DRAGONFLY - RAYMARINE

McCLELLAND TAKES THE LEAD ON TABLE ROCK

Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 04/05/2014

Story by Matt Pangrac - Photos by Dave Rush

Branson, MO – Over the first two days of competition on Table Rock, Ozark expert Mike McClelland did just enough to stay within striking distance of the leaders.  He opened the tournament in 12th place with 15-6 and moved up to 4th place on Friday with another limit weighing 16-14.   

On Saturday, McClelland made his move, bringing a limit weighing 17-9 to the scales to take a substantial lead heading into championship Sunday.  With a total weight of 49-13, McClelland leads his closest competitor by 3 pounds, 15 ounces and is looking to bring a fourth Elite Series trophy back to Bella Vista, Arkansas.  

Aaron Martens remained in 2nd place on Saturday after weighing-in a 12-14 limit to finish with a total weight of 45-14.  While McClelland’s weights have climbed each day, Martens has brought in lighter bags each of the last two days.   

Saturday’s big mover was Kevin VanDam, who reacquainted himself with the top of the leader board after hoisting a five bass limit on the scales weighing 19-7 that was anchored by a 7-8 brute.  With a total weight of 45-7, VanDam will enter the final day in 3rd place.   It will be the first time that VanDam has made a Top 12 cut in Elite Series competition since March of 2012 when he finished in 8th place on Lake Okeechobee.   

The top three anglers in the standings after Saturday’s weigh-in are no strangers to the winner’s circle, as they have combined for a total of 12 Elite Series victories since 2006.

After grabbing the lead on Friday, Mark Davis slipped to 4th place on Saturday with a limit weighing 11-12.  Davis, who has stressed the importance of landing a big bite each day, was unable to connect with the quality that delivered him to the top of the standings on Friday.  

Jeff Kriet finished in 5th place with a total weight of 44-11.  With limits weighing 14-10, 14-4, and 15-13, the Oklahoman has quietly put himself in position for a final day charge on Table Rock.   

California’s Jared Lintner was the last angler inside Sunday’s Top 12 cut with a total weight of 41-7.  Chris Lane, who was in 2nd place going into Friday, managed just four fish weighing 7-6 on Saturday to finish the tournament in 17th place. 

Tournament: Bassmaster Elite Series (Stop #3)
Location: Table Rock Lake – Branson, Missouri
Day Three Leader: Mike McClelland (49-13)
12th Place: Jared Lintner (41-7)
Total weight separating 1st from 12th: 8-6

1st Place: Mike McClelland (15-6, 16-14, 17-9: 49-13)
McClelland on finally connecting with a kicker largemouth on Saturday:
“I finally caught a big one today, and that was the real key.  When you have a 5-13 on a day like today, it’s a huge bonus.  I was just blessed, and there’s really nothing else I can say about that other than I put myself in the best areas to give myself a shot to catch a big largemouth.  

“There are a lot of places on this lake where you can fish and you aren’t going to catch anything but spotted bass and smallmouth bass. Through the years of fishing this lake, I’ve finally figured out where the largemouth want to live, so that’s where I’ve concentrated on fishing.”

McClelland on fishing new water this week:
“I’ve fished so much new stuff this week that it’s unbelievable.  Every time I come to Table Rock, I try to look at the lake like it’s a new fishery to me.  Granted, I’ve fished a lot of areas on this lake, but every time I come up here, I find something new that I wasn’t familiar with before like a ledge or twist in the bank.  Unless you’ve seen this lake when the water is really low, there’s so much stuff off the bank that you’d never know was there.   My Navionics is a great tool, but when you get up shallow enough, you have to physically fish it and use your sonar to really know what’s there.”

McClelland on what it will take on Sunday to win the tournament:
“The biggest key will be continuing to fish clean.  I haven’t lost anything this week that I feel like has cost me a lot of weight.  I lost one fish on the first day that probably cost me about a half-pound.  Beyond that, there’s nothing else that I regret.  I just have to continue to put everything in the boat that bites.”

McClelland on the possibility of a giant limit on Sunday:
“A 4-pound lead really isn’t that significant if the right conditions happen – and it is looking like the conditions are getting right.  This lake is capable of producing limits in the mid 20’s.  The guys who are in 8th place through 12th place tomorrow are probably going to swing for the fence and pull out some baits that they haven’t been throwing all week.  If that intrigues some big ones, there’s a real possibility to blow this thing out of the water.”

2nd Place: Aaron Martens (18-11, 14-5, 12-14: 45-14)
Martens on Saturday on Table Rock:
“I ended up culling quite a bit today, but the fish were all about the same size between 2 ½- and 2 ¾-pounds.  I just never got a big bite.  I fished quite a bit of new stuff today, but I went back to where I caught the 8-pounder (on Thursday).  It’s a beautiful cut, but I never caught one at all.  I only went to two spots where I’ve fished this week, and I probably went to 20 new spots just fishing. I had three largemouth and two smallmouth today.”  

“It’s changing right now and it’s getting better and better.  It’s getting pressured and beat up, but I saw 54 degree water today, which I haven’t seen in the clear water.”

Martens on targeting largemouth:
“I have some spots where there are quite a few 3-pound smallmouth if you can catch them.  I might do that, but I’m definitely going to go for largemouth tomorrow.  I fished (for largemouth) a lot today and caught six or eight keepers but I just didn’t catch any big ones.”   

Martens on the conditions and timing:
“The morning bite has been better all week because there has been shade on the water and the fish are feeding.  I’ve still caught fish in the afternoon, but it seems like the morning is a lot better.  I’d like for it to slick off and be bluebird tomorrow because the wind really helps everybody.”

3rd Place: Kevin VanDam (14-0, 12-0, 19-7: 45-7)
VanDam on catching a 7-8 largemouth on Saturday:
“I've been waiting quite some time for a fish like that. It has actually been a few years since I made a Top 12 cut. I was very fortunate to get that bite because I definitely needed it today to have a chance to fish on Sunday.  Hopefully I can get some like that tomorrow.  The chance is always there to have a really big day on a lake like this."

VanDam on the consistency of his bite:
“This is a lake that I know really well, and I was very disappointed in how I did the first two days.  McClelland has been able to be consistent for the first three days, which I haven't been able to do.  The lake is just set up right for my style and his style, and you can easily catch 25-pounds if everything lines up.  The consistency has been hard for me, but today the timing all lined up."

VanDam on the most critical element at making a run for the win:
“Without a doubt it is going to be getting a big bite like I did today.  You get one bite like that and you will be in the hunt.  The early bite has been good, but I haven’t been able to capitalize on the bigger bite then. It seems like the afternoon has been the time during the week that has been better for the big largemouth.  I would say I am going to have 18-pounds or more to make a run at this thing, even if McClelland just has an average day."

VanDam on how critical the wind has been for him:
“Wind is critical on this lake. Just having a ripple makes a huge difference.  Yesterday was the type of day you dream of on Table Rock Lake.  I have fished here a lot, and those fish bite when you have those 25 mph winds like we did yesterday.  Even just a 10 mph wind goes a long way on this lake."

DAY THREE STANDINGS

PlaceNameDay 1Day 2Day 3Total FishTotal Weight
FishWeightFishWeightFishWeight
1 Mike McClelland 5 15- 6 5 16-14 5 17- 9 15 49-13
2 Aaron Martens 5 18-11 5 14- 5 5 12-14 15 45-14
3 Kevin VanDam 5 14- 0 5 12- 0 5 19- 7 15 45- 7
4 Mark Davis 5 18- 8 5 15- 3 5 11-12 15 45- 7
5 Jeff Kriet 5 14-10 5 14- 4 5 15-13 15 44-11
6 Greg Hackney 5 16- 0 5 14-10 5 13-14 15 44- 8
7 Bill Lowen 5 11- 6 5 14- 2 5 18-13 15 44- 5
8 Edwin Evers 5 17- 4 5 13- 9 5 13- 1 15 43-14
9 Brandon Palaniuk 5 16-13 5 13-10 5 12-10 15 43- 1
10 Kevin Hawk 5 10- 6 5 16- 3 5 15-11 15 42- 4
11 Cliff Prince 5 9- 6 5 19-10 5 12-15 15 41-15
12 Jared Lintner 5 12- 6 5 17-15 5 11- 2 15 41- 7
13 Skeet Reese 5 16- 0 5 12-14 5 11-15 15 40-13
14 Paul Elias 5 14- 8 5 14-15 5 11- 6 15 40-13
15 Morizo Shimizu 5 12- 9 5 16- 6 5 11-11 15 40-10
16 Casey Scanlon 5 13-14 5 12- 3 5 14- 8 15 40- 9
17 Chris Lane 5 18- 5 5 14-12 4 7- 6 14 40- 7
18 Tim Horton 5 11- 7 5 18- 6 5 10- 9 15 40- 6
19 Britt Myers 5 15- 2 5 14- 6 5 10- 8 15 40- 0
20 Rick Morris 5 11-11 5 13- 4 5 14-15 15 39-14
21 Bobby Lane 5 14- 8 5 13- 2 5 11- 8 15 39- 2
22 Keith Combs 5 11-15 5 12-15 5 14- 3 15 39- 1
23 Jason Christie 5 11-12 5 15- 1 5 12- 3 15 39- 0
24 Kelley Jaye 5 15- 9 5 12- 5 5 10-12 15 38-10
25 Scott Rook 5 13- 4 5 11- 9 5 13- 5 15 38- 2
26 Billy McCaghren 5 14-11 5 12- 7 5 10-13 15 37-15
27 Casey Ashley 5 12- 6 5 13-10 5 11-10 15 37-10
28 Brent Chapman 5 14- 2 5 13- 2 5 10- 3 15 37- 7
29 Keith Poche 5 11- 1 5 15- 2 5 11- 3 15 37- 6
30 Randy Howell 5 12- 6 5 12-12 5 12- 1 15 37- 3
31 John Crews 5 13-12 5 11- 6 5 12- 0 15 37- 2
32 Jacob Powroznik 5 12- 0 5 14- 2 5 10-13 15 36-15
33 Michael Iaconelli 5 12- 4 5 14- 8 5 10- 1 15 36-13
34 Gary Klein 5 14- 3 5 11-12 5 10- 9 15 36- 8
35 Brian Snowden 5 12- 5 5 14- 3 4 9-14 14 36- 6
36 Stephen Kennedy 5 10-11 5 14- 7 5 11- 3 15 36- 5
37 Kurt Dove 5 13-14 5 12-12 5 9-11 15 36- 5
38 Stephen Browning 4 10-13 5 14-12 5 10-11 14 36- 4
39 Chad Pipkens 5 11- 1 5 13-11 5 11- 1 15 35-13
40 Kelly Jordon 5 10- 5 5 14-14 5 10- 7 15 35-10
41 Marty Robinson 5 13- 2 5 15- 8 3 6-14 13 35- 8
42 David Mullins 5 13- 0 5 14-13 3 7- 6 13 35- 3
43 Todd Faircloth 5 12- 5 5 15- 3 3 6-14 13 34- 6
44 Gerald Swindle 5 12- 1 5 14- 9 4 7- 9 14 34- 3
45 Rick Clunn 5 14-10 5 11- 9 3 7- 5 13 33- 8
46 Chad Morgenthaler 5 10- 6 5 16- 3 3 6-11 13 33- 4
47 Fletcher Shryock 5 16- 8 5 11- 5 2 5- 3 12 33- 0
48 Yusuke Miyazaki 4 13- 1 5 11-10 4 7-10 13 32- 5
49 Ott DeFoe 5 11- 0 5 17- 2 2 4- 0 12 32- 2
50 James Niggemeyer 5 11- 3 5 15- 3 2 3-14 12 30- 4