2014 Bassmaster Elite at Delaware River Delaware River - Philadelphia, PA, Aug 7 - 10, 2014

It's special

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.

There are a few things I want to say about this win but the most important thing is that it’s really special. It’s hard to tell you how much this means to me.

This area is where my uncle and my grandfather taught me to fish. We spent hours on the Schuylkill River and along Pennypack Creek fishing from the bank and later from a boat.

I’ve seen pictures of us fishing when I was three or four-years-old. I don’t even remember some of those trips. I was that young. To bring home a win on these waters is something I’ll always treasure, and it’s a tribute to the things they taught me — hard work and perseverance.

Another thing is that all four of my kids were here to see it happen. I’ve won before but never with all the kids around and with Becky at my side. I wanted so badly for them to see what I do, why I work so hard at it and why that matters.

It’s the kind of emotion that’s hard to put into works. Those of you who have kids know what I’m talking about. It’s a father’s pride. I’m not ashamed to admit that.

Another thing about this win is that it shows that hard work pays off in the end. I prefished 12 straight days here, daylight to dark. I’ve never done that in my life to get ready for any tournament. But, this one mattered so much to me that I felt like I had no other choice. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I hadn’t done that and things had gone bad. This is my hometown. It was do or die.

This sport of professional bass fishing really isn’t any different than any other part of life. The harder you work the luckier you’ll get. I wasn’t messing around when I talked several weeks ago about Rocky Balboa. That series of movies sums up a lot of what I think about life. You work hard, suffer through the tough times and keep going for the gold.

The last thing I want to talk about are the Philly fish-heads. (Fish-head is a term I use to describe those of us who are addicted to chasing fish.)

I’ve been to more than a handful of weigh-ins. I’ve never seen a crowd go crazy like they did this afternoon. The enthusiasm was unbelievable. That says something. Bass fishing, professional and recreational, isn’t limited to rural areas or to places where true giant bass live. Philly is about as metropolitan as it gets. And yet, look at the crowds.

At the same time, this tournament shows that metropolitan waters produce bass. Nine out of the 12 anglers caught limits today. I don’t know where the final weights stand in relation to other events but I do know that they were respectable this week. I’m proud of that.

That’s enough for now. I’m exhausted. I’m going to bed early this evening and sleep until it’s time to leave for Cayuga Lake.

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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