Arkansas’ Mike McClelland Wins 2008 Berkley Heavyweight Award in Bassmaster Elite Series

Mike McClelland of Bella Vista, Ark., collected enough pounds and ounces of bass throughout the Bassmaster Elite Series season to win the 2008 Berkley Heavyweight Award. McClelland, who should finish in the top three in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race Sunday, received $20,000 for his Berkley Heavyweight effort at the season-ending Champion’s Choice presented by Ramada Worldwide on Oneida Lake out of Syracuse, N.Y.

Introduced in 2007 to the Bassmaster Elite Series, the Berkley Heavyweight Award is presented to the angler who catches the heaviest total weight of bass through the first two days of all 11 Elite Series events of the season.

McClelland’s final Berkley Heavyweight tally was 368 pounds, 9 ounces. That was nearly 16 pounds better than the weight posted by runner-up Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., the 2008 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. VanDam, who won the inaugural Berkley Heavyweight Award in 2007, earned $10,000 for this year’s second-place effort.

“It’s cool to win this award,” said McClelland, who made the top-12 cut Saturday and will compete Sunday for the Champion’s Choice trophy and $100,000 first-place prize. “It’s a true test, bringing in the most weight while going up against a full field of competitors the first two days of competition at every event – more than 100 pros.”

Helping McClelland’s cause was his season-opening victory at the Sunshine Showdown on the Harris Chain of Lakes out of Leesburg, Fla. Through the first two days, McClelland had more than 30 pounds.

Finishing third in the Berkley Heavyweight standings was Todd Faircloth of Jasper, Texas, with 344 pounds, 0 ounces. He won $5,000.

About BASS

For 40 years, BASS has served as the authority on bass fishing. With its considerable multi-media platforms and expansive tournament trail, BASS is guided by its mission to serve all fishing fans. Through its industry-leading publications Bassmaster Magazine, BASS Times and Fishing Tackle Retailer and comprehensive Web properties in and, the organization is committed to delivering content true to the lifestyle. Additionally, television programming on ESPN2 continues to provide relevant content – from tips and techniques to in-depth tournament coverage – to passionate audiences.

The organization oversees the prestigious Bassmaster tournament trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bassmaster Opens, Women’s Bassmaster Tour and the Bassmaster Classic, the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing. Through its grassroots network, the BASS Federation Nation, BASS sanctions more than 20,000 events annually.

BASS also offers an array of services to its more than 525,000 members while spearheading progressive, positive change on issues related to conservation and water access. The organization is headquartered in Celebration, Fla.