, Port Arthur, Texas


November 28, 2012

Chester Moore column: Iaconelli talks finesse fishing, Sabine tournament

PORT ARTHUR — It might be difficult to imagine Mike Iaconelli “finessing” anything.

From his charismatic personality to his booming hip hop weigh-in intro music the 2003 Bassmaster Classic champion is a genuine showstopper.

However, when the bass bite slows down as it does on cold winter days or on super pressured lakes, no one is better at the art of “finesse fishing”.       

“Finesse fishing is about slowing and sizing down your approach,” Iaconelli said.

“Instead of throwing big lures on a heavier line you go into using smaller lures and light line and slow everything down a notch.”

A New Jersey native, Iaconelli grew up fishing heavily pressured waters that were cold much of the year, a formula for largemouth lockjaw.

“There are lots of factors that go into making fish shy and pressure is definitely one of them. The more boats that are out on the water, the more times they get hooked and the more lures they see, the more elusive they get and that is when finesse fishing can make a big difference,” he said.

One particular facet of finesse fishing recommended by Iaconelli is the use of light fluorocarbon. This kind of line is virtually invisible in the water and can help fool line shy fish.

“Fluorocarbon definitely has its advantages. A lot of times using tube jigs or a small worms on pressured fish in conjunction with fluorocarbon line can be a game changer, especially in clear water conditions,” he said.

Before the 2010 Texas Bass Classic on Lake Conroe, 4-Time Classic Champion Kevin VanDam predicted Iaconelli would top the 50-angler field because of his skill in finesse fishing.

“Conroe can really call for that style of fishing and Mike is a master of it” Van Dam said.

And while Iaconelli did not win, he came very close, taking second place using light line and catching some massive fish. (He earned second place in the 2011 event as well.) You also lose some fish and in fact, he lost one that would have easily put him in first place.

“You will definitely lose some big fish from using the small line but if you are not getting bites, why not give it a try and see if it will make a difference?”

Iaconelli said he and the other anglers on the Elite Series tour are excited about fishing out of Orange for the “Sabine River Challenge” March 14-17, 2013.

“Anytime we can get on a new body of water it makes things interesting. And there are very few anglers on this tour that have any Sabine River experience so this should make for an interesting event,” Iaconelli said.

“I look forward to fishing the Sabine and meeting the people of the area. The fans in Texas and Louisiana are so passionate about bass fishing and that makes it fun.”

The champion angler has a book out entitled, “Finesse Fishing with Mike Iaconelli” where he talks about his favorite subtle tactics and proper presentation.

“Finesse fishing really is about presentation. It is going the extra mile to present something to bass or whatever fish you are pursuing they cannot resist. It is about going beyond normal technique and paying strict attention to detail to catch fish under a variety of conditions,” he said.

To order Iaconelli’s book, go to

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at

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