No one was more shocked than Mike Iaconelli himself when he caught a bag weighing 20 pounds, 3 ounces on Day One of the Ramada Championship. It was totally unexpected, he said, after his three days of practice produced only "seven bites the first day, five the second and then three or four." A bad start seemed headed farther downhill.
But Thursday was "one of those magic days," Iaconelli noted. A school of smallmouth burst to the surface near his boat early in the day, allowing him to complete a limit, then go hunt for largemouth.
It's not like Iaconelli hasn't done this before at Oneida. In 2008, he caught 20-1 on Day Two, which rocketed him from 40th place to first.
It's believed Iaconelli is the only angler to catch a 20-pound bag on Oneida in the now four-plus Elite Series events here since 2006, and he's done it twice.
But those "magic days" are just that — uncommon occurrences. Iaconelli's four-day totals from 2008, when he finished third, were as follows: 12-11, 20-1, 14-4 and 12-4.
It looks now like he'd give anything for one of those 12-pound bags today.