ever Made

David Hart - January 14, 2015

Want to test the outer limits of your shooting skill? You'll need a cartridge that lives up to...

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers.3 Proven Bait Rigs for Stripers Striper & Hybrid

3 Proven Bait Rigs for Stripers

J.B. Kasper

The colder waters of early spring are prime times to use these proven bait rigs for stripers.

See More Trending Articles

More Stories

Various companies show appreciation to frontline defense – healthcare professionals – against the pandemic with special giveaway.Outdoors Industry Honoring Healthcare Heroes: COVID-19 News

Outdoors Industry Honoring Healthcare Heroes: COVID-19

April 27, 2020

Various companies show appreciation to frontline defense – healthcare professionals – against...

Major League Fishing (MLF), a made-for-television bass fishing competition featuring the country's top professional anglers, celebrates its 5-year anniversary this summer with news it has become the No. 1 fishing show in the nation.Major League Fishing Celebrates 5-Year Anniversary with Top Rating Stories

Major League Fishing Celebrates 5-Year Anniversary with Top Rating

MLF Communications

Major League Fishing (MLF), a made-for-television bass fishing competition featuring the...

All sides must have something to offer to make it work.Fishing Buddies: It Has to Be Give-and-Take Stories

Fishing Buddies: It Has to Be Give-and-Take

Jeff Johnston - June 18, 2020

All sides must have something to offer to make it work.

Editor's Note: Our popular Camera Corner features reader photos and stories from successfulPamela's Story: A Memorable Fly Fishing Encounter Stories

Pamela's Story: A Memorable Fly Fishing Encounter

April 28, 2017

Editor's Note: Our popular Camera Corner features reader photos and stories from successful

See More Stories

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Game & Fish App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Game & Fish subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now