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TackleTour Tournament Interview

TackleTour Tournament Interview : Mike McClelland (continued)


Day Three: They've found the fish, and have picked through the schools to fill their limits. The water has been pounded and the fish are feeling pressured. What in the world are the pros going to do on Day Three of our tourney? It's time to turn to the "F" word. Downsizing baits and line, switching to light powered rods, slowing down that presentation, you know what all of that means. It's time to declare, "What the Finesse?!?!" Day three of our tourney is all about finesse.

McClelland and Falcon are working on a new Cara ST signature series flipping rod.

Mike McClelland : I'm not that guy that's going to reach and dive for a spinning rod immediately. That's one thing I don't fall into very often. There are certain events where a spinning rod with a finesse worm or drop shot does work it's way into the deal, but I like to go a different route. I try to go finesse, but still with casting tackle. I still want to cover water, and when we're talking about tougher conditions, sometimes, it just takes a smaller approach. Jerkbaits, in my opinion, a lot of times I've seen situations where when fish get heavily pressured, they move off the bank a little and suspend. A jerkbait can catch those fish.


What the Finesse? McClelland turns to the McStick 95!


I'm looking at the Spro 95 McStick. It's a little two hook, 95 millimeter bait. It's a bite sized morsel that gives you the opportunity to cover water. Another thing I'll do is throw a Spro 110 and 115 McStick and stop and suspend it over cover. I'm throwing these baits on my Signature Cara ST six foot eight inch (6'-8") medium powered rod with a fast tip (MMC-5F168). I have a great ability to be accurate with my casts, and hit nice long casts. If the water's cold and the fish are lethargic, I'm going to throw this on a 5.4:1 gear ratio reel and if the water is warmer, I'll move up to a 6.4:1, but I'm typically throwing this slow. For line, I'm using the Sunline FC Reaction. It's not as dense and doesn't sink as fast other fluorocarbons, but still gives you the sensitivity you need because it is a fluorocarbon.


When most anglers are turning to their spinning gear, McClelland downsizes his rip bait and slows down often suspending his bait over structure to tantalize bass into striking.


Another finesse technique I use is to fish a small, ball head jig. Generally a five sixteenths (5/16ths) to half ounce (1/2oz), hand tied, ball head jig from Bass X. They're available with living rubber or silicone skirts and I fish it really slow and methodically with fourteen to eighteen pound (14# - 18#) Sunline Structure. I throw this on a 7'-2" Cara ST with a 6.3:1 gear ratio reel. I will put a trailer on here but something small like a Zoom Super Chunk Jr. or a small Zoom Speed Craw. I want to make sure to keep this a bite sized morsel for those days the fish are feeling really pressured.


His last resort before turning to spinning gear is a ball head jig by BassX.

Day Four: It's the last day of the tourney and we're culling our field of pros to the top ten anglers. The lucky ones get to continue our wacky tourney and if they're not ready to protest our format yet, they just might after they learn what we're limiting them to now on day four. The number one question we continue to receive here on TackleTour is if you could just have one... You know the rest. Yes, that's right, we're enlisting the pros in our Search For One campaign and limiting them on the last day of the tourney to one rod, and one reel. What will their combo be? Let's find out.

McClelland's new Falcon Cara ST rods will now have mid-size guides instead of micros.


When all is said and done, if McClelland can only have one rod, he's going back to his Falcon Cara T7 Mike McClelland Heavy Cover - a heavy powered stick with a really soft tip that can be used for most any technique.

Mike McClelland : If I had one rod, and one reel, and had to choose a line to throw through the course of a tournament, the rod would be the very original Mike McClelland Cara T7 Heavy Cover Jig Rod, but it's more than a jig rod. It has a lot of backbone but a good, soft tip. I can throw everything from spinnerbaits, to buzzbaits, jigs, Carolina rigs, the things you can do with this rod are endless. The reel I'd match it up with is the 6.3:1 Cabela's Prodigy. I can crank, flip, and do just about anything I want with this reel. As far as line, I'd definitely have to go with Sunline Shooter at sixteen pound test. This line gives me the ability to fish clear water, dirty water, you just have to be careful if hooking something in really heavy cover is all.

TackleTour would like to thank Mike McClelland for giving us a little insight into his tackle selections in what would be a very different, tackle-centric tournament.










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