This week at the Lake Lewisville Bassmaster Elite 50, however, Iaconelli is well on his way to snap his two-year-plus BASS drought as he sits in the driver’s seat after bagging a 12-pound, 13-ounce limit that gives him a 15-ounce advantage over Missouri’s Brian Snowden.
“I really want to win this one,” the New Jersey pro said. “I’ve been so close, especially in this format, and this one would be really sweet.
“I caught a couple early, and had two keepers really quick,” Iaconelli continued. “A lot of times, when you start catching them early, you get pumped and the rest of the day just falls into place.”
Iaconelli’s big bag on the day will earn him an extra $1,000 by way of the Busch Heavyweight catch of the day. Additionally, due to his lead, Iaconelli has the luxury of picking which hole he will start in on Saturday’s final day of fishing.
Ike has two patterns he believes will work for him depending on which hole he’s fishing. The first is a finesse pattern that led to his early success on days one and two.
On Friday, he developed a different pattern – a power pattern – throwing a crankbait and a jig on woody cover in shallow water. He believes the power pattern and the finesse pattern give him the perfect one-two punch to take home the trophy on Saturday.
“If it’s meant to be, then I’ll win tomorrow,” Iaconelli said, “but if not, I’ll see you in Wisconsin [at the next Elite 50 event on Lake Wissota, June 15-18]. It would be really nice to get this win though.”
Hot on Iaconelli’s heels is Missouri’s Brian Snowden (11-15), who’s gunning for his first BASS win. His day included a four-pound, one-ounce bass that was good enough to win Purolator Big Bass of the Day honors and an extra $1,000.
Snowden caught the big bass while pitching a jig to a shallow boat dock. Although the jig caught his lunker, the rest of his fish struck a crankbait.
“The wind and cloudy skies today forced me to slow down and throw the crankbait,” Snowden said.
Behind Snowden is 2001 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion Kevin VanDam. He was the only angler other than Iaconelli to bring a limit to the scales in the third round. VanDam’s catch weighed 8-8 and is good enough for third place but still a disappointment to the man who dominated the first two days of competition, besting the rest of the field by more than 13 pounds.
When VanDam took the stage on Friday, he was met by Texas Parks & Wildlife Department personnel who presented him with a certificate for having taken the Lake Lewisville record largemouth bass of 11 pounds, 13 ounces on Wednesday.
“It’s pretty exciting to see a new record established this weekend,” said Rafe Brock, District Fisheries Biologist at the TPWD. “It’s good to see that the best anglers in the world have enjoyed Lake Lewisville so much this week, and the record bass just shows what an excellent fishery we have here.”
Rounding out the Super Six and surviving to fish Saturday’s finale are 1983 CITGO Bassmaster Classic champion Larry Nixon, Oklahoma’s Edwin Evers and Alabama’s Randy Howell.
The Super Six qualifiers will again fish the six-hole course tomorrow. Anglers will spend an hour and ten minutes in each hole and an additional “happy hour” fishing the hole of their choice.
Regardless of where any of the anglers finish in the standings, they all earn a check in the Elite 50 events. First place will receive $100,000. From there, the prize money gradually scales back until even the 50th place angler gets $5,000.
The anglers will launch at 10:00 a.m. at Sneaky Pete’s on the Final Day. The expo will begin at 1:00 pm at Lake Lewisville Park and the weigh-in will be start at 7:00 p.m.
Part one of the Bassmaster Elite 50 Series event on Lake Lewisville will be telecast on The CITGO Bassmasters on Saturday, June 11 at 10:00 a.m. ET on ESPN2. Part two will air on Saturday June 18 at 10:00 a.m. ET on ESPN2.
BASS is the world's largest fishing organization, sanctioning more than 20,000 tournaments worldwide through its Federation. The CITGO Bassmaster Tournament Trail, which includes the Bassmaster Elite 50 series, is the oldest and most prestigious pro bass fishing tournament circuit and continues to set the standard for credibility, professionalism and sportsmanship as it has since 1968.
Sponsors of the Bassmaster Elite 50 Series include CITGO Petroleum Corp., Toyota, Busch Beer, Purolator, Triton Boats, Mercury Marine, Berkley, Lowrance Electronics, MotorGuide, Bass Pro Shops and Cialis (tadalafil).
Local Sponsors include the Lewisville Visitors Bureau.
For more information, contact BASS Communications at (407) 566-2208 or visit www.bassmaster.com.