Getting ready for Oneida

The Oneida Lake Open will start in a couple of days. I spent last week packing and repacking. Normally it wouldn’t take me as long as it did but with several tournaments in a row facing me I had to find a place for lots and lots of different stuff. There’s no way I can go back home between events.

Things are going along pretty well as far as practice is concerned — I’m finding fish and working through patterns — but there’s one issue that I can’t control no matter how hard I try. That’s boat order. On this lake it can be critical, especially in an Open.

At first you think this is a good-sized lake. It’s 22 miles long and about 5 miles wide at its widest point. It covers about 80 square miles. But it can fish surprisingly small. We’ll have something like 180 boats launching on it come Thursday morning. Most everyone will have found the same spots and the same stuff. That’ll shrink the lake very quickly.

The thing about those 180 boats is that most of them can fish. You have several Elite guys along with plenty of really good club anglers, and most of them know the lake. So, you can see what I’m talking about. There aren’t going to be very many secrets in a day or two. That’s for sure.

I’m guessing that boat position will be a little more important than it usually is for a big, professional tournament. That makes practice even more important. It’s absolutely critical that you find several good spots and it’s equally critical that you develop a pattern within a pattern.

Anyway, I’m excited. I’ve done well here in the past so I’m thinking I can do well again. Heck, I might even be able to put that Open win thing to bed when Saturday rolls around.

If I don’t, it won’t be anyone’s fault but my own. Oneida is a natural body of water with lots of grass and lots of offshore fishing opportunities. It has a decent population of largemouth bass as well as smallmouth bass. That’s my kind of water. I’ve been fishing here since back in my club days.

And, like back in my club days, I’m staying with Pete Gluszek. Becky decided to stay at home for a few extra days. We’ll be on the road for about a month so anything she can do to shorten that is something we both want her to do. All this travel is tough on her.

I think she’ll get here on Wednesday. I hope so, anyway. I miss her and the kids when I’m not with them. A day or two isn’t so bad, like when I fly somewhere to do a seminar. But day after day without them being around gets old fast.

That’ll do for now. I need to go out and see if I can find something new. That won’t be easy. But, then again, no one promised easy. 

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