"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 is 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.
FISHING FOR A CURE. A star-studded line-up of CITGO Bassmaster pros, including Classic champion Michael Iaconelli, will be fishing for a great cause in the Angling Against Cancer Dinner and Tournament Nov. 1-2 in Kissimmee, Fla.
A product of the Kissimmee-St. Cloud Convention and Visitors Bureau, the 4- year-old event raises money for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jimmy Valvano, the V Foundation has raised more than $30 million and funded 190 research grants.
The event includes a benefit dinner, live entertainment (country singer Tracy Bird), auctions and a one-day tournament.
Among the pros entered in the tournament are Roland Martin, Tim Horton, Peter Thliveros, Kevin Wirth, Paul Elias, Chuck Economou, Pete Gluszek, Carroll Hagood, Elton Luce, Rick Lillegard, Scott Martin, Terry Scroggins, Sam Swett, David Walker and Charlie Younger.
For more information, contact the Kissimee-St. Cloud CVB at 800-831-1844 or 407-944-2427.
COACH CLUNN. Four-time Classic winner Rick Clunn will resume teaching his Advanced Angling and Outdoor Awareness School at his farm in Missouri in 2004.
The school, which will be staged Oct. 24-30, 2004, 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."
For more information: www.rickclunn.com.
DID YOU KNOW? Two future presidents once shared the stage and helped BASS founder Ray Scott weigh 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. 1. Missouri pro Tim Sainato turns 43 on Nov. 10. North Carolina's Guy Eaker, who becomes 63 on Nov. 23, 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 2002 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 Regional Sports Commission.