Mike Iaconelli’s personality leads to conversations among bass fishing fans that drip of the love-hate relationships more frequently discussed in pro wrestling or NASCAR. Regardless of the cheers or jeers, what the former college honor student has accomplished as an angler is at the very least admirable – and mostly mind-boggling.
With his 5th place finish at the Bassmaster Elite on Lake Wheeler, Iaconelli has now scored a Top 10 in 12 of the past 14 tournaments he’s fished. What makes Wheeler’s performance so impressive is that just one week earlier he was disastrous at Dardanelle, hinting that not only is Ike human like the rest of us, but that perhaps his glorious run had come to a screeching halt. Not so, Ike, climbed into his Tundra, likely screamed in disgust a time or two, steered it 6-hours east into northern Alabama, and proceed to wack 45 pounds at Lake Wheeler.
Ike was catching as many as 30 bass a day at Lake Wheeler. He was running and gunning, but remained focused on bluff walls that had a shallow ledge or lip rather than the totally vertical walls characteristic of most rocky bluffs. Mike drug a ½ ounce, green pumpkin, Berkley Gripper Finesse Jig on the ledges, or shelves, of the bluff walls. He would keep his boat in 20′ of water, and cast into the 6 – 10′ depths atop the ledges. When he encountered pockets along the bluffs, he would throw a shallow diving black and blue colored LaserLure around the points formed by the pockets.
Here’s the bottom line sports fans — Ike has scored a Top 10 in 86% of the last 14 tournaments he’s fished – a stat that doesn’t require a college honor student to judge it as mind boggling.