It’s liberating, sort of

By the time you read this, I’ll be in Detroit getting ready for the last Elite Series tournament of the year. I feel pretty good to tell you the truth. This is kind of like a new day for me.

Last week was really refreshing. I think I told you that we were going on a family vacation, me and Becky plus all four of the kids. It was great. We mostly just sat around doing family vacation stuff along a lake. I can’t say any of it was special, but at the same time it was all special.

There was no fishing.

It’s been a while since we did something like that. Usually there’s at least one point in any vacation when the call of the water gets the best of me and I head out with Becky or the kids to wet a line. That didn’t happen this week, though. This one was all about getting things back into perspective.

Besides, I didn’t need to fish. I’ve fished all of my life. Doing it some more isn’t likely to make much of a difference now unless I’m just out having fun. This has been a tough year. My problems aren’t about physical skills or experience. I have enough of both.

It might sound crazy but the position I’m in is liberating on some level, sort of anyway. We all know the truth. I’m not going to make the 2014 Classic unless I win a tournament. There are no calculations to be made about where I need to finish to make it. What any other angler does or doesn’t do is of no consequence. I win or I work a sponsor booth in Guntersville next February.

I say liberating because I know what I have to do. It’s a single issue kind of thing. I’ll not be fishing this one with an eye on upgrading my fish to make sure I finish in the Top 20 as opposed to the Top 30. It’s a matter of going for broke. The biggest ones in the lake will be in my livewell or they won’t. If they are, I’m in good shape. If not, …

The only negative about this tournament is that Becky and the kids aren’t with me. We couldn’t work it out. The campground where we would have had to stay is about an hour away from the ramp. There’s no way I can drive an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening and stay on top of my game. That’s just too much.

So, I got a room close to the ramp. Becky drove home last night with the kids. They’ll all be in their own home, sleeping in their own beds, doing whatever they want. As much as I’ll miss them, I’m glad about that.

That’s about all there is for right now. All that’s left is for me to spend the next three days looking for big schools of big smallmouth. Should I have said giant schools of giant smallmouth?

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

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