- Tim Tucker
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CELEBRATION, Fla. For many Bassmaster Elite Series pros, holding down the 39th spot in the yearlong Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings nearing the midway point of the season would be an acceptable position. After all, that standing puts the angler square in the middle of the race for a coveted invitation to the Bassmaster Classic the top 37 in the standings advance to the superbowl of bass fishing.
But Michael Iaconelli is anything but satisfied with 39th place. The controversial New Jersey pro who is the reigning Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year is not thrilled with his current Bassmaster Elite Series season.
"I'm having what I call a mediocre season," the 34-year-old said. "It seems like I'm figuring them out on the second day of every event and that's too late. You can't have a bad start.
"So I'm just kind of in the middle of the road. And for me it's frustrating and disappointing. But I think a lot of guys would be happy be to place in the 30s in the standings. But for me it feels unsatisfying especially after coming off such a good season."
Iaconelli started the Elite Series season in the style with which he is more accustomed a second-place finish on Texas' Lake Amistad. But since then, his performances have spiraled downward 54th, 56th, and a pair of 64ths.
"I don't know what else to do except keep fishing," he admitted. "You try to learn something from a bad tournament and move on. I've got a whole season ahead of me so I can't get down in the dumps and worry about what happened in the last one. I've got to look forward to the next one. I'm not really too worried about it, to be honest with you."
With six events remaining on the Elite Series circuit, Iaconelli still has ample time to move upwards in the AOY standings. The 2003 Classic champion still thinks he has a shot at retaining the coveted title.
"I think so," he replied. "What Kevin [VanDam] did last year proved you can come back from a devastating event and do it. Obviously, I'm going to have to have some really high finishes in the next couple of events. But it's possible. I've done stranger things in the past. So I've got to keep my head up and keep fishing."
With his Angler of the Year achievement last year came increase responsibilities and demands on his time. But Iaconelli refuses to fall back on such an excuse.
"I do have more obligations with sponsors and that tends to come after winning a title," he said. "So that's there. But I don't blame it on that. I try never to blame my performance on outside factors. It's me.
"I'm not catching the breaks this year. And that's fishing. I've been through it before and I'll go through it again, I'm sure. So I just have to fish through it."
BASS officials have announced the recipients in the 2006-2007 Costa Del Mar College Scholarship Program.
Daniel Garrett of Columbia, Mo., will receive a $5,000 graduate scholarship while undergraduate recipients of a $4,000 award are Thomas Maglio of Madison, Wi.; Casey Kidder of Topeka, Kansas; and Ryan Anderson of Honey Brook, Pa.
To be eligible to receive the scholarships, applicants seeking a degree in the natural resources field must be a BASS member and a BASS Federation Nation member or their immediate family has to be a Federation Nation member. Recipients must retain a standard grade point average to maintain the scholarship.
"We want to provide the BASS Federation Nations with a unique program only available to those members," said Chris Horton, director of BASS conservation. "These scholarships will help ensure that tomorrow's fisheries managers are actually anglers themselves or are from an angling background.
"Costa Del Mar is the perfect partner to sponsor this scholarship program. They have very similar conservation goals and initiatives that we have at BASS. Together, BASS and Costa Del Mar are helping to prepare resource professionals to meet the challenges of tomorrow."
The Amity, Ark., WBT pro will field questions from fishing fans on a variety of subjects following her win this past weekend at the third WBT event of the 2007 season on Alabama's Lake Guntersville.
Darrell Lowrance, founder of Lowrance Electronics, recently announced his retirement after 50 years in the marine business.
Lowrance sold the company to Simrad Yachting in early 2006. Lowrance was then incorporated into the Navico Group, based in Sweden. He plans to remain a member of Navico's Board of Directors.
Bassmaster Elite Series pros Paul Hirosky and Darrin Schwenkbeck took their love of fishing to students at DuBois Middle School in Pennsylvania last Thursday to participate in Project Success, an after-school program for special-needs students.
The pros were the main speakers at the school's football stadium where 200 to 300 students were bussed from throughout the DuBois school district. The gathering was open to middle- and high-school students as a voluntary after-school event.
The winner, according to Bassmaster Elite Series fans, in the second week of the Hottest Rig Running Contest was Virginia's John Crews with 37.5 percent of the vote. Missouri's Rick Clunn and 2007 Bassmaster Classic champion Boyd Duckett were second and third, respectively.
Fans can now vote among the select Elite Series pros in Week 3 to pick their favorite boat wraps. The selection of Elite Series angler for this week includes Louisiana's Greg Hackney and Oklahoma's Edwin Evers. The creativity of the pros and their primary sponsors will be on display throughout the 11 Elite Series tournaments. And you can see them at www.espnoutdoors.com/hottestrig.
Each week will feature a different group of anglers' boats for fans to vote on. The winning boat from each week will advance to the final round July 6-13. Second place boats from weeks 1-10 will be placed into a Second Chance Qualifier, where these boats will have the chance in week 11 to win a spot in the final round. Voting is limited to one vote per person each week. The winner of the contest will receive $10,000 and will be awarded at the Bassmaster Memorial presented by Evan Williams Bourbon in Syracuse, N.Y.
WHAT I LEARNED FROM BASSMASTER MAGAZINE.
Elite Series pro John Crews is an avid reader of Bassmaster Magazine.
"Absolutely. Bassmaster was one of the main reasons I got into tournament fishing," the Salem, Va., angler said. "A lot of the stuff that I learned from the magazine were the basics and it is stuff that I still use today."
DID YOU KNOW?
Arkansas' Mike McClelland is the only angler to win more than one Bassmaster Elite Series tournament.
IF I HADN'T BECOME A BASS PRO...
Two-time WBT winner Dianna Clark might still serve as a career military person if her love of fishing hadn't gotten in the way. The 42-year-old Tennessee angler served in the army aviation for 20 years, finishing as a technical inspector on Apache helicopters.
Clark served in the Gulf War, Germany and two stateside locations before retiring near Fort Campbell, Ky.
THEY SAID IT.
"As long as I can make a good, solid living, I'm not out for the glory. It's what I do to support my family. The glory aspect isn't important. The good Lord blessed me with skills and talent, and He's got a lot to do with what goes on in this world. As long as He allows me to provide for me and my family, I'm a happy camper." Elite Series pro Mike McClelland to The Arkansas Democrat Gazette on his current career.