Florida’s Jesse Tacoronte earned an invite to fish the Bassmaster Elite Series by finishing fourth in the Bassmaster Northern Open AOY standings in 2016. He plans to treat his potential venture into the Elites as he would any of his other businesses.
“It’s not something I intend to go into for one year,” Tacoronte said. “I see it as an opportunity to build a great business if it’s done the right way.”
Given Tacoronte’s history, he is likely to find the right way to be successful on the Elite Series tour. Throughout his adult life, Tacoronte has changed occupations whenever the state of the economy presented him with an opportunity to cash in.
“If I see something hot, I’m going to jump on it,” Tacoronte said.
His varied occupations include being a banker, a real estate broker and a contractor. Tacoronte also has a 50 Ton Master Captain’s License and chartered a 47-foot Buddy Davis sport fishing yacht for 12 years, specializing in yellowfin tuna. He sold the boat in 2012.
It doesn’t end there. Tacoronte currently owns an Internet marketing company, Liberty Marketing, and is co-owner of Enigma Fishing with his 24-year-old son, Cody. They came up with the name Enigma because it fits the personality of Bassmaster Elite Series pro Aaron Martens, whom they sponsor.
You get the feeling there isn’t anything Tacoronte can’t do once he sets his mind to it, especially when it involves making money. After graduating from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, Tacoronte didn’t waste a second getting down to the business of generating an income.
“College wasn't for me,” Tacoronte said. “In 1985 Las Vegas was the fastest growing city in the U.S. It offered many money making opportunities, and I chose to start a business instead.”
Besides Tacoronte’s business ventures, fishing has also been an essential part of his existence. His father, Eldo, began taking Tacoronte saltwater fishing when he was 4 years old. He caught his first bass at age 12 from a park in Las Vegas. The 6-pound largemouth is seared into Tacoronte’s memory.
“I’ll never forget it,” Tacoronte said. “I caught it on a 6-inch black Creme Worm, Texas rigged.”
The bass fell victim to Tacoronte’s first baitcasting outfit, a 5-foot, 6-inch, pistol gripped Cabela’s Fish Eagle graphite rod and a red Abu Garcia 5500 reel that his father bought for $7.
“I still have that reel,” Tacoronte said.
At age 14 Tacoronte joined the Las Vegas Bass Club and won his first club tournament as a non-boater. At 18 he became the club’s president and served as president until he was 21.
In addition to club tournaments, Tacoronte began fishing the Western Division of the Red Man circuit. He qualified for several All Americans in the late 80s and early 90s. At age 20 he won a Red Man tournament at Lake Mead and came close to winning the AOY title. He lost by one point to Elite Series pro John Murray.
“John Murray and I have been buddies for 30 years,” Tacoronte said. “He was the first guy I called when I made the Elites.”
During his early tournament years, Tacoronte toyed with the idea of becoming a bass pro. After Cody was born, he put the notion on hold for 21 years. Family would come first.
However, Tacoronte didn’t quit bass fishing altogether. He served as the tournament director for the American Bass Association and won team trails on the Colorado River several times. He also continued to compete in local tournaments after relocating to central Florida in 1996. He often fishes tournaments with his wife, Danielle.
“Danielle loves it,” Tacoronte said. “She and I have won a lot of tournaments together.”
Besides his businesses and bass tournament involvement, Tacoronte also competed in motocross until age 45.
“I was on the track three to four days a week with Cody and Danielle,” he said.
While bass fishing in Western lakes, Tacoronte learned how to catch bass on gossamer line from water as deep as 100 feet. When he moved to Florida, he learned how to fish shallow grass. The Northern Opens have also expanded Tacoronte’s bass fishing knowledge.
“I think that combination will help me on the Elite tour,” Tacoronte said.
A few years after Cody graduated from high school, Tacoronte again considered the possibility of becoming a bass pro. Since 2012 he has competed in 24 Bassmaster Southern and Northern Opens. He also fished the Bassmaster Classic Wildcard event in 2013 at Lake Okeechobee and BASSfest in 2015 at Kentucky Lake.
With an invitation to the 2017 Elite Series tour, Tacoronte, at age 49, plans to seriously get down to the business of catching bass.
Tacoronte’s sponsors are Enigma Fishing, Bob’s Machine Shop, Toho Marine, Humminbird, Stanley Jigs, Core Strike Baits, Mercury Marine, Solar Bat Sunglasses and Power-Pole.