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

Validation

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.

Today was a little different. I caught 18 pounds, 9 ounces. It wasn't nearly enough to win. VanDam caught 'em all three days, but it was enough to validate my strategy and my choice of spots. That's something, I suppose.

It's hard to put a good face on an 11th place finish. I wanted to do much better, about 10 places better, but sometimes things don't break your way. I guess the thing that really hurts is that I thought I had the winning fish marked, and it turns out I did. They just didn't bite until today. That's the Iaconelli definition of killer disappointment.

When I got to my spot this morning I caught a 4-pounder real quick. I knew when he hit that something was different. Right after that I fished around a little bit and then went back and threw into the same exact spot. I caught a 5-pounder.

When that happened, I knew they were on the beds. I'd caught the male first and then the female. After that I changed my approach completely. I knew all this warm weather had pushed them to the beds. The water was too stained to see the beds or the fish. I had to visualize where I thought they would spawn and then fish those areas.

I moved around the grass with my eyes half closed and tried to think like a bass. (Don't laugh. It works — sometimes.) When I found a spot that looked right I'd pitch into it. Because of the water color I couldn't tease them but I was able to boat about 25 keepers today fishing blind.

The result shows. If I had been able to catch them that way the first two days, the story would be a lot different. No matter, it hurts. And the part that hurts the most is that I know in my heart those quality fish were there all the time. A writer asked me if I thought they moved into my area overnight. The answer is no, absolutely. They did not.

They were there all the time. I just didn't fish them right. I can't tell you what I was doing wrong but it was something. To be fair, time helped me a little today. We had long fog delays Friday and Saturday. They only held us 30 minutes this morning. That gave me a lot more time to fish and figure things out. It made a big difference.

I'll think about it off and on over the next few days and write some more about it if I come up with anything I think I should have done differently the first two days. But I won't think about it too much. That's a waste of time. I need to worry about future tournaments, not past ones.

Congratulations to Kevin. He caught more weight than the rest of us and deserved to win. He fished one heck of a tournament.

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