Why fishing? Part 1

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.

Every so often someone asks me why I fish or why I chose professional bass fishing as a career. The answer is simple on one level but a little complicated on another. I'll try to explain.

When I was a kid my mother, uncles and grandparents gave me some really good advice that formed my career decision-making process. They told me to find something that I wanted to do, that I was passionate about. They said — rightly — that if I did that most everything else would fall into place.

Of course, it wasn’t as simple as finding that one thing because there were four things I loved to do as a kid. I loved treasure hunting with a metal detector; I loved to play hockey; I loved to DJ at weddings, dances and parties; and I loved to fish — mostly for bass, but really for almost anything that swims.

My first thing, or choice, I suppose was treasure hunting. In my mind it was really cool to find old stuff and try to figure out what it meant or why someone had owned it. I had a ball running around with my metal detector looking for stuff.

But my high school guidance counselor didn’t share my passion. We had mandatory career counseling where I went to school, and I have to say that she worked very hard at discouraging that career choice. She was successful, but I’m not sure she was totally right. I think I could have been pretty good at it.

My next love was ice hockey. It’s a really big sport where I live and, at the risk of sounding like I’m bragging, I was a good player. I worked hard at it, and I was fast on the ice. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the body to go big-time at either the college or professional level. I was just too small. Nothing you do will make up for that when push comes to shove, as it often does on the ice.

The third thing was my DJ career. I managed to get a job with a big company when I was still in school. I loved the music, picking songs to control and excite the crowd and, most especially, the interaction with people.

Why I didn’t end up doing that for a living, I really can’t say. I suppose part of it was money. You can make good money at it, but not great money. And, as the years go by the nightlife gets tougher and tougher on you. Regardless of those things, however, I sometimes think that would be fun, if only for a weekend or two.

Despite my love for those things, I never really lost my passion for fishing. I know some guys do. You know, they fish for a while as a hobby or maybe even with an eye towards a career in the business, but they end up doing something else more conventional for a living.

Not me. My love just got stronger and stronger.

Next week we’ll talk about how everything unfolded.

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

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