Classic quest: Never give up!

About the author

Michael Iaconelli

Michael Iaconelli

Michael Iaconelli is the only angler to have won the Bassmaster Classic, Bassmaster Angler of the Year and B.A.S.S. Nation Championship.

Well, as everyone knows by now I didn’t get my win at the Plano Championship Chase. It just didn’t happen. The thing is, though, I’m not all that down about it. Considering the lousy practice I had, I feel like I came out pretty good.

Basically, I did some off-the-wall stuff during practice and in the tournament. The details are unimportant. They don’t matter. The idea was to get on some really big fish and try to win the thing. It might have worked if the bite had been as good it was last year. But it wasn’t. So that’s that.

I don’t regret what I did. When you’re in my position, there’s no difference between second and last. No win — no Bassmaster Classic. You do whatever it is that you have to do.

Several people have wondered what my plans are, how I intend to make the Classic. A couple have even suggested that I can’t make it. That’s trash. I fully intend to do everything in my power to get there, one way or the other. I’ll quit when I’ve made the last cast in the last tournament that’ll allow me to qualify, and not before.

Actually I think I have a shot. I’m not going to say that it’s a guarantee or anything but I have a shot. I’m not just saying that. I honestly believe it. There’s one Northern Open left, two Central Opens and the Wildcard. I’m especially excited about the upcoming Open on Lake Erie out of Sandusky, Ohio.

A lot of what I learned this past week will apply up there. That gives me something to build on. It’s not like I’ll be starting practice from scratch or without any information whatsoever. And I love to smallmouth fish. It’s what I’ve done all of my life. I’m comfortable doing it. Besides, I’m really hungry for a win in an Open. It would fill a gap in my career.

Assuming I need another shot after the Lake Erie Open — I’m certainly not willing to concede that just yet — there’s a Central Open on the Arkansas River out in Oklahoma and another one on Ross Barnett down in Mississippi. I’m in both.

I can’t say I’m an expert on either body of water but what I do know makes me feel positive. That’s always the first step.

If all else fails, there’s always the Wildcard on Lake Okeechobee in Florida. In truth, I’ve never been all that good in Florida but, hey, they’re bass. They have to bite something. It might as well be something I’m tossing at them.

What I’m saying this week, and I want everybody to understand it, is that I’m a professional bass fisherman. There’s no tournament in all of bass fishing like a Classic. Every angler in the country from little kids to old men wants to go there and be a part of it — maybe even win it.

I’ll do everything legal and ethical to get there. I don’t quit. Never give up!

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website, MikeIaconelli.com.

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