One down, three to go

One of the four tournaments in a row I talked about last week is over. I wish I could say that things went according to plan, but they didn’t. I ended up finishing 36 and not fishing today. That’s not what I had hoped for but it’s the way it is so I’ll have to accept it.

Things weren’t going too bad for me until the last day. I wasn’t where I wanted to be but I was making adjustments and catching fish. That’ll keep you in the running in almost any tournament. And then came the third day, Sunday. I just couldn’t put the weight together that I need to really move up in the Bassmaster Toyota Angler of the Year race. I caught fish. They just weren’t big enough.

That’s really frustrating. Let’s face it — you’re not going to do much in very many Elite Series tournaments bringing 8 pounds, 9 ounces to the scales. By the third day, the guys who are going to do anything have them dialed in better than that. I didn’t and I paid the price for it.  

I left early this morning for the Red River. The first Bass Pro Shops Central Open starts there on the 25th. I need to do really well in that one. Winning it is what I measn when I say really well. That’s my goal and that’s why I’m heading there right now. I want to get in as much practice as possible.

There are different thoughts about that. I know some guys say you can practice too much and end up with too many preconceived ideas. I respect their thinking, but I disagree. In my opinion, you can’t get too much practice. Most of the time you need three patterns to win a professional level tournament. The more you practice, the more you can refine those patterns. At least that’s what works for me.

Putting a good face on stuff when it isn’t warranted is not my style. If I’ve tried to do anything over the course of my career, it’s be honest with myself and with my fans. Sometimes that shows too much but that’s better than being phony about it. I have to find a path to the Classic at this point. Moving up in the Elites will do that but so will winning an Open.

Don’t think I’m going negative on you, that I’ve lost confidence in myself or that I’m in a panic. I’m not. There are five Elite Series tournaments left. That gives me plenty of time to get where I need to be. All that I need is to go out and catch some bigger fish. And I could always win one. I’ve won before. I can will do it again.

This can be a tough and unforgiving sport at times. But it can also be overwhelmingly rewarding. I’ve had a wonderful career and four good kids as well as a super wife. None of that’s going to change because of a few tough tournaments.    

Mike Iaconelli's column appears weekly on You can also find him on Facebook and Twitter.