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TackleTour Tournament Interview

TackleTour Tournament Interview : Mike McClelland


Date: 1/26/15
Interview: Mike McClelland
Interviewer: Cal
Location of Interview: Lake Eufaula, GA

The Premise:
TackleTour is going to hold a bass fishing tournament, but in keeping with our tradition, the gear is going to play an active roll in how the tourney is structured. In the past, we've been known concentrate our review seasons around specific techniques or types of baits. We're going to run our tournament in the same manner. Four days, four different themes, and our interest is to see how the pros go about selecting the gear they'll need to fish this tournament.




Mike McClelland in the TackleTour Hot Seat.


Hot Seat: In our continuing series of interviews, we're sitting down with different pros and going through their tackle selections for each day of our tourney, one at a time. Today, we sit down with Bassmaster Elite Series Angler Mike McClelland. Mike McClelland's sponsors include Stratos, Geico, Mercury, Mustang, Falcon, Spro, Gamakatsu, Zoom, Sunline, Amphibia, War Eagle, Toyota of Fayetteville, Motorguide, Pro Locker, Odyssey, Lowrance, Hydrowave, and BassX.


Time to talk about cranking.


Day One: We're going to give the pros a technique they can use to search out active fish. You know what that means? Yup, it's time to tie one on, toss it out, and crank it up! Cranking is the name of the game on Day One and we want to know what a pro looks for in a good cranking rod, cranking reel, and their preference in cranking line.


Spro's new RkCrawler 55, due out in January 2015 is one McClelland is very excited about.


Mike McClelland : When it comes to finding fish, and finding a pattern with a crankbait, so much of it depends on conditions of the water (temperature, color, etc.), you have to explore depths and cover water so I'm going to start in that eight to twelve foot zone (8-12). I'm going to start with the Spro Baby DD. I'm going to throw this on ten to twelve (10-12#) pound Sunline Reaction with the Falcon 7'-3" Deep Runner graphite cranking stick and anywhere from 5.4:1 - 6.3:1 Cabela's Prodigy or Verano. I want to feel my bait and I don't get a good feel out of a composite or fiberglass rod. That reasoning goes into my choice for fluorocarbon too. The Sunline Reaction fluorocarbon has some stretch like mono, but it's way more sensitive because it's actually fluorocarbon.


If the fish to move up shallower, I really like the Fat John 60. It's a bait I've been working into my arsenal the last three or four years. It hunts well and fishes in gravel, rocks, a bunch of different situations within a two to four foot range. I'm using fourteen to twenty pound Sunline Reaction with a 6.3:1 gear ratio reel with the same 7'-3" Falcon Deep Runner cranking stick.


For the shallow fish, McClelland likes to crank them up on the Fat John 60.


Day Two: Now that the pros know where the fish are, day two is going to be about working through those concentrated schools of fish on their way to a big limit. That's right, it's time to get a little wacky as we allow the pros to punch, drag, dissect, create and fish from top to bottom with craws, lizards, frogs, toads, spider jigs, swimbaits and any variety of other creatures on their way to a hefty limit because day two is all about the fever - Creature Fever. How do the pros approach fishing soft plastics?


When it's time to catch Creature Fever, McClelland relies on the proven Zoom Brush Hog.


Mike McClelland : My number one go to choice with soft plastics is a football jig with a creature style bait as a trailer. I throw a half ounce to five eighths ounce BassX football jig with a Zoom Brush Hog as the trailer or sometimes the Zoom Super Speed Craw.


I'm throwing that football head jig on my signature series Falcon Cara ST 6'-10", medium heavy powered rod matched with a Cabela's Verano reel in 6.3:1 - 7.1:1. I'll spool those reels with Sunline FC Structure fluorocarbon. This is a technique specific fluorocarbon for ultimate abrasion resistance, no stretch, and super sensitivity.


But he's not afraid to change it up either and use the Super Speed Craw.


If the fish are deeper into cover, I'll pull out my flipping rig using a three quarter to one ounce tungsten weight, with a punch skirt, 3/0 to 5/0 sized Gamakatsu straight shank flipping hook tied with a snell knot (always use a snell not with flipping). I'll use a variety of baits from a Zoom Speed Craw, Z-Hog, Super Speed Craw, it really depends on how much action I think I need with the bait. For line I'm using braid. If there's a situation where I feel I need fluorocarbon, I'll use a double uni-knot to tie on a two foot leader of Sunline Shooter.


For flipping and pitching, I have a new signature series rod with Falcon - the Cara ST 7'-6" rod that I use. It has mid-sized guides not the micros but not as large as traditional. This is a heavy powered rod and I pair it with a 6.3:1 - 7.1:1 reel. I'm not too picky with the retrieve when flipping, but it's definitely a higher gear ratio reel. I don't like flipping with slow speed reels but I do like to power my fish out of cover with my reel.


When Flipping, make sure you snell that flipping hook!

Next Section: Day 3, Time to Bust out the Finesse









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