IKE IN CONTROL
Story by Matt Pangrac – Photos by Dave Rush
PHILADELPHIA, PA – After taking the lead on Friday with a limit weighing 15-1, Mike Iaconelli continued his march towards his second Elite Series title on Saturday. The New Jersey pro weighed-in another five bass limit worth 12-13 to boost his total weight to 37-0 and open up a lead of 6 pounds, 9 ounces heading into championship Sunday.
“This is pretty neat,” said Iaconelli behind stage as he waited to weigh-in his fish in front of an excited Philadelphia crowd that had gathered on the waterfront. With a decent day on Sunday, Iaconelli will win his first Elite Series title since 2006 when he won on Guntersville.
Bill Lowen has the best chance of chasing down Ike. Lowen weighed-in a limit for 8-10 on Saturday to boost his three day total weight to 30-7. Fellow river expert, Scott Rook, moved up to 3rd place on Saturday with a total weight of 29-10, and Oklahoma’s Jason Christie rocketed up into 4th with 10-11 on the day and a total weight of 28-3.
Rounding out the Top 5 was Shaw Grigsby, who opened the tournament on Thursday with just three fish weighing 4-2 on Thursday. On Friday, Grigsby made wakes with a 14-15 limit, and backed it up with four bass weighing 9-0 on Saturday to finish with a total weight of 28-1.
After leading the tournament on Thursday with 16-14, Boyd Duckett snuck inside the final day cut, finishing the day in 12th place after weighing-in just a single bass on Saturday weighing 1-12 for a total weight of 25-1.
Five of the remaining 50 anglers on Saturday zeroed, and 12 of the 50 weighed in a five bass limit.
Tournament: Bassmaster Elite Series (Stop #6)
Location: Delaware River – Philadelphia, PA
Day Three Leader: Mike Iaconelli (37-0)
12th Place: Boyd Duckett (25-1)
Total weight separating 1st from 12th: 11-15
1st Place: Mike Iaconelli (9-2, 15-1, 12-13: 37-0)
Iaconelli on how Saturday went on the Delaware:
“It feels like it’s starting to come together, but every time that I feel like I have it figured out, something throws a wrench in it – this morning is a prime example. I ran to a spot where I thought that I’d have the perfect tide. Even though the tide was an hour later today, it ended up being a blowout tide because of the big moon.
“It really threw me off for about 30 minutes and that that’s a long time here. I adjusted and made a change because I knew what to do with a blowout tide. After that, I had a flurry and got back on track. I had 12 bites today and landed 11 of them. Even with that, I only culled twice. It was a day of adjustments that did not go exactly as I had planned.”
Iaconelli on where he has gotten the majority of his bites this week:
“I’ve not caught fish on areas where I swore I would catch them in this tournament. You have to fish through a lot of things. All of these places that I’m fishing all share the same qualities but the fish are on some places and not others. It’s so hard to pinpoint because if a place gets muddy from boat traffic, they’ll be gone. If a place is too filled in with hydrilla, they’ll be gone. There are just so many variables.
“I feel like I can roll into an area and know what I need to look for as far as being a low tide, mid tide, or high tide spot.”
Iaconelli on his morning adjustment:
“I was running into a place off the main river, and I saw more stuff exposed than I’ve seen in the past two days. The water was probably a foot to a foot and a half lower, and I couldn’t even get to where I wanted to go. I made a commitment to leave that area as much as I wanted to be in that area. It ended up working out and I still was able to have a flurry in the morning.”
Iaconelli on what it feels like to be so close to a win:
“It’s a good feeling. I had the same feeling last week on Champlain because I thought that I was on the caliber of fish to win, but this is different because it’s an Elite Series at home and there’s a mass of people out there watching it all happen.”
2nd Place: Bill Lowen (30-7)
Lowen on Saturday on the Delaware:
“Today, I didn’t get my incoming tide at all, so I had to learn how to catch them on the outgoing tide. I fished the same stuff in the same area, but I had to relearn how they set up on the same key pieces of wood that I’ve been pulling up to knowing the exact pitch to make. I spent most of the morning trying to figure out where the key new spots were.
“I lost a 2 ½ pounder today, and that was the first fish that I’ve lost all week. I don’t know how many fish are left in that area, because there are a bunch of us in there.”
Lowen on how easy it is to get a bite in the right area:
“It’s pretty simple. You know where you’re going to get a bite if you’re going to get one. It really doesn’t take repeated casts. It’s almost like the fish are sitting in the food line and is waiting for something to float by. When it does, they whack it.”
Lowen on how his area is holding up and the potential that it holds:
“30 days ago when I came up here to pre-practice, my best five fish out of that exact same area would have went about 18-pounds, so I know that they live there. I caught a 3-5 on the first day, a 4-pounder yesterday, and a 3-pounder today, so I know that they’re in there if I can just put it all together in one day.
“Realistically, I think that 18-pounds will be hard to catch out of that area because it’s taken a pounding. Every one of us was behind the 8-ball fishing against Iaconelli before we even started fishing. This is his deal to win because of everything that comes into play here. Half of the field was spun out just because of the tidal swing. If you miss the right window, you might as well just hang it up. He definitely has the advantage on us this week.”
3rd Place: Scott Rook (10-15,9-13,8-14: 29-10)
Rook on how the tide has improved in his area over the first three days:
“The tide has been getting a little better in my area each day and that has been working in my favor. The low tide is key in my area and the first day I only had about an hour of it, the second day I had around an hour and a half, and today I was able to fish on the low tide for almost two hours. I should have even more time tomorrow, so that should help."
Rook on the consistency of his bite:
“I caught about eleven keepers today, but they were all on the low tide. When it's right I can catch them pretty good. All those fish were in the boat in a little less than two hours. Then I went the next six hours without a bite. I can't catch them on the high tide, so it has been pretty consistent as far as that goes."
Rook on how his pre-practice trip to the Delaware River has paid off this week:
“I came here about a month ago and fished a day and a half and found this spot. The fish that I am catching this week are in the same creek, on the same cover, with the same bait, and they are feeding on the same tide that they were then. I've had the spot to myself all week also, and to catch a limit three days in a row is a feat in itself here."
Rook on his chances of chasing down Iaconelli on Sunday:
“You know close to a seven pound lead seems insurmountable on a fishery like this, but it really isn't. Ike could have a bad day, and anything could happen if that is the case. There are some quality fish that live in the area I have been fishing. I have caught a few three plus pound fish, and if I get a few of those right bites things could get interesting."
DAY THREE STANDINGS
|Place||Name||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Total Fish||Total Weight|
|1||Michael Iaconelli||5||9- 2||5||15- 1||5||12-13||15||37- 0|
|2||Bill Lowen||5||11- 1||5||10-12||5||8-10||15||30- 7|
|4||Jason Christie||5||9-12||3||7-12||5||10-11||13||28- 3|
|5||Shaw Grigsby||3||4- 2||5||14-15||4||9- 0||12||28- 1|
|6||Kevin Short||5||11- 6||5||10- 1||4||6- 9||14||28- 0|
|7||Skeet Reese||4||7- 9||5||6-12||5||13- 3||14||27- 8|
|8||Chris Lane||5||10- 9||3||7- 0||5||9- 7||13||27- 0|
|9||Chad Pipkens||5||11- 4||4||7- 2||5||8- 0||14||26- 6|
|10||Byron Velvick||4||10- 5||5||7-15||3||8- 2||12||26- 6|
|11||John Crews||5||9-13||5||11-14||2||3- 9||12||25- 4|
|12||Boyd Duckett||5||16-14||3||6- 7||1||1-12||9||25- 1|
|13||Edwin Evers||4||6- 9||4||8-13||5||9- 3||13||24- 9|
|14||Matthew Herren||2||6-10||5||11-15||3||5-15||10||24- 8|
|15||Morizo Shimizu||5||12- 2||5||10- 4||1||1-12||11||24- 2|
|16||Stephen Kennedy||4||9-12||2||3-11||5||10-10||11||24- 1|
|17||Fred Roumbanis||5||11- 5||3||4- 1||5||8- 6||13||23-12|
|18||Jeff Kriet||3||6-11||3||6- 4||5||10- 5||11||23- 4|
|19||James Elam||5||11-12||4||6- 5||3||4-15||12||23- 0|
|20||Cliff Pirch||2||4- 1||3||8- 6||4||9- 7||9||21-14|
|21||Todd Faircloth||4||8-10||5||11-11||1||1- 3||10||21- 8|
|22||Alton Jones||4||7- 4||3||5- 3||5||8-10||12||21- 1|
|23||Ott DeFoe||4||8-15||5||9- 3||2||2-11||11||20-13|
|24||Jacob Powroznik||2||4- 1||5||10-11||3||5- 1||10||19-13|
|25||Cliff Crochet||5||9- 4||5||6-14||3||3-11||13||19-13|
|26||Zell Rowland||3||5- 3||5||9-13||3||4-12||11||19-12|
|27||Andy Montgomery||4||9-14||4||8-11||1||1- 0||9||19- 9|
|28||Aaron Martens||3||7-12||3||7- 9||2||3-13||8||19- 2|
|29||Bernie Schultz||4||5-14||4||7- 5||3||5-15||11||19- 2|
|30||Derek Remitz||3||7-15||5||7- 1||2||3- 1||10||18- 1|
|31||Kotaro Kiriyama||5||10- 4||2||2-10||2||4- 9||9||17- 7|
|32||Brian Snowden||5||8- 0||4||6- 1||2||2-15||11||17- 0|
|33||Ish Monroe||3||5-13||4||6- 6||3||4- 4||10||16- 7|
|34||Keith Combs||5||8-13||4||7- 9||9||16- 6|
|35||Kenyon Hill||4||7- 6||4||7-10||1||1- 5||9||16- 5|
|36||James Niggemeyer||4||9- 3||1||1-13||2||4- 9||7||15- 9|
|37||Kevin Hawk||5||8-15||3||4- 0||1||1-15||9||14-14|
|38||Brett Hite||5||7- 2||3||5- 5||1||2- 4||9||14-11|
|39||Brandon Lester||3||6- 4||2||5- 7||3||2-15||8||14-10|
|40||Casey Ashley||4||9- 6||2||4-14||6||14- 4|
|41||Yusuke Miyazaki||4||7- 8||2||3-10||2||3- 1||8||14- 3|
|42||Justin Lucas||5||9-12||1||1-13||1||2- 9||7||14- 2|
|43||Britt Myers||5||9- 2||2||4-14||7||14- 0|
|44||Bobby Lane||4||6-14||3||7- 2||7||14- 0|
|45||Gerald Swindle||4||7- 3||3||4-13||1||1-15||8||13-15|
|46||Terry Scroggins||3||9- 3||2||4-11||5||13-14|
|47||Stephen Browning||3||6- 7||4||5-10||1||1- 9||8||13-10|
|48||Greg Hackney||2||4- 0||4||7-15||1||1- 8||7||13- 7|
|49||Brandon Palaniuk||2||5- 2||3||6- 1||1||2- 3||6||13- 6|
|50||Dean Rojas||3||8- 1||2||3- 6||1||1- 6||6||12-13|