It’s time to start over

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.

I’ve had some time off, and I needed it. Things started out well at the Classic. I didn’t win but I had my chances. That’s about as much as anyone can expect. But then things turned down quickly. The accident on the Sabine River and my missing the timing of the bite on Falcon put me in a hole.

There’s no point trying to put a pretty face on things. I’ve gotten off to a bad start this year. Sitting in 73rd place in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings is not my idea of success. Still, all is not lost.

I’ve always said I have three goals every season: I want to win AOY, win an event and qualify for and win the upcoming Classic. Two of those things are still within reach.

And, in a strange kind of way, I can’t say I have many regrets about what I’ve done so far this year — other than the obvious. Certainly, I didn’t want to have the boating accident on the Sabine and I didn’t want to miss the bite at Falcon. But that’s the way things worked out. With the benefit of hindsight, I could have avoided both of those things. Then again, with the benefit of hindsight we all could have avoided lots of things.

Make no mistake about professional bass fishing at the Elite Series level; it’s competitive. If you don’t go all out for the win and give it everything you’ve got, you’ll lose. There’s no in between. Every angler out there has shown he can win. Half-step one time, miss a couple of hours, target the wrong fish, go to the wrong place at the wrong time or just have a bad break and you’re going home early.

That’s why I say that I don’t have many regrets. I’m not fishing for a check. I’m fishing for a win. I did what I thought I had to do at the time to do that. The fact that it didn’t work out doesn’t mean it was wrong. It just means it didn’t work out.

Another thing is that this could be a lot worse. I’ll be forever grateful — down deep in my heart grateful — that my Marshal wasn’t hurt on the river. I can’t imagine what it would be to live with that. The same thing could be said of me. Instead of starting my season over, I could be starting rehab. My glass is half-full, guys.

The lesson here is that things don’t always go your way. Sometimes things happen that you wish hadn’t happened. That doesn’t justify complaining or making excuses, however. It’s motivation to get going and do better.

I’ll head to Bull Shoals Lake in Arkansas next week with the attitude that this is a new beginning. There are six tournaments left. I’ll make the best of every one of them. Like I said, two of my goals are still within reach. I plan to do my best to meet them.

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on Bassmaster.com. You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.

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