Word-for-word with Mike McClelland


Part 3 of 4

"The second day I went through the same routine. I started at Tera Miranda and caught three keepers but didn't get a good fish. I hit a couple of more spots and then decided to go to the spot where I caught the two 4-pounders. Well, I caught two more the very same way.

"I ran on down the lake and pulled up on that point and the very first cast I caught a 5-pounder. I thought, 'Man things are happening.' I put that one in the boat and mill around there for a little bit. I find my brush piles again and start making a drag off the point, and I catch another good one. I thought there was no sense in going to Duck Creek today because I didn't catch them in there the day before.

"I ended up going back up lake and got back up here with an hour and a half to go in the day. So I thought I would ride around a little bit and there is an old rock bridge straight across the lake from here that I've caught them on in the past. We pulled up there and my partner and I broke off every jig and every Carolina-rig we had tied on in about ten minutes. I had only about ten minutes now. I reached down and picked up my DD-22 and made three casts. That big one absolutely crushed it.

"When I bowed up on it, (from) the first moves it made, I thought it had to be a drum or a catfish. All of the sudden it turned and came up and tried to jump, but I think she saw the boat and instead of jumping she went back down. That was the best thing that could've happened. I started yelling at my partner, 'I need help, I need help,' and he turned around and came running up there. She came up again and he was in shock, it was a giant.

"He reached down there and grabbed her, and it happened so quickly that I didn't have time to really get excited. Normally when you hook a big one, it's way out there, your shaking all the way, and I didn't really have the chance to get excited. I culled and came into check-in 10 minutes early because I didn't want to mess that up."

(Editor's Note: The fish that McClelland caught with 10 minutes left in the day was enough to be the Purolator Big Bass of the day and tipped the scales at 7 pounds, 7 ounces. While he pulled in the Busch Heavyweight bag of 25 pounds, 3 ounces, the rest of the field's fishing had slipped a lot, and McClelland had pushed a 12 -pound, 1-ounce lead over the second place.)