Iaconelli won the Bassmaster Classic in 2003 and AOY in 2006. He's the only angler in B.A.S.S. history to earn those titles, plus win a B.A.S.S. Federation National Championship, earning $1 million in prize money and bringing in more than 100 pounds in a tournament. The fans definitely like “Ike.”
Martens is “The Natural.” The 2005 AOY winner is the only four-time runner up in Classic history. His attention to detail and the finer points of fishing and tackle are legendary.
Reese won the Classic in 2009. He’s topped 100 pounds in an Elite Series tournament, a feat he’s accomplished four times, and once made the finals (Top 12) in six consecutive events.
Reese said, ideally, he would have qualified on points to compete in All-Star Week but appreciates his fans choosing him for the competition.
“I came close, but not close enough,” said Reese, who finished the year 11th in points. “I’m very grateful and thankful to have the fan base out there that wants me to participate. I’m glad to be in.”
Reese said his season started out well in 2012 after a disappointing year in 2011.
“I felt like I started out with a bang — with Top 5 finishes — then the wheels came off,” Reese said. “I went from being on top to wondering if I would qualify for the Classic. I rallied at the end and had some good finishes. Now I’m looking at the list of the eight anglers who qualified, plus the four voted in. It’s a tough crowd to fish against anywhere or any time. It should be some good competition, and I’m looking forward to fishing a new venue this week and getting a new lease on winning.”
Swindle is one of the most popular anglers on the circuit, thanks to his witty commentaries from the weigh-in stage, as well as his success in tournament competition. His skills as a “junk” fisherman — using a wide variety of baits and tactics to scratch out a limit of bass — will come in handy in Illinois. Swindle did not practice on the All-Star tournament waters, saying it would be presumptuous to scout the lakes before fans made a decision. Consequently, Swindles says, he has “no game plan,” except to try to repay his fans for selecting him.