Chester Moore, Jr.
The Port Arthur News
PORT ARTHUR —
Mike Iaconelli is arguably the most popular professional fisherman on the planet.
And he has the accomplishments to back it up.
Iaconelli is the only angler to win the Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship, a Bassmaster Classic and an Angler of the Year title. He has weighed in more than 100 pounds in a single tournament and hosted the wildly popular “City Limits Fishing” for four years.
But it’s his passion for angling embodied in his “Never Give Up” motto that draw anglers to him, particularly youth.
Last Thursday he took the time to spend a special evening with the newly formed Deweyville Pirate Angler’s Club (DPAC).
“It’s so important to get young people involved in fishing. It is important for the sport and it is also important for the kids. Fishing is a fun activity they can enjoy for life,” Iaconelli said.
DPAC was formed last month by (my wife) Lisa Moore a teacher at Deweyville High School.
“We have a lot of kids that fish and at this school we are always looking for ways to get them involved in positive things.There are a growing number of bass clubs in Texas including one in Lumberton and the various clubs compete against one another at water bodies around the state,” Moore said.
“The kids are so excited. They have already fished a tournament on Rayburn and having Mike Iaconelli spend an evening with them was just amazing. We can’t thank him enough.”
Iaconelli fielded questions about techniques ranging from fishing swimbaits to proper line selection and gave the students an in-depth look at the movements of bass throughout the year.
“It is always exciting to visit with kids and help instruct and inspire them about this sport I love so much. I salute Deweyville High School for having something like this for the students. It’s an awesome opportunity for them,” Iaconelli said.
Perhaps the most important moment of the evening came when “Ike” as his fans call him explained the meaning behind “Never Give Up!”
It originated with an uncle who struggled with cancer and never gave up the fight to get well. That was a pivotal even in Ike’s life and has since served as inspiration for scores of fishing fans.
“No matter what happens, keep going, stay positive and never give up!” he exclaimed.
From March 14-17, Iaconelli and more than 100 other top anglers will fish the Sabine River Challenge in Orange on the first stop of the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2013.
This will be a prime opportunity for young outdoors lovers to see many examples of hard work, positive thinking and deep study pay off as the anglers try to crack the code of the bass in the Sabine region.
It was truly inspiring to watch Iaconelli interact with the students and take the time out of his incredibly busy schedule to do so. In my 21 years in the outdoors business I have seen many in the outdoors industry talk about working with youth but very few actually do it.
Last week Mike Iaconelli showed he is the real deal and gave young anglers from our area an amazing opportunity.
That earned him the respect of the DPAC anglers and as the evening drew to a close you got the idea they will never give up on their bass fishing dreams after their “Ike” encounter.
For information on Iaconelli’s many endeavors go to http://www.mikeiaconelli.com.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com.)