Most dads received a relaxing day at home Sunday, perhaps a nice meal, a card and gifts. Maybe they sat in a recliner and watched golf, baseball or basketball. Most Bassmaster Elites had no such comforts.
“With the tournament, that kind of threw a wrench into Father’s Day. Today ended up being more like a work day,” Mike Iaconelli said after completing his relatively short trek to Cayuga Lake.
Work was preparing tackle, finalizing gear and packing vehicles for a four-and-a-half-hour caravan to the campsite for this week’s Busch Beer Bassmaster Elite at Cayuga Lake. Ike towed the boat and Becky followed with Vegas and Estella and a 43-foot Fifth Wheel.
“Father’s Day has seemed more like a work day, but even in that, it’s nice because we have most of the family with us here this week,” Ike said.
And the Iaconellis found some familiar faces in camp, with the DeFoes, Kennedys and even former Elite Kevin Short and wife. Ike said he makes up some miles on his competitors during the northern swings. Most other had drives between 10 and 20 hours.
“For me, this time of year, in the home stretch up north, the drives for us become shorter,” he said. “It’s 3 hours to the Potomac, and the Mississippi River is only 7 or 8. They become a lot less.”
Despite varying degrees of wariness, Ike said there was some Father’s Day comradery in the campground 10 minutes from the launch site, along with all working on final bait prep and making sure batteries were charged and waypoints were entered.
Chris Lane also brought Father’s Day with him. He and wife, Holly, loaded up Cal, Hunter, Hannah and Coleman and for the nearly 1,000-mile trek. They were getting close to Cayuga midday Sunday, with plans for all in a rented house on the lake.
“I think they’re going to go to some swimming holes, some state parks. I think they’re actually going to enjoy the lake,” Lane said. “There’s kayaks there, they’re going to get out, paddle around, enjoy the beautiful Finger Lakes. I think a lot of anglers have brought their families.”
Lane is just a “hop, skip and a jump” from Frontenac Park, where the 108 Elites will launch daily at 6:15 a.m. ET. He can leave his boat in the water at the dock and get a couple extra minutes of sleep every day.
“Absolutely, and with this heat, I can use it,” he said.
Lane is hoping for a better finish than the 2014 August event at Cayuga. After a second-place to Iaconelli on the Delaware, Lane missed the cut, but he’s thinking things will be better for him this time with less grass, which hampered fishing in some areas.
“That’s two months of heat and we know how fast grass can grow in heat,” he said. “So when we get out there, it should be lights out. The bass should bite anything you throw at them.”
The forecast calls for 90s on Monday’s first day of practice, but things cool off the next three days with highs in the upper 70s. Rain is expected Thursday then temps climb into the 80s on Friday and into the 90s for the weekend, although with less humidity than most are accustomed to.
“I think it’s going to be good. Wind might hurt a little bit,” Iaconelli said. “Traditionally this time of year, there’s a lot of fish caught. The weights are real tight. So you’re going to have 30 guys less than a pound apart. That’s going to make for a fun tournament. Hopefully, I’m on the positive side of that.”