Classic 2016: Fishing to win


Steve Bowman
And then idling quickly to the next one.

Before I get into anything else I want to compliment Edwin Evers on his Bassmaster Classic win. He put together three solid days of fishing. That’s what it takes to be a Classic Champion.

As I was thinking about his win I got to thinking about how I fished the Classic as opposed to how I’ve fished other tournaments over the years. I hope what I have to say will help you become a better informed fan as this season unfolds.

Fishing to win isn’t always what drives us as professional anglers. I’m not saying we don’t want to win every tournament we fish. We do. At the same time, though, I know as a professional angler that sometimes your goal is different than that, especially if you know after a day or two that you’re not going to win.

There are times when we target ordinary bass so that we can make a cut and cash a check. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’d be the last guy to criticize someone for doing it. I’ve done it, for sure, and I’d guess that almost everyone on the tour has done it at one time or another. (I might live in a glass house but I don’t throw stones.)

Most of us have also done it to secure a Classic spot. Fishing the Classic is an important part of professional bass fishing. It gives you a certain amount of status, helps you develop and keep a fan base and it definitely helps with sponsors. I’ve fished for points over the years, and I’m not a little bit ashamed to admit it. It’s a part of the sport.

But there are other times when placing doesn’t get the job done. I’ve had a couple of years recently when I had to win a tournament to qualify for the Classic. Making a cut or catching a handful of ordinary bass would have done me no good. I fished for the winning fish with no regard for placing anywhere other than first. I had no other option. Second place was the same as last place.

The Classic sits out there all by itself in this discussion. Almost no one fishes to place. It’s not that kind of tournament. No one knows, or cares, if you finished 1 ounce out or 20 pounds out. If you didn’t win, you didn’t win. There’s no middle ground.

That’s why I’m OK with my Classic last week. I’d didn’t do anything special but I did try to win. I had a practice that I felt gave me a shot. I was getting between six and 10 bites a day on fish that might have won. I went with that pattern. It didn’t work. I didn’t win. It hurts but that the way the game is played.

Think about these things as you watch the season unfold. Know where the anglers are at in their careers and in their seasons. It’ll make you a more informed fan, and it might even help you with your fantasy picks. 

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