Ike’s FLW Championship Push
Oct 20th, 2008 by OutdoorsFIRST
Modified Oct 20th, 2008 at 12:00 AM
When the 2008 tournament season began, the last thing on Toyota pro Mike Iaconelli’s mind was qualifying for the 2009 Forrest Wood Cup (FLW Tour Championship) in Pittsburgh. Why you ask? Well, he doesn’t fish the FLW Tour; he fishes the BASS Elite Series. So there is no way he could possibly qualify, or is there?
“When I took a look at the schedule for the Elite’s this year I saw that right around the last event in New York there were also two Stren Series events,” said Iaconelli. “I figured I’d enter those events to extend my season and to fish bodies of water I used to fish earlier in my career.
“At the Thousand Island Stren event, a guy came up to me and said he saw right through me,” said Iaconelli. “This guy says he sees what I’m doing, that I’m trying to qualify to get into the Forrest Wood Cup championship. I didn’t event think of doing that until he mentioned that to me.
“From that point on, I fished to win to see if I could place high enough to get into the Stren Championship and maybe qualify.”
Iaconelli qualified for the Stren Championship. He ended up being the points leader for the Northern Division of the Stren Series. He’s now thinking of settling an old score.
“Now my goal is to head to Table Rock (site of the Stren Series Championship) in November and be the highest placing angler from the Northern Stren division,” said Iaconelli. “I just need to beat 39 guys. If I can do that, I head to Pittsburgh and the Forrest Wood Cup.
“I have a score to settle with the Three Rivers,” said Iaconelli. “I had the winning fish on at the Classic held there a few years ago. If I can qualify through the Stren Championship, I’d be thrilled. I’d be able to fish both the Classic and the FLW Championship in the same season.”
Since Ike’s foray into the Stren Series events, he feels very good about returning to a lower level of fishing pressure.
“It feels good to get back to this level of fishing,” said Iaconelli. “These are tough events, but the pressure isn’t as high on me. I cut my teeth back when the BFLs were called Redman tournaments. It’s really nice to see some of the old faces out there.”
Going for the win is Iaconelli’s strategy at the Stren Championship.
“I know I don’t have to win the Stren to go to the Forrest Wood Cup,” said Iaconelli. “I need to win my division, but I’ve been fishing to win at every Stren event so far and it’s paid off. Plus, if I win, then I’m in the championship for sure.
“Pittsburgh left a mark on me last time. I have a score to settle.”