By David A. Brown
BASS PRESS RELEASE
|Molix Lover, jig and crankbait key to big win.|
Mike Iaconelli knew his fate depended on low water, so the Pitts Grove, N.J., pro made a key decision during Saturday’s final round of the Basspro.com Bassmaster Eastern Open on the James River.
After placing sixth in Thursday’s opening round with 15 pounds, 2 ounces, Iaconelli repeated that weight Friday and took the lead with 30-4. Then Saturday, for the third day in a row — while much of the field ran far downriver to the James River tributary, the Chickahominy River — Iaconelli stayed closer to the main river take-off site so he could take advantage of the morning tide schedule.
That decision led to a five-bass limit that weighed 13-12 and pushed him to victory with a three-day weight of 44 pounds.
The tournament started with a small window of morning low water, with another window on the afternoon change. But with tides advancing an hour each day, the final round saw tournament hours overlapping only the morning low.
“The low water was the key,” said Iaconelli, who earned $39,000 for his first B.A.S.S. victory since 2014. “I didn’t mind if it was incoming or outgoing, but lower water stages were the key.”
Iaconelli fished what he called a “trout stream pattern,” which basically meant he pushed as far back as most anglers will push — and then kept pushing. Depths were sketchy, but referencing similar scenarios he fishes on his Delaware River home waters, Iaconelli knew he would find two important benefits: The creek’s lowest water and largely unmolested fish.