Mike Iaconelli has a lot of tattoos.

He’s a Jersey boy so maybe it comes with the territory? Or maybe it’s just another way to express himself, although Ike rarely has a problem expressing himself.  Anyone who knows of Ike knows he has caused some kerfuffles in his career.

But unless you actually know him, as opposed to knowing OF him, you may not understand what a passionate guy he is.  Or what a great husband and father he is. Or how kind he is.  Or how when he talks to you he is focused only on you and what you are saying.  Or how devoted he is to kids fishing.  So devoted that he and his wife, Becky, started and fund a foundation dedicated to putting rods and reels into the hands of underserved youth.

You can read more about the foundation here. 

I’ve seen Iaconelli stand in the rain to sign autographs for kids long after everyone else had left the venue to get out of the weather.  And he always has a long line of kids waiting for him at every event.

I sat in the boat with him last summer at the St Lawrence River event where he hadn’t performed well.  He told me when I first approached him, “I’m not in a good place Angie.  Not in a chatty mood.” But then a group from a high school fishing club came following me down the dock and his face transformed into  bright light and he joked and clowned around for photos and autographs.

But those tattoos though!

It stands to reason that Mike would design a series of lures for Rapala called Ike’s Custom Inks.  He says they are designed to catch ’em when the fishing’s tough. Because Ike’s tough, in my opinion.  He’s weathered a lot of storms in his career but it hasn’t affected his ability to be kind.

“I’m addicted to crankbaits. I can’t get enough of them; they are all over my boat and my truck; in storage bins and boxes.  New ones, old ones, factory finished and custom painted models; I love cranks. Making these baits in my Ike’s Custom Ink custom colors was a great experience.  Every tattoo tells a story. These baits are no different and are individual works of art to me.”
-Michael Iaconelli
2003 Bassmaster Classic Champion
5 Time Bassmaster Winner

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