PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Mike “Ike” Iaconelli, Philadelphia native and eight time B.A.S.S. master champion, is the odds-on favorite to win the Bassmaster Elite Tournament, taking place this weekend for the first time ever on the Delaware River.

Fans and sport fishing columnists are lining up behind Iaconelli not only because of his hometown advantage but also because of his 53-8 haul at the Bassmaster Elite tournament on Lake Champlain, NH last week and his many tour-level wins.

Iaconelli needs a win to earn a berth in the 2015 Bassmaster Classic, which pits the top 50 anglers against each other for a $300,000 purse. He won the Classic in 2003.

Like the other 107 Elite anglers, Iaconelli faces the fiendish conditions of the Delaware River, namely, a 6-foot twice-daily tidal waters supplement by a full moon, cooler than normal temperatures and pre-kickoff rain to cloud the water. All three factors affect fish behaviors and make it difficult to find and catch the big, largemouth bass needed for a win.

Boats hit the water Thursday through Sunday at 6:15 a.m. ET from the Frankford Arsenal Boat Launch, 5701 Tacony St., with weigh-ins starting at 3:15 p.m. ET at the Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, 211 South Columbus Blvd. A schedule of events is available on

About Mike “Ike” Iaconelli

A South Philadelphia native now living in South Jersey, Mike Iaconelli fell in love with fishing at his grandfather’s side in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. He began fishing in tournaments after high school, joined the pro-am circuit in 1992 and turned pro in 2000. In 2003, he won the Bassmaster Classic. To date, he has won Bassmaster Elite, Classic, and Open championships and earned over $2 MM in prize money.

Each month Iaconelli hosts Ike Live!, a two-hour, live-streaming, Internet show featuring a mix of fishing advice, fan interaction and fun. In addition, he and fellow fishing champ, Pete Gulszek, run The Bass University, which offers intense 2-day fishing classes that bring avid amateurs and professional fishermen together.


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