Word-for-word with Mike McClelland

Part 2 of 4

"The first day of the tournament, I went back to my favorite spot and caught a 4 1/2-pounder, but they weren't there like they had been the day before. When you start off with that kind of fish though, it really lights a fire under you. It makes you feel like you can really get something done. I caught two more keepers in this place and really probably stayed there longer than I should have. I fished there until almost nine o'clock and I was thinking I had way too many places to fish to be sitting there.

"I went ahead and packed up and fished through three more points. I was a little frustrated and was probably fishing a little too fast. So I went over where I had the good bites in practice and fished that thing slow like I knew I needed to. I pull up and I am just dragging as slow as I can, and then the first bite is another 4-pounder. I put it in the boat and that got my spirits lifted again.

"I sit down, re-tie and re-rig, make two more casts and catch another 4-pounder on the same point. At that time, I figured I probably had around 14 pounds. From there I just started running down the lake, hitting as many of the places I could, working thoroughly, and then the storm came in.

"I got in an area where I had accidentally caught a 7 1/2-pounder in practice. It was just one of those 'oops' deals. The wind was blowing so I figured it was a good time to really bear down and fish the area. I caught a 3-pounder on the 1/2-ounce Jewel Finesse jig and I culled a little one out with it. The first four came on a full-size Zoom Brush Hog and the other two came on the 1/2-ounce Jewel Heavy Cover finesse jig. I had some more places to go so I took off from there.

"I went to a point I had found the last day of practice down on the main lake. It was a place I had fished in the past and checked it in practice and had gotten some good bites. I pulled up there and the wind was blowing too hard to fish it correctly with a jig or Carolina-rig. So I picked up the DD-22 and circled it with it and I caught another 4 1/2 or 5-pounder. I'm really smoking at this point; I'm feeling really good. I figure I've got about 17 or 18 pounds.

"So I run down to Duck Creek where I spent Memorial Day and really expected to catch them. I fished through three of the best places I had in there without a bite. White bass were on them, every time you threw they were hitting your sinker or jig. Nothing was feeling right, but I spent two hours in there and never had a bite.

"So I thought I would go back to the area where I caught the five-pounder with the DD-22 because the wind had laid down a little bit and the sun had come out. I pulled in there and Brian Snowden was sitting on one of the two points. There are actually two points with about 50 yards in between them and I couldn't tell which one he was sitting on. Brian and I had fished this lake together a lot, so I went by him and asked him if he cared if I fished the other point. He said that he had already fished it and went to the next.

"I started down the point with the DD-22 and it just didn't feel right. So I picked up my Jewel Heavy Cover Finesse jig and came over one of the brush piles on my graph. I backed the boat out and lined up on it and caught the biggest fish I had the first day, which was 5 pounds, 13 ounces. That pushed me up to the 20-plus mark that I had the first day."