2011 Elite Series - Power-Pole Citrus Slam St. Johns River - Palatka, FL, Mar 17 - 20, 2011

Lessons relearned, part 2

Alan McGuckin
Mike Iaconelli : Winner of the 2006 AOY

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.

So anyway, the second mistake I made was not developing a Plan B and a Plan C. I look back on it now, and can't believe I dropped the ball, but I did.

I spent all day Tuesday and Wednesday marking bed fish. They were everywhere. I was having a ball. I didn't even think about trying to develop something else. I thought I had the answer.

That might be the most dangerous thing in all of bass fishing — thinking you have the answer. That'll jump up and bite you every time. No one has the answer for more than a little while. Things change constantly on the water. You've heard me say it a thousand times — fish the moment.

What makes my screw up so frustrating is that it's something I've talked about for years in my seminars, my interviews, my articles, my books and my blogs. You always have to have something to fall back on. Things change. You have to be ready. Change is the only constant in bass fishing. If you don't prepare for change, you gamble everything on your primary plan, and that can go bad fast.

Of course, that's exactly what happened to me on the St. Johns.

Think about this: Just before the Classic, I spent countless hours working out alternatives to my primary pattern and plan. If you go back and read my blogs, you'll see that I mapped out every detail of where to go and what to do if things changed. I had alternative places to fish marked, alternative baits organized in my boat and alternative routes to travel in case I couldn't use my first choice for some reason.

In case you haven't noticed, I'm upset with myself — maybe disappointed is a better word. It'd be one thing if I didn't know any better, but I do. It isn't so much that I had a bad event. That happens to every angler. It's why I had a bad event that bothers me.

Anyway, all is not lost. My goal was to get out of Florida with my head attached. I did that. I'm in 33rd place in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings, 177 points behind Alton Jones. That's not great, but it's OK. The season is just starting. We have a lot of fishing left. I still have a chance to catch him.

Let me close this thing by being brutally honest with you. Do not ignore the basic principles of tournament fishing. Fish to your strengths and develop at least one or two backup plans before the tournament starts.

If you don't, you'll pay a price, and I don't care who you are, how well you know the water, or how good you think you are. In other words, don't do what I did or you'll end up like I did on the St. Johns — in 58th place.

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