Iaconelli and Pace Tied for First
The 2013 Bassmaster Classic got off to a very interesting start, with temperatures below the freezing mark during the launch. The daily high was just above freezing, but luckily it did not snow like it did earlier in the week during practice. Despite the cold temperatures, most anglers were able to find a strategy that enabled them to catch a limit. In an odd twist of luck, last year's champion, Chris Lane, was the only angler to not weigh a fish.
Fan favorite, Michael Iaconelli, and Cliff Pace both managed to bring in 21lb, 8oz in order to tie for first place. Iaconelli joked about growing a beard in order to help him compete in the cold weather. It was ten years ago that he won a Classic, and he is confident that he has the good start he needs to win again.
"I'm throwing the Jersey Shore Rig," Iaconelli jokes. "It has Snookie, The Situation and Vinny hanging off of different wires. Seriously, though, I don't think I'm doing anything very different, except I'm really utilizing finesse tactics in my strategy. I'm mixing in a spinning rod a lot to really maximize my areas.
"This lake is definitely a pattern lake, not a spot lake at all. This lake is all about timing right now. You've got to get on the right spots when the bigger fish are actively feeding. My timing was perfect on my first stop, awful on the second and later in the day, my timing was perfect again. The quality fish in this lake is just amazing. I think averaging 18 to 19 pounds each day will put you in a great position."
Cliff Pace managed his catch by changing things up and fishing a variety of techniques. "I caught 2 on a jig, 1 on a crankbait and 2 on a jerkbait - I also lost another big one on the jerkbait.
"I'm extremely comfortable fishing this way," Pace explained. "A key moment happened this morning when I caught a 5-pounder immediately and a 3 1/2-pounder on the very next cast, which really calmed me down. It let me know that even though it got colder, the fish hadn't gone anywhere."
Hank Cherry had a rough start this week - already sustaining an injury and tearing off his Power-Pole. However, he managed to push past that and land 20lb, 15oz. This big bag of fish put him in third place.
Hank Cherry is fishing in area that is only about 2 miles long.Wired2Fish
Cherry said that he has 2 patterns that he is fishing, but he did all of his fishing in an area that is about 2 miles long. He explained that the rising temperature shouldn't effect him tomorrow - "I didn't lose any fish and I caught 27 keepers so I'll be in my area again tomorrow. I caught them steady after 9:30 this morning. You just never know when a big one is going to bite."
Kevin VanDam is in fourth with 19lb, 12oz.Wired2Fish
Kevin VanDam is no stranger to the Classic stage, and is on track to make a strong finish once again. He came in fourth place with 19lb, 12oz. He said that he feels very comfortable fishing Grand Lake, and has a good feeling that he will be consistent throughout the event. He also noted that there are many big fish out there, and that someone is going to bring them in during this tournament.
VanDam went on to explain that keeping on the move was an important part of his game plan. "On this lake you just need to keep moving in order to get the right bites. You won't catch a bunch in the same spot. If you're catching them shallow and they move out just a little, the guys who misses that will be in big trouble. I caught them all through practice and I hope to get them all through the event as well."
The top five was rounded out by Tracy Adams, who weighed-in 19lb, 10oz. His day started well, but things changed around 11am. He changed his pattern, and caught some big ones in the afternoon. "I'm definitely fishing a pattern," he explain, "but I'm having to fish dead-slow with a very methodical presentation. Today I caught about 15 keepers and culled 4 or 5 times."
The temperature is supposed to be a bit warmer tomorrow, which might stir things up a bit. Check back for more photos and updates from the 2013 Bassmaster Classic, with coverage provided by Wired2Fish.