Iaconelli Counts on 'Fishing the Moment' Mentality in Summit Cup Championship - Major League Fishing

Iaconelli Counts on ‘Fishing the Moment’ Mentality in Summit Cup Championship

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March 22, 2018 • Joel Shangle • Cup Events

ALPENA, MI – If Las Vegas sports books had set a betting line for the 2018 MLF Wiley X Summit Cup Championship, it would have been awfully hard to bet against Mike Iaconelli.

Even though Iaconelli didn’t carry the same momentum into the Championship Round as perhaps Aaron Martens, and ultimately couldn’t match the efficiency of Skeet Reese – who won the Cup going away with 17 fish and 40 pounds, 11 ounces – the 2003 Bassmaster Classic champion has proven to be a major threat in Summit Cup competition, advancing to three championships in six events and winning the 2017 Summit Cup in Itasco County, Minnesota.

“You’re not fishing for second or third place in these events, you’re fishing for a championship,” Iaconelli said as he sipped his coffee the morning of the final day. “And I love that, man. It puts you in a championship mindset where you tend to push yourself further than you would in a three- or four-day event where the weights all carry over.”

Iaconelli cruised through his Elimination Round on Lake Hubbard with 25 pounds, 15 ounces, and then eked out the final spot in the championship with 22-13 during Sudden Death on Lake Winyah. He wasn’t as dominant as Martens, who rang up 22 fish for 54-0 in the first round, but the winner-takes-all immediacy of an MLF Cup Championship day was, according to Iaconelli, tailor-made for his competition mindset.

“The entire format where you’re fishing the moment is the deal for me,” Iaconelli admitted. “You sprinkle in the pressure of it being an all-or-nothing situation and it just makes you better. I feel like I excel under those conditions.”

Any preferences for a Championship lake?
A quick poll of the eight Championship Round anglers – Iaconelli, Martens, Lane, Skeet Reese, Jason Christie, Jacob Wheeler, Takahiro Omori and Timmy Horton – revealed no strong preference about the kind of Alpena County fishery they’d compete on, but Iaconelli admitted that a day of drop-shotting for smallmouth would suit him well.

“Deep, deep down in my heart, I was hoping for a smallmouth fishery where I could get going with my little spinning-rod deal,” Iaconelli said, referring to the pattern he developed through the second and third periods of his Elimination Round. “You try to approach these championship days with a totally clean mind, but at the same time, you’d be stupid not to bring your ‘baggage’ with you from the first two rounds.”