Elite Series pro Michael Iaconelli has won almost everything a professional angler could desire. From tournaments, to a Bassmaster Classic victory, and ultimately a Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year title, Iaconelli has known success through all aspects of the sport.
There's no doubt that Iaconelli is one of the most consistent anglers in the business, and he's quick to point out that what he calls "fishing in the moment" is one of the biggest keys to his success. Put another way, he tries to forget past successes and hot spots and concentrates on conditions when and wherever he's fishing.
"Look at the guys who catch them all the time, like Skeet Reese and Kevin VanDam," he says. "You almost think that they must have a secret bait or technique. Really, it's because they're some of the best at fishing in the moment." Fishing in the moment, as Iaconelli explains, is often contrary to basic instinct. "It's one of the toughest things in all of fishing to overcome because we're human, and human nature is to rely on history," he points out. "Since we were in grade school, we've been brought up to remember things and then to rely on history to show the way forward."
Fishing from history is a trap that every angler who has ever picked up a rod and reel for the second time has had to deal with. Iaconelli explains that past history should be used as a guide and not as the game plan.
"You start thinking that the fish should be doing a certain thing or located in a specific spot," he explains. "It's good to put together a game plan, even several game plans, based on your fishing history at a certain lake, but you want to use that as a template and not something to be set in stone."
Ultimately, Iaconelli explains that every time you launch the boat, it's imperative that you're fishing in the moment. "What that means is that no matter how much you know about that lake, or how good you've done in a particular area, you have to go out and let the fish 'tell you' what to do," he says. "Basically, that involves just dropping the trolling motor and fishing until you get a bite — or don't get a bite. When you don't get a bite, that's pointing you in a particular direction; likewise, when you do finally get a bite, it's another step in the right direction."
At its very core, fishing is a simple sport. You make a cast and reel your bait in. However, in order to establish a pattern and achieve success, Iaconelli believes that multitasking is a requirement. "You have to ask a lot of questions when you catch a fish; that's the bottom line," he reveals. "In order to duplicate a bite or define a pattern, you need to know exactly what was happening when you got that first bite. Everything is a clue. That's the essence of fishing in the moment."
For Iaconelli and his "Never Give Up!" attitude, history is in the past. Everything about fishing is the present. "You have to understand that your history can really hurt you," he says. "Nothing out here happens by accident, and I can't tell you how many times fishing history instead of in the moment has hurt me over the years.
It hurts me to this day. Use past fishing history as your template, not your set-in-stone game plan."
(Provided by Z3 Media)