The zany antics of Mike Iaconelli on television can be misleading. Viewers of his City Limits fishing show and The Bassmasters might get the impression that the Elite Series pro does everything spontaneously, but on a typical tournament day he actually follows a routine in a relatively calm, calculated manner.
"The first day of a four-day event is actually the hardest day because I'm basically practicing like a maniac until an hour before the meeting on Wednesday, then I go to the meeting and by the time I get home there is still lots of stuff to do," says Iaconelli. BASS Insider looks at Iaconelli's schedule on the opening day of an Elite Series event from wake up to lights out.
The New Jersey pro wakes up at 4:30 a.m. and starts the day with a breakfast sandwich, vitamins and juice. "There were a lot of years where I wouldn't eat breakfast in the morning, but in the last four or five years I've gotten into a routine on what I eat in the morning and on the water," he says. It is a quick breakfast for me, especially with everything that is happening in the morning. I want something I can do quickly, and it still gives me energy to start the day."
After packing his rods and hooking up the trailer, Iaconelli heads for the lake where he makes sure he arrives about a half hour before launch. "That gives me plenty of time to put the boat in the water and put the finishing touch on tackle prep," he says. "Obviously I don't want to be late to launch, but I like to sleep as long as I can and just make sure everything is right at the house before I get to the launch."
When he's on the clock, Iaconelli has no time for lunch breaks so he consumes quick meals (energy bars and healthy snacks) while moving between stops. After checking in and weighing his catch, Iaconelli sticks around the tournament site to sign autographs and mingle with the fans.
"After I weigh in I'm usually there for an hour to an hour and a half every day, based upon the fans. That is important to me and my fan base and for my brands. It's also important for the sport for guys to dedicate that time to the fans."
Iaconelli also uses the time to visit with the service crews of Yamaha, Bass Cat, Lowrance and Berkley to take care of any maintenance or equipment needs he encountered that day.
There is no rest for the weary once he arrives back at his place. "The next couple of hours are all work again," Iaconelli says. "The first thing I do is plug in the boat and get those batteries charging. Then it is going back over what I did that day and managing tackle (respooling line, restocking lures and rearranging tackle in the boat). I am big on respooling reels, and every one I use extensively throughout the day I am going to respool (with help from his wife, Becky). If I have 10 reels I have to respool, Becky will take the line off to help me save time."
Dinner is usually at 6 or 7 p.m. During this precious time of relaxation, he usually talks to his traveling buddies, John Crews and Ish Monroe, about their days on the water. "We agree never to share exact spots, but we do talk about what was successful for us in terms of patterns and baits," says Iaconelli.
After dinner and a shower, Iaconelli hops in bed with his maps and notes by 9 o'clock. "I will reanalyze what happened during the day and then try to re-strategize for the next day. That is how I usually end up passing out every night.
There has been more than one night when I woke up and the maps were all across me." Sleep usually comes to this spent competitor after about a half-hour of map reading.