Lewisville to launch Central Opens

LEWISVILLE, Texas — Bassmaster Elite Series pro Mike McClelland’s feelings toward the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open on Lewisville Lake may well resonate with the majority of the field.

“Well, I’m excited about the chance at gaining a Classic berth, but otherwise there are other Central [Opens] I’m looking forward to more,” he said. “Lewisville has some good fish in it, but it’s not one of Texas’ best lakes.”

Lewisville Lake is a 29,500-acre impoundment on the Trinity River. It lies just northwest of Dallas and is almost always buzzing with anglers and pleasure boaters. The relatively small lake offers good fishing, but in select areas. This can make the lake seem crowded to a field of 150-plus anglers, which this Open expects to see. Such was the case in 2011. To win that event, Mark Tucker of St. Louis, Mo., had to find several out-of-the-way spots to catch his three-day, 15-bass total of 45-15.

According to McClelland, recent weather in the Dallas area could pose a new set of challenges to anglers for the 2012 derby.

“The lake has risen about 5 feet due to a bunch of rain in the area, and that should also put a little color in the water,” he said. “This higher water level has also given small bushes a chance to grow along the shoreline, so there should be a little more water available than usual.”

McClelland is an accomplished open-water fisherman, but will more than likely have to beat the bank with the rest of the field.

“I’m thinking there’s a chance of a crankbait and spinnerbait bite along the shore, but the water being up opens it up to a variety of baits,” he said. “However, I hope there’s a little clarity on the lower end so a hard jerkbait – like a Spro McStick — is effective.”

There’s nothing wrong with a jerkbait on Lewisville; it’s what Tucker used last year to secure a berth in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic in Shreveport-Bossier City, La., Feb. 24-26. The winner of the 2012 Lewisville Open — like all Opens — will receive a berth in the 2013 Classic on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, a thought that makes McClelland salivate.

“Any time a Classic berth is up for grabs, I’m going to fish hard, but I’m really going after it here at Lewisville since the next Classic is on Grand,” he said. McClelland is as familiar with the Oklahoma reservoir as any Elite Series pro.

Look for weights to be largely similar — if not a little heavier — to what they were in 2011, with 15 pounds a day easily seeing a top 12 finish.

“This is going to be a tough event, but sometimes events that are ‘grinds’ are some of the easiest to win,” McClelland said. “If you can get a little piece of the equation and unlock the lake, you’re in good position to get to the Classic. Someone’s going to win this thing, and it might as well be me.”

Weigh-ins Thursday and Friday, Feb. 9 and 10, are free and will be held at 3 p.m. each day at Lewisville Lake Park, 100 E. Lake Park Rd., Lewisville. The final weigh-in, after the field has been cut to 12 pro anglers and co-anglers, will be at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 11, Bass Pro Shops, 2501 Bass Pro Dr., in Grapevine, Texas.