As one of the most high-profile anglers in the sport, there's not much we don't know about Mike Iaconelli.
We know he's a 37-year-old father of two that graduated from college with honors, loves his fans, hosts his own urban-centered TV fishing show, can still break dance, and has more Top 10s than Madonna. But here's one that might surprise you.
Iaconelli is a dang good travel guide too — at least if you're looking for the ultimate smallmouth bass fishing autumn getaway. Iaconelli chooses Lake Champlain on the New York-Vermont border as destination #1. He chooses Erie second. Specifically, he likes to fish within sight of the Buffalo cityscape for brute-sized smallies, but warns that wind and big waves can easily wipe out a day on the water at Erie.
"I've had the chance to fish some of the best rivers, reservoirs and lakes in the country and nothing beats Lake Champlain on the New York-Vermont border for natural beauty, accommodations and an unbeatable number of 3- to 5-pound smallmouth," says Iaconelli.
First, Ike explains why the autumn smallmouth fishing is so good on Champlain. "The bait that the smallmouth key on such as alewives and small perch begins to move from deep summer locations up to much shallower water depths of 6 to 12 feet. When the primary forage goes shallow, massive wolf packs of big smallmouth bass follow and eat them.
So find a shallow flat and use fast-moving search baits like a 3/4-ounce spinnerbait with small #4 willow blades that you can retrieve super-fast. Or try a jerkbait or a Rattling Laser Lure in the Spicy Shad color. Cover a lot of water. And hold on tight." But for Ike, it's more than fishing that makes Champlain such a fabulous place.
"Sure, first off, as an angler, the good thing about Champlain is that you can always find a place to fish that's protected from the wind and catch big smallies. But, here's the really cool thing about Champlain — there is a supposed sea monster named "Champ" that you and the kids might spot from one of the many ferry boats that shuttle people between the east-west shorelines of this massive lake."
"On the New York side of the lake, Plattsburgh is the place to be for great food and your pick of hotels. My favorite place to stay is the Marine Village Cottages; they sit right on the lake, and there's a boat ramp conveniently located about a mile from the cottages," said Iaconelli, the 2006 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year.
"If you stay on the Vermont side of Lake Champlain, I'd stay in Burlington, a great town with plenty of places to stay and eat. Plus, you can win major points with the wife and kids by going about 10 miles south of Burlington to visit the world famous Vermont Teddy Bear Company. They make custom teddy bears. Tell them to make you the Ike Fishing Bear," advises Iaconelli.
Cottages, ferry boats, sea monsters and teddy bears... and you thought Mike Iaconelli was a just a 37-year-old, break dancing, world-champion bass buster with his own TV fishing show.