2013 Elite Series Sabine River Challenge Presented by STARK Cultural Venues
Sabine River System - Orange, TX, Mar 14 - 17, 2013

The Sabine was tough — in more ways than one

Luckily, Mike Iaconelli's boat slipped in between the trees on the bank.

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.

The first tournament of this year was tough. I saw where it ranks as the second stingiest ever in the Elites. I have to say, though, that I’m not going to complain. Tough or not, my event could have been a lot worse. All things considered, I’ll settle for an 83rd place finish.

As most of you know by now, I lost control of my boat and ended up on the bank. That’s the short version of events. The long version is scary and should give all of us something to think about.

I was moving along pretty good when I hit something in the water. I’m guessing it was a partially submerged log. I lost control of the boat. It veered off to one side and ended up on (in) the bank. It happened in a flash.

The good thing is that neither I nor my Marshal was thrown out of the boat. And, because it stayed upright all the way through, neither one of us was hurt. If we had been thrown out, the story might be very different. Actually, you probably wouldn’t be reading this today.

Another thing that helped us was that the boat basically slipped in between the trees on the bank. If it had hit just a few inches to the left or the right we’d have impacted them head on. No one has to be told how ugly that would have been.

To see what I’m talking about look at the photos that were posted. It’s crazy to say that we were lucky but, in truth, we really were. This is one of those things that makes for a good war story in future years but that could have made for something much different, something like an obituary.

So what I want to say to all my readers and fans is to pay attention to what’s going on around you and follow every safety precaution to the letter when you’re out there. I don’t mind telling you that this scared me. When I looked around, I realized I could have been killed or I could have killed someone else.

Another thing about all this is that my boat wasn’t hurt much at all. I broke the mount for my Lowrance unit, snapped a couple of rods into two pieces and scratched it up a bit but that’s about all. There’s no hull damage and no motor damage. I’m fishing Falcon today in it. They build this stuff tougher than you think.

And, speaking of Falcon, it’s supposed to be over 100 degrees today. That’s plenty hot in my book. Still, I think I have it better on the water than Becky does back at the camper. She’s stuck inside it with two small children. That’s not going to be pretty by late this afternoon. She’s a trooper, though. She’ll make it work, somehow.

That’s it for today. Remember to keep your eyes open, follow all safety precautions and wear your PFD. I mean it!

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