Iaconelli Takes Lead On Guntersville With ‘Magical’ Opening Day - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Iaconelli Takes Lead On Guntersville With ‘Magical’ Opening Day

Anglers are getting ready for the tournament. (Source: WAFF) Anglers are getting ready for the tournament. (Source: WAFF)
Iaconelli Takes Lead On Guntersville With ‘Magical' Opening Day

GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – Michael Iaconelli arrived in Alabama Sunday limping on a swollen right ankle, and he went to bed Wednesday night worried the fish he had found in practice would disappear due to rapidly rising water temperatures.

But neither issue was a problem once he hit the water Thursday morning.

Iaconelli had what he called a “magical day” in the Diet Mtn Dew Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville, taking the opening-round lead with five bass that weighed 28 pounds, 2 ounces. The New Jersey pro's best single-day catch in recent memory was one of many head-turners on a day when it took 21-0 to crack the Top 20.

Kelly Jordon (26-1), Bernie Schultz (25- 8), Skeet Reese (24-15) and Kelley Jaye (24- 4) rounded out the Top 5 with eye-popping catches of their own.

“The water temperature in practice on Monday was 60 degrees,” said Iaconelli, who injured his ankle during last month's Bassmaster Elite at Sabine River presented by STARK Cultural Venues in Texas. “By Wednesday, it was 65 to 67 degrees. That's a huge difference, and I kind of knew those fish I found in practice were going to go away.”

Rather than going completely back to the drawing board, Iaconelli just moved with the fish.

“Today, I tried to visualize where they went,” he said. “Knowing the water went up six or seven degrees, I knew they didn't go deeper. Everything wants to spawn right now, and I tried to visualize the route they would take.”

Iaconelli, who is often much more open with details of how he's catching fish during tournaments than other anglers, wouldn't say much about his techniques Thursday. He said he wasn't sight fishing for bedding fish like many of the other top anglers, and he said he was fishing “all new water” with a “new bait.”

“I marked about 30 fish on beds during practice, and I'm not saying I won't have to do that eventually,” said Iaconelli, who won an Elite Series event on Guntersville in 2006. “But that's not my strength. That would be like telling Kevin VanDam (a noted power fisherman) to go out finesse fishing.”

The fact that Iaconelli is not sight fishing for spawning bass might play to his advantage if thunderstorms and heavy rains move into the region Thursday night and Friday morning as predicted. That nasty weather could cause headaches for anglers like Jordon and Schultz, who relied heavily on spawning fish during the opening round.

Jordon struggled early with a sight fishing game plan Thursday, only to see it come together rapidly after 10:30 a.m. as he culled his way up to 26-1. But he's worried about what a nasty bout of thunderstorms could do to the fish he's depending on.

“The thunderstorms will run the fish off the beds,” said Jordon, who finished first in a Bassmaster Tour event on Guntersville in 2006. “I mean it is what it is. But man, it sure would be more fun if they'd just hold off a little while.”

Schultz also targeted shallow spawners for a catch of 25-8 that included two bass over 6 pounds. The second 6-pounder almost didn't make it in his boat after wrapping around his trolling motor shaft and forcing him to pull the line in by hand.

He said stormy weather could take the all-important “sight” element out of his sight fishing.

“It's not going to help, because you won't be able to see the fish,” Schultz said. “With the bigger fish, you've got to look at them and really work them. They're not easy. They're just not aggressive at all.”

No one was more surprised to see Reese find his way into the Top 5 than Reese himself.

After a particularly tough practice, the popular California pro decided to do something “completely different” Thursday. It resulted in a catch of 24-15 that he said could have been even better.

“I lost two big ones today that would have been nice to have,” said Reese, winner of the 2010 Elite Series Southern Challenge on Guntersville. “But to catch almost 25 pounds after the practice I had, I'm tickled to death. I'll go out tomorrow, put the raingear on and see what happens.”

The 113-angler field will be trimmed to the Top 53 after Friday's round. Take-off is scheduled for 6:15 a.m. from Guntersville City Harbor, with the weigh-in scheduled back at the launch site at 3 p.m.

Local host for the event is the Marshall County CVB. 


2015 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Toyota, Bass Pro Shops, Berkley, Evan Williams Bourbon, GoPro, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Skeeter Boats, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2015 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: A.R.E. Accessories, Carhartt, Dick Cepek Tires & Wheels, Huk Performance Fishing, Livingston Lures, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Rigid Industries, Shimano

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 500,000-member organization's fully integrated media platforms include the industry's leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (
Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2), social media programs and events. For more than 45 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Open Series presented by Allstate, Old Milwaukee B.A.S.S. Nation events, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Costa Bassmaster High School Series, Toyota Bonus Bucks Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro.

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Media Contact: Helen Northcutt, 205-313-0944, hnorthcutt@bassmaster.com or Dave Precht, 205-313-0931, dprecht@bassmaster.com.

2015 Diet Mtn Dew Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville 4/9-4/12
Lake Guntersville, Guntersville  AL.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1

   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   Total $$$


1.  Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  28-02  100
  Day 1: 5   28-02   
2.  Kelly Jordon           Flint, TX                5  26-01   99
  Day 1: 5   26-01   
3.  Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  25-08   98
  Day 1: 5   25-08   
4.  Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  24-15   97
  Day 1: 5   24-15   
5.  Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  24-04   96
  Day 1: 5   24-04   
6.  Kevin Ledoux           Choctaw, OK              5  24-03   95
  Day 1: 5   24-03   
7.  Matt Lee               Auburn , AL              5  23-15   94
  Day 1: 5   23-15   
8.  Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             5  23-11   93
  Day 1: 5   23-11   
9.  Brent Ehrler           Newport Beach, CA        5  23-08   92
  Day 1: 5   23-08   
10. John Crews Jr          Salem, VA                5  23-05   91
  Day 1: 5   23-05   
11. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  5  23-02   90
  Day 1: 5   23-02   
12. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  23-01   89
  Day 1: 5   23-01   
13. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  23-00   88
  Day 1: 5   23-00   
14. Brandon Palaniuk       Rathdrum, ID             5  22-04   87
  Day 1: 5   22-04   
14. Jacob Powroznik        Port Haywood, VA         5  22-04   87
  Day 1: 5   22-04   
16. Shaw Grigsby Jr.       Gainesville, FL          5  22-03   85
  Day 1: 5   22-03   
17. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     5  22-02   84
  Day 1: 5   22-02   
18. Bobby Lane Jr.         Lakeland, FL             5  21-07   83
  Day 1: 5   21-07   
19. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  21-04   82
  Day 1: 5   21-04   
20. Nate Wellman           Newaygo, MI              5  21-00   81
  Day 1: 5   21-00   
21. Tim Horton             Muscle Shoals, AL        5  20-09   80
  Day 1: 5   20-09   
22. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  20-07   79
  Day 1: 5   20-07   
22. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            5  20-07   79
  Day 1: 5   20-07   
24. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  5  20-06   77
  Day 1: 5   20-06   
24. Kevin Short            Mayflower, AR            5  20-06   77
  Day 1: 5   20-06   
26. Brandon Lester         Fayetteville, TN         5  20-01   75
  Day 1: 5   20-01   
27. Carl Jocumsen          Queensland TX AUSTRALIA  5  19-14   74
  Day 1: 5   19-14   
28. Cliff Pace             Petal, MS                5  19-11   73
  Day 1: 5   19-11   
28. Derek Remitz           Grant, AL                5  19-11   73
  Day 1: 5   19-11   
30. Dennis Tietje          Roanoke, LA              5  19-09   71
  Day 1: 5   19-09   
31. Hank Cherry Jr         Maiden, NC               4  19-07   70
  Day 1: 4   19-07   
32. Justin Lucas           Guntersville, AL         5  19-06   69
  Day 1: 5   19-06   
33. David Mullins          Mt Carmel, TN            5  19-05   68
  Day 1: 5   19-05   
34. Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL              5  19-04   67
  Day 1: 5   19-04   
34. J Todd Tucker          Moultrie, GA             5  19-04   67
  Day 1: 5   19-04   
36. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              5  19-02   65
  Day 1: 5   19-02   
37. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                5  19-00   64
  Day 1: 5   19-00   
37. Charlie Hartley        Grove City, OH           5  19-00   64
  Day 1: 5   19-00   
39. Byron Velvick          Boenre, TX               5  18-13   62
  Day 1: 5   18-13   
40. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  18-12   61
  Day 1: 5   18-12   
40. Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  18-12   61
  Day 1: 5   18-12   
42. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            5  18-11   59
  Day 1: 5   18-11   
43. Kotaro Kiriyama        Moody, AL                5  18-08   58
  Day 1: 5   18-08   
43. Jordan Lee             Vinemont, AL             5  18-08   58
  Day 1: 5   18-08   
45. Paul Mueller           Naugatuck, CT            5  18-07   56
  Day 1: 5   18-07   
46. Mark Menendez          Paducah, KY              5  18-06   55
  Day 1: 5   18-06   
47. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        5  18-00   54
  Day 1: 5   18-00   
48. Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            5  17-13   53
  Day 1: 5   17-13   
49. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          5  17-10   52
  Day 1: 5   17-10   
50. Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  17-06   51
  Day 1: 5   17-06   
51. Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ              5  17-05   50
  Day 1: 5   17-05   
52. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               5  17-04   49
  Day 1: 5   17-04   
52. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                5  17-04   49
  Day 1: 5   17-04   
54. Brett Hite             Phoenix, AZ              5  17-02   47
  Day 1: 5   17-02   
55. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         5  17-01   46
  Day 1: 5   17-01   
56. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                5  16-11   45
  Day 1: 5   16-11   
57. Chad Morgenthaler      Coulterville, IL         5  16-10   44
  Day 1: 5   16-10   
58. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  16-09   43
  Day 1: 5   16-09   
59. Matt Reed              Madisonville, TX         5  16-07   42
  Day 1: 5   16-07   
60. Chris Zaldain          San Jose, CA             5  16-05   41
  Day 1: 5   16-05   
61. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           5  16-01   40
  Day 1: 5   16-01   
62. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  15-15   39
  Day 1: 5   15-15   
62. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              5  15-15   39
  Day 1: 5   15-15   
64. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  15-13   37
  Day 1: 5   15-13   
65. Davy Hite              Ninety Six, SC           5  15-12   36
  Day 1: 5   15-12   
66. Brandon Coulter        Knoxville, TN            5  15-09   35
  Day 1: 5   15-09   
66. Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI            5  15-09   35
  Day 1: 5   15-09   
68. Randy Allen            Shreveport, LA           5  15-08   33
  Day 1: 5   15-08   
68. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  15-08   33
  Day 1: 5   15-08   
68. David Williams         Maiden, NC               5  15-08   33
  Day 1: 5   15-08   
71. Matt Herren            Ashville, AL             5  15-06   30
  Day 1: 5   15-06   
72. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            5  15-05   29
  Day 1: 5   15-05   
73. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               5  15-04   28
  Day 1: 5   15-04   
73. Jason Williamson       Wagener, SC              5  15-04   28
  Day 1: 5   15-04   
75. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  15-03   26
  Day 1: 5   15-03   
75. Fred Roumbanis         Bixby, OK                5  15-03   26
  Day 1: 5   15-03   
77. Scott Ashmore          Broken Arrow, OK         5  15-01   24
  Day 1: 5   15-01   
78. Kurt Dove              Del Rio, TX              5  14-14   23
  Day 1: 5   14-14   
79. Seth Feider            Bloomington, MN          5  14-11   22
  Day 1: 5   14-11   
80. Boyd Duckett           Guntersville, AL         5  14-10   21
  Day 1: 5   14-10   
80. Chad Pipkens           Holt, MI                 5  14-10   21
  Day 1: 5   14-10   
82. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          5  14-09   19
  Day 1: 5   14-09   
83. Zell Rowland           Montgomery, TX           5  14-05   18
  Day 1: 5   14-05   
84. Micah Frazier          Newnan, GA               5  14-04   17
  Day 1: 5   14-04   
85. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  14-02   16
  Day 1: 5   14-02   
86. Randy Howell           Springville, AL          5  14-00   15
  Day 1: 5   14-00   
87. Mike Kernan            Wylie, TX                5  13-14   14
  Day 1: 5   13-14   
87. Fletcher Shryock       New Philadelphia, OH     5  13-14   14
  Day 1: 5   13-14   
89. Ken Iyobe              Tokoname  Aichi JAPAN    5  13-12   12
  Day 1: 5   13-12   
90. Casey Scanlon          Lanexa, KS               5  13-11   11
  Day 1: 5   13-11   
91. Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               5  13-10   10
  Day 1: 5   13-10   
91. Joseph Sancho          New Windsor, NY          5  13-10   10
  Day 1: 5   13-10   
93. Koby Kreiger           Bokeelia, FL             5  13-09    8
  Day 1: 5   13-09   
93. Morizo Shimizu         Suita, Osaka JAPAN       5  13-09    8
  Day 1: 5   13-09   
95. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  13-05    6
  Day 1: 5   13-05   
96. Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  13-00    5
  Day 1: 5   13-00   
97. Kenyon Hill            Norman, OK               5  12-13    4
  Day 1: 5   12-13   
97. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          5  12-13    4
  Day 1: 5   12-13   
99. Stephen Longobardi     Northford, CT            5  12-11    2
  Day 1: 5   12-11   
100. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          5  12-02    1
  Day 1: 5   12-02   
101. Billy McCaghren        Mayflower, AR            5  12-00    0
  Day 1: 5   12-00   
102. Gary Klein             Weatherford, TX          5  11-13    0
  Day 1: 5   11-13   
103. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            5  11-09    0
  Day 1: 5   11-09   
104. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           5  11-08    0
  Day 1: 5   11-08   
105. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         5  11-06    0
  Day 1: 5   11-06   
106. Randall Tharp          Port St. Joe, FL         5  11-01    0
  Day 1: 5   11-01   
107. Kevin Hawk             Guntersville, AL         5  11-00    0
  Day 1: 5   11-00   
108. Jared Miller           Norman, OK               4  11-00    0
  Day 1: 4   11-00   
109. David Smith            Del City, OK             5  10-14    0
  Day 1: 5   10-14   
110. John Murray            Phoenix, AZ              5  10-13    0
  Day 1: 5   10-13   
111. Casey Ashley           Donalds, SC              4  09-14    0
  Day 1: 4   09-14   
111. Brandon Card           Caryville, TN            4  09-14    0
  Day 1: 4   09-14   
113. Boo Woods              Oneida, KY               2  05-11    0
  Day 1: 2   05-11   
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
 1       108       558      1930-13
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         108       558      1930-13


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