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Stratos Pro Mike McClelland Wins Bassmaster Central Open on Table Rock Lake

Smooth boat ride and low profile help secure win

FLIPPIN, ARK (March 10, 2017) Stratos Boats Pro Mike McClelland won the Bassmaster Central Open on Table Rock Lake on March 4. McClelland's three-day total of 44 pounds, 4 ounces gave him the win and earned the angler $53,491 in winnings. The win also qualified the angler for the 2018 Bassmaster Classic if he competes in the remaining two Opens.

The win marks McClelland's second B.A.S.S. victory on Table Rock. The angler won a Bassmaster Elite event in 2014. McClelland relied on his extensive experience on the lake to bring home another win.

"The biggest thing with my success on Table Rock is just the amount of time I've spent on the lake throughout my years growing up," said McClelland. "I am just really familiar with it and it gives me the ability to run the whole lake freely. Once I determine what sections of the lake the better fish are biting in, that's what I really focus and concentrate on."

McClelland spent three days pre-fishing Table Rock and was determined to find fish in unfamiliar waters.

"Practice was a big key to how the event unfolded completely. I didn't plan on fishing any of the water I did when I won the Elite event there in 2014. I did plan to catch them in a very similar manner. In 2014, I caught some fish on a swimbait and I caught way more fish on a Spro Rock Crawler and a Spro McStick."

McClelland fished from the damn to above Shell Knob on day one but failed to find any quality fish. On his second day of practice, McClelland pulled off shore to concentrate on deeper channel swings and staging areas. The angler finally found his heavier fish in a swing channel with trees at the mouth of a creek. The preferred bait was a Cabela's 3.4 Finesse Swimmer swimbait on a ┬╝-ounce underspin jighead.

"They were the right fish," said McClelland. "They were fat. They were bulked up, pre-spawn heavy fish. So it's like, ok, this is maybe what I need to do."

McClelland's third day of practice echoed the previous day's experience and cemented his commitment to the area. During practice, McClelland's spot didn't produce early in the morning so he wasn't surprised with the slow bite early on day one of competition. As the sun rose higher, the angler spotted a flock of gulls diving on baitfish.

"That's always a key this time of year when you are fishing those clear-water lakes," said McClelland. "As soon as I saw those gulls diving, I started working the area and it just lit up. In the next hour, I caught about nine keepers and had about 12 pounds or so and it's early."

The angler spent the rest of the day exploring other parts of the lake in hopes of culling up. The trip was not fruitful so McClellan returned to his original location and landed one more good fish for a day-one total of 13 pounds, 8 ounces. This left the angler in 14th place and in a good position to make a move on day two.

Day two brought ideal weather conditions and McClelland repeated his day-one success with a solid bag weighing 17 pounds, 7 ounces, bringing him 12 ounces behind the leader. Day three brought a strong south wind and made for tough conditions.

"On the final day, I struggled in the morning," said McClelland. "I only had three keepers around 11:00 and I knew it was important to weigh a limit to give myself an opportunity. So, I ran around and threw a Spro McStick and Rock Crawler to help fill my limit."

The angler brought in 13 pounds, 5 ounces, which was enough to beat Josh Bertrand by just over a pound. McClelland cites his Stratos as one of the keys to his success even through the tough conditions created by high winds on the final day.

"You can't beat the ride when you face those rough water conditions," said McClelland. "It made it a lot easier to ride around on the lake and get to and from where I wanted to go and having the ability to move about freely is helpful. The layout is perfect with its tackle and rod storage. Another bonus is that my 201 sits low in the water and helps in high-wind conditions."

About Stratos Boats
Stratos Boats are built with 100 percent composite construction to provide maximum performance and comfort. Every Stratos® Boat is backed by a limited lifetime warranty on the hull. Each boat is produced with a premium-quality gel-coat finish - made to withstand the elements. Stratos® is a registered trademark.


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