2011 Bassmaster Classic Louisiana Delta - New Orleans, LA, Feb 18 - 20, 2011

More Classic thoughts

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.

It's been about a week now since the Classic has been over. I have a few more thoughts about it that I'd like to share. Maybe some of them will help you in your fishing this year. I hope so anyway.

As you know, I stuck with my spot through thick and thin. I made a long run two days in a row after a long fog delay knowing I'd only have a couple of hours to fish. Several fans and writers have asked me about that. Although they won't say it out loud, the thought behind their inquiry is that I could have fished closer to the ramp and had a lot more time to catch them.

There's some truth in that, but you have to remember where and what I was fishing. The Louisiana Delta is a big place. It takes a long time to get from one spot to another. And, the Classic is a one-shot event. You're either the champion or you're not. There are no points or standings other than first place.

I had quality fished marked; I just couldn't get them to bite. I might have done better if I'd changed tactics the first couple of days. Of course, that insight comes with the benefit of hindsight. We're all real smart after we look in the rearview mirror. It's human nature for us to say, "If only ..."

The Classic rules affect things, too. The money difference is so huge between winning and finishing anywhere else that it doesn't pay to try to catch a few more pounds unless you think it'll be enough for a win. All the money is at first place.

I suspect that if there weren't such a different between first and the rest of the payout, you'd see a different type of event. At some point reality sets in and, when it does, some anglers would start fishing for a bigger check.

I'm not advocating that kind of change. I like the Classic the way it is now. All I'm saying is that it affects how we fish.

Basically, the same thing is true — only on a different level — in your club championship. Most of them are designed to be one tournament for all the marbles at the end of the year. When you fish one, you're not interested in finishing anywhere other than first place. You're either the champion or you're not.

So, the next time you fish a championship, I suggest you find a spot with the potential to produce winning weight, and fish it as best you can. You won't always win. In fact, you'll lose more often than not. But when you do win, you'll know the thrill of victory, and it'll be all the more sweet because you've tasted the bitterness of defeat.

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