How to win the Classic, part 2



Editor's note: Read part 1.

Classic winners will have an area to themselves, at least for a part of the time.

Almost always you’ll see that the winner has found an area, or a spot within an area, that no one else has found. He’ll be fishing off by himself without the problems that other anglers in the immediate area create.

Anglers watch each other. We all do it. It’s a fact of professional bass fishing. Most of the time, though, it’s better if no one else is within sight. That’ll give you a little more time to think things through and maybe swap baits around without anyone else seeing what you’re doing. It’s bad enough to share water. It’s much worse to share baits and techniques.

Classic winners have good fortune with their equipment and other things.

We have the best equipment made and the best support people available. But nothing is perfect. If it’s made by man, it’ll break somewhere along the line. It’s fine to have it repaired but that doesn’t make up for lost time. Every cast counts. That’s especially true in a Classic.

You’ll not win with a broken trolling motor, busted lower unit or malfunctioning electronics. You need everything to function at it’s supposed to every minute you’re fishing. You can make up time in some tournaments but never in a Classic.

Another thing that happens with winners is that they rarely lose a fish. Things seem to always go their way. Hooksets are magical.

We often hear about the one that shakes loose at the boat just before it comes on board. We don’t often hear about the one where the hook drops out of its mouth just after it comes on board. But that’s exactly what happens with the winner. His hooks drop out in the boat, not alongside of it. If something can go wrong, it doesn’t.

And then there are the intangible things. The winner throws to the left side of the log rather than the right. And, it just so happens that the fish on the left is bigger than the one on the right. Nobody knew that and maybe it doesn’t even make sense. It just happens.

Classic winners block out the pressure.

When it’s crunch time on Sunday the winner will be able to block everything out of his mind except catching big bass. He won’t pay attention to the spectator boats around him. He’ll hardly know they’re there. He won’t backlash.  

He’ll stay focused. He’ll not forget to retie, and he’ll make sure his hooks are sharp. He’ll think before he makes a cast and every cast will have a specific purpose and that purpose will pay off.

When you stop to think about all of this you’ll begin to understand why it’s so tough to put together everything you need to win a Classic, and why so few anglers have done it. It’s a test like no other. 

Stay tuned for Houston. It’s going to be one heck of a week.

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