Talking to Mike Iaconelli, he’s confident, but is quick to say the massive amounts of bass and the ease he caught them here in 2009 is not happening for him on the Red River right now. “Things could change, our timing is right on the bubble.” Ike continued to say that while it has been tough to find bites, it’s not impossible. Iaconelli talked quite a bit about how he’s going to have to put his nose down and grind this event out. “I can get the bites and I have some good fish, winning caliber fish even, but I’m really looking for just 5 to 6 bites a day.” Ike continued to say that he was fishing for just one bite and hour. It doesn’t take a very smart person to figure out what part of the river he is considering in the pre game. They launch at 7 and have to be back at 3; that’s 8 hours. It’s an hour one way to the southern end of pool four where he fished in 2009.
I asked Ike how he puts the big show out of his mind when fishing an event that will be such a ‘grind’. With all the spectator boats, the camera man on his back shoulder, and all the fan fair of the classic, how do you concentrate on bass fishing. Only looking for 5-6 bites, one would have to make sure he boated those 5-6 bites. Ike has a mind exercise he does with that very first cast. “I envision that bait from the moment it hits the water. What it’s doing as it’s moving through the water. I put all my focus on that bait, total concentration. This helps get me back in the right mind set.”
I talked with Mike Iaconelli about how he always manages to pull out a great finish in Louisiana; his roots are from the northern fisheries. “It’s tidal and river fishing, that’s what I grew up doing, not necessarily bass fishing, but all the fishing I did as a kid was on tidal waters. Fishing Louisiana just comes natural; I love it here.”
In 2009, Mike Iaconelli had found fish in the back of a stump field that would make the average man cringe just by looking at it. Ike not only fished it but drove on pad though waters that locals won’t even idle across. This is not uncommon for Iaconelli. I asked Mike where this part of his bass fishing game plan comes from, why take a chance on your equipment in some of the biggest events in bass fishing. Iaconelli was quick to reply, “Winners take chances”. He continued, saying that sometimes you have to take a gamble to win, taking the easy or soft way isn’t going to put you in the winner’s circle. He also talked about getting to know your equipment, learning it’s limitations, not when in competition. When you know your equipment, it’s easier to take those chances and push it to the limit.
Ike was tightlipped about where and what he was doing, as were all the competitors but he seemed very confident. Ike liked what he had found with the game plan he had put together. Unlike some of the other anglers that were still debating on where to start this event, Ike seemed ready.
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