Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 04/23/2018

Story by Matt Pangrac - FLW photo courtesy of FLW Communications

Moore, OK - Mike McClelland's first major tournament win, a Central ProAm Championship, came in 1992 on Table Rock Lake.  Since then, McClelland’s name has been linked to the Ozark fishery located in Missouri.  

In 2000, he finished 2nd on Table Rock in the Bassmaster Missouri Central Invitational.  He won the 2014 Elite Series stop on Table Rock, and also won the Bassmaster Central Open on Table Rock in 2017.  

This past weekend, McClelland finished in 2nd place at the FLW Costa Series tournament on Table Rock with a three-day total weight of 39-4.  

McClelland grew up fishing the lake.  “I lived there until I was in 8th grade, and it’s where I always went and spent spring break,” he explained.  “I’ve always had family that has lived on the lake, and we are actually building a house on the lake that we are planning on moving into sometimes this year.”  

With some much time on a diverse fishery, here are five lessons that Mike McClelland has learned from Table Rock Lake have translated to other fisheries throughout his career:   

1.  You have to fish the conditions of the day.
“Very rarely do I ever fish Table Rock and fish any specific spot based upon what I did there in practice.  I fish those spots according to the conditions of the day.   When I practice on Table Rock, I’m trying to establish a pattern based on wind, sun, shade angles, types of banks, etc.  I’m not trying to find specific spots to fish.  

If it’s going to be a cloudy, nasty day, I’m generally going to fish the clearest section of the lake that I think they’re biting in.   On the calm, sunny days, I’ll fish the dingier or more colored sections of the lake.

2.  You have to run a lot of water to establish the section of the lake where they’re biting the best.  
“Table Rock isn’t one of those lakes that you can just go pick one section of the lake and make them bite.  You really have to look at the whole lake and try to break it down into what section they’re biting better in.  

3.  You have to understand what species of fish you’re trying to target.
“There is definitely a way to specifically fish for three different species of bass.  You can also learn how to target areas where all three species are likely to mix and mingle in.  That’s a really critical factor to understand.   

4.  You have to understand how bass relate to different types of structure.
Table Rock is a really diverse fishery when it comes to the different types of structure in the lake.  You have rivers, big creeks, gravel flats, timber, docks, etc.  The one thing that Table Rock never taught me about was grass because there’s none on the lake.    

Learning how to fish different things like sand, clay, pea gravel, chunk rock, sheer ledge rock, and even multiple colors or rock has really taught me what I need to be doing when I go to other lakes in particular times of the year.  

5.  You have to understand the importance of generation and wind.  
Early on in my fishing career, I never monitored the generation schedule on Table Rock, but I would always wonder why one day I would catch them on one side of a point and the next day they’d be on the other side of the point or why sometimes they’d be suspended and then sometimes they’d be on the bottom.  

As I started to understand generation, wind, and flow, it all started to make sense and I realized that the fish would be positioned based on the current that was being generated.