Ike on point
Sep 2nd, 2014 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Sep 2nd, 2014 at 12:00 AM
Toyota pro Mike “Ike” Iaconelli is one of the most famous bass anglers in the world. Sure, to some he is abrasive, but to many he is a hero, an icon and true legend in the sport of competitive bass fishing. With a Bassmaster Angler of the Year (AOY) title and a Bassmaster Classic victory, Ike has certainly achieved the pinnacle of success in pro bassing.
However, the last two seasons have not been perfect. Sure, Iaconelli had a miraculous win in a Bassmaster Open event last season to qualify him for the Bassmaster Classic. Plus, he won an Elite Series event on the Delaware River this year guaranteeing him a spot in the 2015 Classic. Regardless of the wins, the road to his success has been very rocky lately.
“I had a lot of the same feelings at the beginning of this season as I did last year,” said Iaconelli. “It was a real disappointing season early. I knew I had to turn it around. Heading into the Delaware River event, I knew I had to perform really well. Fortunately for me, I won that event. I followed that up with a solid event at Cayuga Lake.
“So, not only am I in the Classic, but I get to fish the AOY Championship in Escanaba. It has been a good year so far.”
Philly pride shines in Iaconelli.
“When B.A.S.S. decided to bring the Elites to the Delaware River, I had a great sense of pride,” said Iaconelli. “The Delaware is where I learned to fish. I take so much pride in the fact that the people in the area who love fishing have worked so hard to bring that river to the condition it is in now.
“Back in the 70’s and 80’s, the Delware wasn’t very good. Now, it is a good fishery that is improving. A lot of people thought that the Delaware was going to be like the Pittsburgh Classic. Something like five pounds per day would win it. I knew that was not true. I knew that it wasn’t that type of fishery.”
Ike wants tournaments to continue to showcase the nation of bass fishing available to anglers.
“I believe we should always be fishing a mixture of different venues,” said Iaconelli. “Some blowout spots, some tough ones. You know, rivers, natural lakes, reservoirs, lots of variety.
“I think too often some places in the country get written off. Urban locations or areas of the country not considered traditional bass fishing strongholds. I believe what happened in Philadelphia shows what you get as a response when you come to those areas and fish the waters those people love. The crowds that were so pumped up and passionate about their sport. They were so proud to have us there. I think that can happen all across the country at a variety of venues.”