Mercury pro Chris Lane wins Sabine River Elite
Mike McClelland second after epic 1,000-plus-mile run
ORANGE, Texas — The first 2015 Bassmaster Elite Series event was a tale of different approaches by the two Mercury Marine anglers who claimed the two top spots – Chris Lane stuck close to home, Mike McClelland went on an epic 1,000-mile journey.
In the end, it was a 3.5-pound largemouth bass caught within sight of the launch in the last 15 minutes of the tournament that powered Lane to the win on the challenging Sabine River system. Lane bagged 50 pounds over four days to McClelland’s 46 pounds to earn his fourth Elite win and his seventh major BASS title in a 10-year career.
“I’ve learned not to make the same mistake twice over the past 10 years, and (Sunday) was a case of me making a move that really paid off in the end,” Lane said of his decision to fish close to the City of Orange launch ramp in the waning hours of the tournament. “What I had been doing all week wasn’t working for me: We got so much rain on Saturday that it muddied up the canals I had been fishing, so I came back downriver and picked up two fish that turned out to be difference-makers. I came down here and fished hard, knowing I’d get the bites. You just kinda have to be determined that you’re going to make something happened.”
“Determined” also describes McClelland’s week on the Sabine.
Just as he had done two years ago when the Elites last visited the fishery, the Arkansas pro cranked up his 250 OptiMax ProXS and blasted his Stratos across Sabine Lake and Galveston Bay to fish two small dead-end canals near Houston. Depending on the route he took, the journey was between 114 and 137 miles one way, meaning he pushed his OptiMax from 900 to 1,100 miles over the course of the four-day tournament.
“I basically went as far as you can conceive running a boat this week, but I just felt like my chances of catching keeper fish over in Houston was significantly better than it would’ve been over on the east side of the Sabine,” McClelland said. “The fastest I could make the run was two hours. On Saturday when it was so rough, it took me two hours, 47 minutes. It was absolutely brutal.
“You have to have confidence in your equipment to even attempt it. I’ve run nine days – including the last time we were here and one day in practice – going over 114 miles one way, running 70 to 75 miles an hour the whole way. That’s the thing about the ProXS: they’re built to run. They don’t want to be idle.”
Lane’s pattern pays off
The Elite field entered the week knowing that the cypress-filled Sabine, which empties 360 miles into Sabine Lake, would be muddy, and that filling a daily five-fish limit of 14-inch keepers would be a challenge.
Lane fished most of the tournament in a series of slightly clearer canals and ditches 40 miles from the City of Orange, flipping and pitching to hydrilla.
“It’s the kind of fishing I love,” Land said. “The fish I was targeting were real shallow, in spawning mode. Finding that clearer water was key for me.”
Mercury pros occupied the top eight spots in the tournament: Lane, McClelland, Aaron Martens, Brandon Lester, Greg Hackney, John Crews, Shaw Grigsby and Scott Rook … Mercury pros Jacob Powroznik and Jason Christie currently hold the No. 1 and 2 positions in the Bassfan World Rankings … the next Elite Series event is the Diet Mountain Dew Elite at Lake Guntersville, Ala. (April 9-12).
About Mercury Marine
Headquartered in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Mercury Marine is the world’s leading manufacturer of recreational marine propulsion engines. A $2 billion division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC), Mercury provides engines, boats, services and parts for recreational, commercial and government marine applications, empowering boaters with products that are easy to use, extremely reliable and backed by the most dedicated customer support in the world. Mercury’s industry-leading brand portfolio includes Mercury and Mariner outboard engines; Mercury MerCruiser sterndrive and inboard packages; MotorGuide trolling motors; Mercury propellers; Mercury inflatable boats; Mercury SmartCraft electronics; Attwood marine parts; Land ‘N Sea marine parts distribution; and Mercury and Quicksilver parts and oils. More information is available at mercurymarine.com.
Headquartered in Lake Forest, Illinois, Brunswick Corporation endeavors to instill "Genuine Ingenuity"(TM) in all its leading consumer brands, including Mercury and Mariner outboard engines; Mercury MerCruiser sterndrives and inboard engines; MotorGuide trolling motors; Attwood and Whale marine parts and accessories; Land 'N' Sea, Kellogg Marine, Diversified Marine and Bell RPG parts and accessories distributors; Bayliner, Boston Whaler, Brunswick Commercial and Government Products, Crestliner, Cypress Cay, Harris FloteBote, Lowe, Lund, Meridian, Princecraft, Quicksilver, Rayglass, Sea Ray and Uttern boats, and Life Fitness and Hammer Strength fitness equipment, and Brunswick billiards tables and table tennis. For more information, visit brunswick.com
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