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Mar 22, 2014 - 06:11 AM
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Composed McClelland Rebounds To Make The First Cut In Palatka
Posted by: newsla on Mar 22, 2014 - 06:10 AM
Composed McClelland Rebounds To Make The First Cut In Palatka

Warm weather and big fish have been the storyline of this weekend's Bassmaster Elite Series event at St. Johns River in Palatka, and pro angler Mike McClelland has been one of the lucky ones to take advantage of both.


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The Cabela's/GEICO For Your Boat Elite angler built on a decent start in Friday's second day of action to move up to 26th place, comfortably making the first cut of the tournament. His Friday stringer of 18 pounds, 10 ounces lifted him to a two-day total of 32 pounds, 11 ounces, keeping him solidly in the mix.

"I know there are many fish out there that you can't visibly see, so you don't get to choose which ones you catch," McClelland said. "I'm basically just fishing blind, covering a lot of water, throwing a Zoom Speed Worm, and pitching a Zoom Critter Crawler around a little to see what I can catch.

"It's just one of those deals where you have to stay mentally focused and visualize where you think one is going to be bedding. From past experience here in Palatka when the water is cleaner, I've come to know just about the best areas they bed in. I'm just making sure to really slow down and fish thoroughly when I get to those spots."

Even though McClelland ended the first day of the tournament with a stringer of 14 pounds, 1 ounce, he wasn't worried heading into Friday and therefore didn't change his plan of attack.

"I really didn't switch anything up from Thursday," McClelland said. "I caught the fish today where I lost them on Thursday. I should have had 16 to 18 pounds Thursday but they just didn't hook up right. I was probably a little more focused and calmer today."

McClelland has a slightly different plan heading into the third day of fishing, one that will allow him to remain composed yet competitive. He will launch at 7:30 a.m. from Palatka's Riverfront Park and put his strategy into motion.

"I'm going to take advantage of the low tide Saturday morning," McClelland said. "I can catch them a lot better when the tide is really low because they are spawning so shallow.

"There is about a two-hour window where the tide gets low enough to really feel comfortable in catching them. I have a couple of little canals where the water is a little bit clearer that I may go look during that time. I'll see if I can find some bigger bed fish while I kill that two-hour window and then go back to what I've been doing."

Only the top 12 anglers will advance to Sunday's finale.

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