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Iaconelli wins Chevy Open
presented by Kellogg’s

June 25 2005

LAPLATA, Maryland - Mike Iaconelli of Runnemede, N.J., landed his first Wal-Mart FLW Tour win in grand fashion Saturday with a two-day, final-round total of 10 bass weighing 34 pounds, 14 ounces. The former Bassmaster Classic champion earned $200,000 in the Chevy Open presented by Kellogg’s after topping Kellogg’s pro Clark Wendlandt of Cedar Park, Texas, by nearly 5 pounds.

Today was a struggle, said Iaconelli, who got his start in competitive bass fishing in the Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, where he earned

eight top-10s between 1996 and 1998. I went to my best spot first, and there were two things working against me. First, there were four or five boats from a local tournament fishing in that area and a lot of spectator boats. That muddied the water a little. The other thing that hurt me was different tide. I caught three keepers in that area but it was slow. The memory of yesterday’s 21-pound limit kept telling me to stay, but my instinct was telling me to go.

Then I remembered a good high-tide spot up a creek that I found about seven or eight years ago in the first BFL I ever fished as a boater. So I ran to that spot and caught my two best fish. I was using a spinning reel with 10-pound-test Berkley Vanish and throwing the same bait I used yesterday, a 6-inch Berkley Sinking Minnow in watermelon color with black flakes.

Iaconelli opened the tournament with a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 12 ounces to place third. He then added five bass weighing 14 pounds, 13 ounces to his total Thursday to enter the final round as the No. 2 seed with 10 bass weighing 33 pounds, 9 ounces.

On Friday Iaconelli landed the heaviest limit of the tournament 21 pounds to move into the No. 1 spot on the leaderboard and open a 3-pound, 12-ounce lead over Wendlandt.

I had one of those amazing days yesterday when everything went perfect, Iaconelli said. I was using light line, and those big keepers were a great fight.

Although not 21-pound limit, Saturday was more of the same, as Iaconelli added five bass weighing 13 pounds, 14 ounces to his total.

Wendlandt, who has earned 18 top-10s and two Land O’ Lakes Angler of the Year titles on the FLW Tour, earned $100,000 for finishing second with a final-round total of 10 bass weighing 30 pounds, 5 ounces. The winnings bumped Wendlandt to the top of the FLW Tour’s all-time leading money winners list with $994,750.

I had a great day today Wendlandt said. A 5-pounder hit the bait, and I missed it, and a 4-pounder flashed at the bait right at the boat. But that’s fishing. My areas actually cleared up the last two days, and my fish didn’t set up as well. I was fishing better with more stained water. I used a 4-inch green tube and a shallow-running homemade crankbait in shad and chartreuse colors. I really like using crankbaits in shallow cover.

Land O’Lakes pro Jerry Williams of Conway, Ark. (10 bass, 30 pounds, 1 ounce, $50,000); Land O’Lakes Angler of Year Greg Hackney of Gonzales, La. (10 bass, 27 pounds, 9 ounces, $40,000); and Toshinari Namiki of Hachioji-City, Japan (10 bass, 25 pounds, 12 ounces, $30,000) rounded out the top five pros.

All 10 pro finalists caught five-bass limits Saturday and 98 percent of the fish were released alive. With six tournaments now complete, FLW Outdoors has maintained a live release rate in excess of 98 percent on the FLW Tour. If the average release rate stays above 98 percent throughout the entire season, Energizer will donate $25,000 to the Children’s Miracle Network.

Pat Wilson of Penngrove, Calif., took top honors and $40,000 in the Co-angler Division Friday with five bass weighing 14 pounds, 6 ounces. He caught the fish on drop-shot rigged 4- and 6-inch Robo Worms while fishing with pro Gary Yamamoto of Mineola, Texas.

Jason Cordiale of Orinda, Calif. (five bass, 12 pounds, $20,000); Kent McPhail of Lubbock, Texas (five bass, 11 pounds, 12 ounces, $10,000); Roger Hester of Walnut Cove, N.C. (five bass, 10 pounds, 9 ounces, $9,000); and Fred Martin of North Little Rock, Ark. (five bass, 9 pounds, 13 ounces, $8,000) rounded out the top five co-anglers.

The two-day opening round catch of 3,201 bass weighing 7,084 pounds, 1 ounce was the tour’s third best of all time in terms of bass caught and weight. Only Lake Champlain in New York produced more fish in 2004 (3,457 bass, 8,239 pounds, 11 ounces) and 2002 (3,233 bass, 7,865 pounds, 8 ounces). Most of the bass weighed in on Lake Champlain were smallmouths, while the Potomac River produced largemouths, earning a place among the nation’s best largemouth bass fisheries for Charles County.

In addition to a top award of $200,000 and cash awards of $10,000 through 50th place in the Pro Division, anglers were also competing this week for valuable points that determined the Land O’ Lakes Angler of the Year standings and the field of 48 pros and 48 co-anglers for the 2005 Forrest L. Wood Championship, set for July 13-16 in Hot Springs, Ark., on Lake Hamilton. The $1.5 million championship presented by Castrol awards the winning pro $500,000 cash, the sport’s largest payout, and features a world-class outdoor show.

Hackney earned the Land O’Lakes Angler of the Year title over Namiki in one of the closest title finishes in history.

Complete coverage of the Chevy Open presented by Kellogg’s will be broadcast to 82 million FSN subscribers as part of the Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors television program July 24 and 31. Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors airs Sundays at 11 a.m. Eastern time. Additionally, Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors is broadcast by the American Forces Network to 800,000 service men and women stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard naval ships.

Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour and seven other national tournament circuits offering a combined $30 million in awards through 214 events in 2005. The 27-year-old organization is the purveyor of America’s largest and most prestigious fishing tournaments, including the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, EverStart Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series.

Wal-Mart and many of America’s largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as title sponsor of the FLW Tour in 1997 and today is the title sponsor of all FLW Outdoors events.

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