20 and counting

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James Overstreet

Before I say anything else Becky and I want to express our sorrow at the passing of Greg Hackney’s father. We know they were close. We’re sure this is a painful time for Greg and his family. We wish all of them the best and hope that the Lord gives them the strength to get through it. 

As I’m working on this Becky and I are getting ready for a short vacation before the postseason events get started. We’re going to Iceland for a few days. Believe it or not they have some fantastic fishing up there, or so I’ve been told. 

The place is supposed to be full of trout and salmon as well as a fair number of graylings. We can’t wait to get there and spend some quiet time with each other. Of course, we’re packing our fly rods, too. There’s no way I can go for the best part of a week without catching something thatlives in the water.

At the same time, though, I’ve been thinking about my career and what it means to me. Next year will be my 20th straight Bassmaster Classic, assuming I catch at least one keeper in the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship down on Lake Chatuge in Georgia. 

As far as I know it’s the longest active streak going. That is something really special to me. The past few years I made a couple of them by having to win a late season event or by getting some help from what another angler is doing. This year it’s on me.

Making the Classic is no small thing, and it’s not easy. I’ll admit that there was a time when I thought it was something that just happened, no big deal. The year I thought that was the last year I didn’t qualify. As painful as that was it taught me a valuable lesson, one that I’ll never forget. 

Really, overall this year has been a good one. I didn’t win a tournament, but I did have a series of good, strong finishes with the exception of a couple of really bad events. I think I finished around 60 in one and around 80 in one. Otherwise I made a check in every tournament.

This column shouldn’t be taken as bragging, and I’m not patting myself on the back. What I am doing is taking a break and looking around. Some might call it smelling the roses. I appreciate what I have — my family, my career and in general my life.

This is a tough business. There are only so many tournaments, so many keeper bass and so many sponsors. Everyone is a competitor with everyone else for a piece of the pie. That’s pressure that never really goes away. No matter, sometimes you just have to stop and think about things. 

That’s hard to do that when you’re a workaholic like me. Hard or not, though, it’s important. Without doing that you get lost in the trees and never see the forest.

OK, that’s enough of the sentimental stuff. Next time we’ll get back to catching bass.

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