Iaconelli Wins Big On His Home Waters (Bassmaster Classic)

With an early August win in front of a friendly home crowd on the Delaware River, Michael Iaconelli picked up a 55-pound Elite Series trophy and a berth in the Bassmaster Classic.

Ike nailed what few anglers have been able to: win a Bassmaster Elite Series event on home water. He topped that by whipping the field by no less than 8 pounds.

Photo By Gary Tramontina

His winning total was 47 pounds, 14 ounces—a respectable weight for any midsummer tournament, and, as Iaconelli pointed out, proof that the Delaware River is a fishery worth any bass angler’s time.

His prize was $100,000 and qualification for the 2015 Bassmaster Classic. It was a relief for Iaconelli, who would have had an uphill climb to clinch an entry into the world championship through points earned at each event.

Iaconelli won by having spots to hit at low, mid and high tides. His low-tide spots were on industrial docks on the main river adjacent to large flats. His prime mid-tide spot was a barge at the mouth of Timber Creek, near where he grew up in New Jersey.

“Every incoming tide, that place lights up because current washes through the barge,” he said.

His hottest ace was having spots to go to during high tides. The best were big concrete drains that bring water in and out of tidal ponds. The drains, only accessible to a caster in high water, have iron grates, but the bass slip between the bars in search of the ponds’ forage, Iaconelli said.

Iaconelli, the only angler in the event to turn in four five-bass limits, said he caught 80 percent of his bass—all largemouth—on two lures. One was a 1/2-ounce prototype finesse jig he’s helping design for Missile Jigs. The color was brown-purple. He tipped the jig with a high-action Berkley Chigger Chunk in green pumpkin.

His other key bait was a Berkley Havoc Pit Boss in “Okeechobee craw”—green pumpkin and blue metal flake. The setup on the Pit Boss was a 3/8-ounce VMC tungsten weight and a 5/0 VMC flipping hook.

Iaconelli now has eight Bassmaster wins on his resume, which includes another Elite trophy on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville in 2006. He is the only angler in competition history to have claimed the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship (1999), Bassmaster Classic (2003) and Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year (2006).

The 2012 Classic champion, Chris Lane of Guntersville, Ala., finished second with 39-14. Lane landed the largest bass of the day, a 3-14.

Third, fourth and fifth places were taken by Jason Christie of Park Hill, Okla. (39-1); Kevin Short of Mayflower, Ark. (39-0); and Shaw Grigsby of Gainesville, Fla. (36-15).

In the points standings, Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La., uprooted the leader over six consecutive events on the 2014 Elite trail, Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Ark. Davis fell to seventh place. Aaron Martens, the 2013 AOY, became Hackney’s strongest challenger, only one tick behind.


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