MCCLELLAND: ROLLING ON THE ALABAMA RIVER IN CITGO BASSMASTER OPEN
PRATTVILLE, Ala. (Dec. 2, 2005) - Mike McClelland of Bella
Vista, Ark., leads a field of 10 pro anglers going into the final
two days of competition in the CITGO Bassmaster Open Championship on
the Alabama River. McClelland, who led after the first round
Thursday, went back to the main river Friday, garnering another
five-bass limit for a two-day total of 29 pounds. He has 2-pound,
7-ounce lead over his closest competitor, Rick Morris of Lanexa, Va.
At the end of the second round, Morris had a total of 26-9.
McClelland flipped a small profile 7/16-ounce jig with a spider-type
skirt around structure in the current of the main river. His largest
fish, which weighed 4-9, was the first of the day, but didn’t come
easily. The aerobatic bass played to the ESPN television cameras
which were filming when he caught it.
”It was almost a wreck,” McClelland said of the catch. “When people
see that on TV, they’re going to say, ‘Man, this guy doesn’t know
how to swing a fish into the boat,’” he said. The Open Championship
will air on ESPN2 on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2006, at 10 a.m. EST.
Meanwhile, Morris, who fished “a little bit of a pattern and a
little bit of location,” called the fishery a spectacular place to
find bass. ”I only had seven bites, but they were all good ones,” he
The other anglers in the top 10 advancing to tomorrow’s competition
are: John Murray of Arizona; Chad Brauer of Missouri; Matt Reed of
Texas; Mark Menendez of Kentucky; Steve Kennedy and Randy Howell of
Alabama; Jon Bondy of Canada; and John Pollard of Alabama.
Also, non-boater Jack Farage of Discovery Bay, Calif., moved from
second to first with a two-day tally of six bass weighing 12-11.
Thursday’s leader in that division, William Beekman, of East Quogue,
N.Y., replaced Farage in second with six bass weighing 10-11.
Daily weigh-ins at Cooters Pond Park are free to the public.
Weigh-ins begin at 3:30 EST and BASS founder Ray Scott, who was at
the tournament today, will lend a hand at the weigh-ins over the
The field is cut to 10 on Saturday for the semifinal round. The
finals will feature the top five pros and weights each day carry
over. The winning boater takes home an $80,000 prize package and the
top five boaters earn berths into the CITGO Bassmaster Classic, Feb.
24-26, 2006, on Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee, Fla.
Courtesy of BASS Inc.