John's Journal...

Top Professional Bass Fishermen Say, We Fish to Win

Michael Iaconelli Fishes for Certain Size-Sized Bass

Click to enlargeEditor's Note: Why do some bass fishermen consistently win tournaments and other good, even great, bass anglers never win tournaments? To learn the answer to this question, I’ve interviewed some of the most-outstanding bass fishermen in the nation, and they all agree that to win an angler has to make a conscious decision to fish to win and leave the security of trying to catch a limit behind.

Michael Iaconelli of Runnemede, New Jersey, another hot young pro who fishes to win, won the Bassmaster Classic in 2003 and has won the B.A.S.S. Angler-of-the-Year title. "One of the secrets of fishing to win is knowing what size bass you haClick to enlargeve to catch to win a tournament on a specific lake at a certain time of year," Iaconelli advises. "I do a lot of research on the Internet before I ever go to a tournament. I research what size weights win bass tournaments on particular lakes during specific months of the year.

For instance, before we came to Lake Amistad on the Texas-Mexican border in March, 2007, I researched fishing-tournament results on the lake. One of the results was listed as ‘historical tournament results,’ so I knew before I went to the lake that I had to catch at least five bass a day totaling a specific weight to have a chance to win a tournament on Lake Amistad in March.

"On different lakes, you’ll get a variety of results. For example,Click to enlarge when we fished in Pittsburgh, I knew I had to catch 6 to 8 pounds of bass per day to win that tournament. The research also tells you the size and the kinds of baits you’ll more than likely have to fish to catch a limit of bass that size. You also have to factor in the water clarity and the seasonal patterns where you expect the bass to be holding. To find those bass, I have to look for the area of the lake that’s producing the most bass during the time I’ll be fishing.”

During practice aClick to enlarget Lake Amistad, Iaconelli fished 20-different pockets on the Mexican side of the lake and studied the weights of the fish caught at each. The next day he fished 30-different pockets on the U.S. side of the lake and looked at the grade of bass he caught there. After fishing 40- to 50-different pockets, he’d learned which pockets had the big bass in them.

"When you fish to win, you have to fish the section of the lake that contains the biggest bass during the time you’re fishing after you research what’s available in the lake and then you only fish the places where you’ve caught the bass,” Iaconelli advises. “The spots where I’ve found the biggest bass on most lakes have several key ingredients – shallow-water flats, places where deep water comes close to those big flats and nearby deep-water drop offs. I’ll identify those places while looking at a map of a lake I’ve never fished before."

Tomorrow: Research Tactics from Alabama’s Hot Young Pros


Check back each day this week for more about "Top Professional Bass Fishermen Say, We Fish to Win"

Day 1: Rick Clunn Fishes to Win
Day 2: Denny Brauer’s Gambling Attitude When He Fishes
Day 3: Michael Iaconelli Fishes for Certain Size-Sized Bass
Day 4: Research Tactics from Alabama’s Hot Young Pros
Day 5: Target Fishing with Top-Pro Kevin VanDam



Entry 398, Day 3