Headed for the Elite Series turn

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.

In just a couple of weeks, the 2011 Bassmaster Elite Series regular season will be history. We’ll fish the Arkansas River later this week and then Wheeler Lake the week after that. I love to fish tournaments, but I have to admit that this compressed schedule can be tough.

The thing is there’s no off-season anymore ... or even much downtime for that matter. It’s fishing tournaments, working for sponsors or filming television. Every minute of your time is slotted for something. Sometimes I dream about just taking a nap.

The tournaments, especially, take up your time. It’s almost impossible to do anything besides fish during a competition week. A typical day means getting up at 4:00 in the morning, fish or practice all day, and then spend two hours working on tackle before you crash into your bed later that night. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for anything else.

It’s not that anything about it is unfair or that it’s something I didn’t ask for when I decided to become a professional bass angler. I don’t know anybody who has any level of success at anything who doesn’t work for it. That’s life in any profession. Still, it can wear you down. It may be a labor of love, but it’s still labor on some level.

After the event on Lake Murray we had a little time off, but it was only a little. We stopped to see Becky’s family on the way north and then went home to see the girls. As a practical matter, Becky had about five days at home and I had seven. That’s not a lot of time. It was precious, though. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

We all have the same issues. The guys who fished the Open on Douglas will fish three weeks in a row, just like me, and they’ll have a long drive to Little Rock, just like me. (I fished a tournament in another circuit this weekend. I did fairly well, so I have a long and brutal trip in front of me.)

This career is not quite as easy as some people think — not by a long shot. It can be physically tough and mentally stressful. The mental part’s tougher on you than the physical. At least I think so, anyway, but that could be just me. And thank goodness I'm busy. If I wasn’t, that would mean I’m struggling in my career. That would be worse, no doubt about it. I sure don’t want that.

Enough about all the hassles. I’m looking forward to the Arkansas River! It looks to be tough fishing. I can’t wait. It’s a real test of fishing skill. Besides, I have a pretty good record on rivers. I like them, and they like me.