Storm Coming: Iaconelli Expects Minnesota to Provide Fast Fishing Action - Major League Fishing

Storm Coming: Iaconelli Expects Minnesota to Provide Fast Fishing Action

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March 25, 2017 • Lynn Burkhead • Cup Events

To say that Jack Links Major League Fishing Pro Mike Iaconelli is a confident angler this week in northern Minnesota might be a bit of an understatement.

In fact, as Ike worked on tackle prior to his first round of MLF Summit Cup competition, there almost seemed to be a far-away gleam in his eye.

A gleam that seems to indicate that the New Jersey pro sees a perfect storm of fishing conditions about to collide here in the North Country.

For starters, the fisheries in and around Grand Rapids, Minn. where the 2017 General Tire Summit Cup is being contested this week are in a great part of the bass fishing world.

“A lot of times, these fisheries up here are so good because they are just underfished,” said Iaconelli, the 2003 Bassmaster Classic champ and the 2006 B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year.

“And by underfished, there are two scenarios on that,” he added. “One is that not many dudes target bass. Walleye, pike, crappie and bluegill species are way at the head of the list ahead of largemouths and smallmouths.”

What’s the second scenario in Ike’s mind?

“The second one is the seasons,” said Ike, winner of eight B.A.S.S. events and one FLW Tour event. “I mean, we’re in northern Minnesota and they literally fish up here – open water fish, that is, not ice fish – from April until October.

“The rest of the year, the fish don’t get fished. It’s not like it is down south where the fish get fished 12 months out of the year,” he added.

“Those two factors, usually, they make these lakes fish factories.”

If the lack of pressure is one reason that Ike expects a slugfest here in northern Minnesota, another reason is the presence of northern strain largemouth bass.

“Northern largemouths are definitely more apt to bite after a cold front,” Iaconelli said.

“A Florida-strain largemouth, if you get a cold front that comes through and drops the water temperature five degrees, those largemouths are toast. But here, they are (just) so used to it. I’ve actually seen it work in reverse on northern strains. Which is a cold front comes through and drops the water temperature five degrees and they (actually) bite better.

“So it’s just the opposite up here (as compared to down south).”

While he certainly expects to see the largemouths play a role in the outcome of this week’s Summit Cup, Iaconelli plans to not limit his options to one species over the other.

In fact, he expects to target and catch both the green fish (largemouths) and the brown fish (smallmouths).

“I’d say I’m going to target both,” he said. “A keeper is a keeper (in MLF competition). If it measures 12-inches, it’s weight towards my total.”

As Ike surveyed the electronic mapping during our interview, he did reiterate that Major League Fishing pros don’t know where they will fish prior to an event in addition to not being allowed to do any Intel gathering.

Because of that, he noted that he and the other anglers will be somewhat in the dark until they get out on the water today.

“I don’t know what to expect,” he said. “As I’m looking at the lake right now, I’m thinking that it could be both, largemouths and smallmouths, that come into play here today.”

How will he decide which to pursue today?

“I’ll let the first two or three catches of the day dictate which species I need to target more,” Iaconelli said. “Boy, if it’s a 12-incher, screw it. I want it, as long as it’s a bass, of course.”

With all of the above duly noted, Iaconelli is curious to see what effect an approaching front with accompanying storms and a wind shift will do to the fishing action today.

“You know, the book says that today is the most ideal day,” Ike said. “The front is coming, the barometer is dropping, we’ve got clouds in the sky. The book says that today is going to be a smoking day.

“But as I mentioned just a second ago, I’ve seen it work in reverse,” he added. “I’ve seen the front is coming through and it’s so-so. The next day, the front passes and it’s a bluebird, high pressure kind of day and the water is colder and you think ‘Man, this will be a tough day,’ and they freaking shoot.

“That can be especially true in the late summer and early fall. So because of that, I’m not going to make any assumptions about whether it’s going to be a great day or an average day.”

The looming weather change notwithstanding, Ike expects the fishing to be solid here near Grand Rapids because of the approaching change in seasons.

“Up here, the first couple of cold fronts at the end of August and the first of September signal to these fish to make their move to the early fall pattern, the traditional fall feed.

“You don’t need many, just one or two little cold snaps to come through,” he added. “Lake vegetation starts dying just a little, the days start getting just a little shorter and dude, those fish just know.

“They just know that they have to start feeding up because they know it (cold weather) is coming. By November, it’s going to be a freaking disaster for them (up here) so they’ve got to start eating (now).”

And with that Ike went back to work on his tackle.

Because as he sat atop the front deck of his Major League Fishing bass boat, he looked out across the water and saw that a storm was coming.

A fish catching storm, that is, and one that he wants to be very much in the middle of later on today.