While he may have been fishing what he called a “trout stream pattern,” Mike Iaconelli was throwing a classic bass bait Saturday when he won the Bassmaster Eastern Open on the James River in Virginia.
“I caught almost everything I weighed today on a Rapala DT-6 #dt6inhisface, in a color called Old School,” said Iaconelli, a Rapala Pro from New Jersey.
Iaconelli’s “trout stream pattern,” he told Bassmaster.com, targeted unpressured fish in the lowest water he could access. A similar pattern has proven successfully previously for him on the Delaware River back home.
“The low water was the key,” Iaconelli told Bassmaster.com. “I didn’t mind if it was incoming or outgoing, but lower water stages were the key.”
Iaconelli found fish on hard-bottom areas near lily pad edges in several creeks – perfect targets for a Rapala DT-6 crankbait. “DT” stands for “dives to.” Therefore, a DT-6 will dive to six feet. Fished in four to five feet of water, it will bump and grind into the bottom, deflecting off rocks and other obstructions – and that’s when you get bites.
“Making sure the crankbait deflects on every cast is really important,” Iaconelli has explained. “You want that crankbait touching, bumping. You want it rubbing.”
Built of balsa wood, Rapala’s signature material, DT’s swim with an inimitable tight wobble and can back out of shallow cover better than copycat crankbaits, floating up and minimizing snags. In stained to muddy water brightly-colored DT’s generally out-produce brownish and greenish patterns. In clearer water, the more natural color patterns usually prevail.
Iaconelli’s win Saturday was his first B.A.S.S. victory since 2014.
“This win means as much to me as my first club tournament win, because I’ve come close so many times,” Iaconelli told Bassmaster.com. “This is the sixth B.A.S.S. event on the James River, and I believe this is my fourth Top 12. I always had one bad day to keep me from winning. Today, it was enough to win.”
Iaconelli and his Rapala baits will be in action next August 21-25 in the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour’s season championship Redcrest tournament on the Mississippi River out of La Crosse, WI. You can watch Iaconelli and other Rapala pros fish live in the competition here: https://majorleaguefishing.com/videos/mlf-now/