Fish ‘em one at a time

For the next day or so there won’t be much going on in the Iaconelli world. I took a writer out this morning for some photos and a couple of interviews. That went well. I really enjoy that kind of work. It’s fun.

This afternoon I’m going to spend some time with the family and then head to ICAST. The week after that will get busy again. I’ll be doing an Ike Live! show and then it’s off to fish the Open on Lake Champlain.

Someone asked me the other day if I thought I was ready for the Delaware River. I answered yes, but at this point that tournament is not my primary focus. I learned years ago not to get ahead of myself when I was preparing for tournaments.

I fished the river 11 days, studied my maps and reviewed my notes. I only did that because I had no other choice. I had to get that stuff done before it went off-limits. All of my materials are put away for the time being. My focus now is Lake Champlain.

Early in my career I made the mistake of preparing for a tournament somewhere when I had another tournament to fish before that one. It really messed up my focus and my concentration. I found myself thinking about lure choices and techniques that had nothing to do with fishing the tournament at hand.

The result in almost every case was that I didn’t do very well in either one of them. I learned the hard way that you have to fish tournaments one at a time. Each one is unique and requires a unique approach. It’s about finishing the task at hand before starting another one.

It’s the same concept that you see and hear about with a lot of sports teams. When they’re in the playoffs they have to win their games as they play them. If they spend too much time thinking about the championship, they won’t get there. They’ll get beat somewhere along the way.

Besides, this Open is really important to me, and it could turn out to be important to my career. If I can snag a win up there, I’ll have my Classic berth guaranteed. That would mean that I can go into the last two Elite events with very little pressure on me.

If I don’t win on Champlain, just the opposite is true. I’ll have to do really well in both remaining Elite tournaments to have a shot at fishing the Classic, and even that won’t guarantee me a spot.

I‘m not backing away from anything I’ve said about the Delaware River, though, regardless of how I do on Champlain. Know that when we launch out boats on August 7 I’ll be one serious angler. The Delaware River matters to me.

Anyway, tomorrow evening is the start of ICAST. Please remember what I said last week—make time to review the coverage. It’ll make a big difference in your level of fishing education and that’ll make a big difference in how many fish you catch.

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter or visit his website,