Inside the Tournament Trail

CITGO Bassmaster Classic Champion, Michael Iaconelli took time out of his busy schedule last week to visit BASS headquarters in Montgomery, Ala. to thank the staff for their efforts to grow the sport on behalf of all anglers.

"As Bassmaster Classic Champion, I realize I have a platform on which to build this sport," Iaconelli told staff members. "I want to work with you to make take bass fishing to new levels of popularity. I want to be the poster child for BASS."

Iaconelli stayed around for lunch, mingling with staff members, signing autographs and answering questions. Laurie Calloway, an advertising department assistant at BASS, got the chance to meet Iaconelli for the first time.

"He was so nice," said Calloway, "He autographed a Bassmaster Magazine for my daughter. He asked me if she fished and was very personable. The fact that he actually took time with everyone was great.

"Michael is young and so articulate, and down to earth which his good for a guy that is at the top of his sport."

WOO'S TRUE PASSION. Former Bassmaster Classic champion Woo Daves has several serious hobbies, including fishing and rabbit dogs. But his real passion is collecting arrowheads. The Virginia pro has thousands of these relics from the past.

"I've always collected arrowheads and other Native American tools," he said. "I've collected. 90 percent of them here in Virginia, but I've found artifacts from many of my travels."

Daves has even spotted some of his most cherished finds on the shoreline of tournament lakes during times of low water.

COACH CLUNN. For the second year, four-time Classic winner Rick Clunn is teaching his Advanced Angling and Outdoor Awareness School at his farm in Missouri.

The school, which will be staged Oct. 24-30, is heavy on redeveloping awareness skills and nature appreciation. "We will have a very qualified staff teaching the awareness and nature appreciation parts of the course," Clunn said." There is no other angling school like this. It is advanced and designed to push the envelope on what is presently …known in the angling world.

"The main purpose of the basic course is to reawaken your intuitive abilities and the vast reservoir of knowledge that lies within. The intellect is often wrong, but pure intuition is never wrong."

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DID YOU KNOW? Two future presidents once shared the stage and helped BASS founder Ray Scott weigh in bass during the 1984 Classic at Pine Bluff, Ark. — then vice-president George Bush and then-Gov. Bill Clinton.

PRO BIRTHDAYS. California's Mike Tyler will be 31 on Nov. 1st. Missouri pro Tim Sainato turns 43 on Nov. 10th. North Carolina's Guy Eaker, who becomes 63 on Nov. 23rd, keeps getting better with age.

IF I HADN'T BECOME A BASS PRO… J.T. Kenney, winner of last week's Southern Open on Lake Okeechobee, says he would likely still be guiding on Maryland lakes and rivers.

THEY SAID IT. "We first took a look at the Bassmasters Classic in 2001 at Birmingham. I was really floored by the event. It's just like NASCAR. Television doesn't do it justice. I had no idea it would be like that." Mike Mistler, director of operations for the Charlotte Sports Commission.