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Apr 07, 2014 - 06:28 AM
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McClelland Hauls In Bassmaster Elite Series Victory On Table Rock Lake
Posted by: newsla on Apr 07, 2014 - 06:27 AM
Tidbits
McClelland Hauls In Bassmaster Elite Series Victory On Table Rock Lake


The only time Cabela's/GEICO For Your Boat angler Mike McClelland got nervous during this week's Bassmaster Elite Series event was moments before the final weigh-in on Sunday.

 

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McClelland had a solid lead coming into the final day on Table Rock Lake, but the veteran angler wasn't sure he had done enough to hold on for the victory. However, moments later his Sunday haul was weighed at 12 pounds, 2 ounces, and he jumped for joy knowing he had bagged enough to win it all.

"I really don't know how to feel right now," McClelland said after coming off the dais for his weigh-in. "It's an incredible feeling to win a tournament, especially here."

McClelland lives about 80 miles from Table Rock Lake in Bella Vista, Ark., and has fished those waters numerous times in his life. That local knowledge helped him throughout the week, as he had a four-day total of 61 pounds, 15 ounces. He edged runner-up Mark Davis by 13 ounces for his fourth career Elite Series victory and his first since 2008.

"I seem to go in these spurts where I win a few and then I go a few years without winning one," McClelland said. "It really starts to get under your skin, and to come here to Table Rock and win in front of all my friends and family is a phenomenal feeling.

"It really hasn't sunk in yet. I just now realized I've got a berth into the 2015 Bassmaster Classic. It's an awesome feeling to know I've moved up in Angler of the Year standings, and I can swing for the fences the rest of the year and try to get that coveted title."

The victory, the seventh Bassmaster title of his career, moving him into a ninth-place tie with four other anglers on the all-time list, also earned McClelland $100,000 and unofficially moved him to 11th place in the Angler of the Year standings.

"You work so hard at this for so many years, and I've been without a win since 2008," McClelland said. "To finally get another Elite Series win is just a phenomenal experience. It is a huge milestone.

"The opportunity is still there for me to achieve what I want to achieve in this sport, and that's to win the Classic and try to win an Angler of the Year."

McClelland endured some trying moments at the event, and one of the most difficult came as he headed back to the dock Sunday. A blade on his propeller, perhaps damaged as he banged into some rocks a time or two while trying to get bait loose, suddenly came off. But McClelland nursed his boat to the dock in time to make the cutoff.

"I ran nine miles on two blades," McClelland said. "I didn't shut down until I hit the launch ramp, I know that."

Still, McClelland's victory wasn't certain until the weigh-in. He had caught more than 15 pounds in each of the first three days, increasing his weight each time, but Sunday was a struggle.

"I didn't feel like I had done what I needed to do," McClelland said. "I fished as hard as I could fish, and I caught more fish today than I've caught all week, but the quality wasn't there.

"Like I've said continuously, if it's meant to be, it's meant to be, and I truly believe that."


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