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May 01, 2014 - 06:41 AM
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McClelland Feeling Relaxed Heading Into Evan Williams Bourbon Tournament
Posted by: newsla on May 01, 2014 - 06:40 AM
McClelland Feeling Relaxed Heading Into Evan Williams Bourbon Tournament

It has been a range of emotions for pro angler Mike McClelland at the past two fishing tournaments, but his nerves are still at ease for this weekend's Evan Williams Bourbon Bassmaster Elite Series event on the Toledo Bend Reservoir in Many.


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"I'm really looking forward to this event," McClelland said. "Toledo Bend has been tough on me the past two times we've been here and I haven't fared well at all. It's a lot nicer coming here knowing that I have already made the Bassmaster Classic. Now I can fish a lot more relaxed and take a few more chances than I normally would.

"I'm not going to go out and 100 percent swing for the fences, but once I catch five fish, I'm not going to nickel and dime my way through culling either. Instead, I'm going to do things that historically catch big fish on Toledo Bend. That's the beauty of this: If you get one of those big bites you gain a lot of ground, where if you try to keep fishing conservatively you'll only gain ounces at a time."

The Cabela's/GEICO For Your Boat Elite angler knows that even while the pressure of qualifying for the Bassmaster Classic may be gone, Toledo Bend will have its own set of obstacles to overcome.

"The simple fact is that fishing isn't outstanding right now, but there's a lot of different things going on," McClelland said. "We're in that time of the year when the fish are kind of transitioning through all different types of phases. There's fish still spawning, fish that spawned a month ago, there's fish shallow, fish in the mid-range, and there's fish deep. This means you can fish really about any way you want to. I don't know that we will see a lot of huge weights overall, but I definitely think there is going to be a fair number of fish caught for sure."

When the Elite anglers launch at 6:20 a.m. CT from Toledo Bend Reservoir, McClelland will hope to overcome his previous issues and the elements to bring in a large bag when the weigh-in starts at 3:15.

"This wide-open lake is prone to a lot of wind," McClelland said. "One thing that it does do though is it limits where people can go during the course of practice. There's going to be areas of the lake that really haven't received a lot of pressure. Also, I don't think the fish have been pressured nearly as much as they might have been if the weather were nice and the wind hadn't been blowing. It should be pretty interesting to pay attention to as the weekend unfolds.

"It's a huge lake full of fish, and there is going to be some good weights caught. David (Walker) had a tremendous tournament here one of the last times we came, and hopefully we can both represent the Cabela's/GEICO For Your Boat team well."

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