By Todd Ceisner
Time is ticking down. The pattern that worked yesterday isn’t working today. It’s crunch time. There’s an hour left until the weigh-in starts. Your nerves are starting to fray. What do you reach for when you absolutely need to generate bites?
We’ve been asking pro anglers from the various leagues that same question as a way to find out what their ultimate confidence baits are regardless of the situation, along with the reasoning behind their choices. As one might expect, the answers have run the gamut, from big-line, big-weight flipping to light-line finesse and from topwater to slow-dragging baits.
This week, four-time Elite Series champion Mike McClelland, who’s headed to the Bass Pro Tour in 2019, explains why a diminutive swimbait has become his go-to option in most scenarios.
After checking out the latest installment in the series, head over to our Feedback page and let us know what your go-to bait is and how you rig it.
> Angler: Mike McClelland
> Confidence bait: 3.5” Big Bite Baits Suicide Shad on a ¼-oz. ball-head jig
> Gear used:7’2” medium-heavy Falcon Cara McClelland ST casting rod, REEL, 10- or 12-pound Sunline Shooter fluorocarbon line, ¼- or 3/8-oz. ball-head jig or underspin jig.
> Origin: “I wasn’t in panic mode at Table Rock [in the 2017 Central Open], but that’s how I won there.”
> Why he trusts it: “It depends on where you’re at and the time of year, but because of my ability to find and fish for fish that are suspended with my (Garmin) Pantopix, now I can fish for those fish out in front of the boat. Panoptix has allowed me to say this swimbait is a real go-to now. I can be out there struggling, and I’ll pan around and see one in 8 to 10 feet of water over a point and pick this bait up and throw it out and catch ‘em. It can catch them from the top to the bottom of the water column. It’s definitely going to get me a couple bites and there are days where it could catch me an 18- to 20-pound stringer. When you put it out there in certain scenarios it can get it done.”
> One more thing: He'll also mix in the 3.4" Cabela's McClelland Competition Series Swimmer (ribbed paddletail) on an underspin jig.