April 13, 2021
Mike Iaconelli has never met a body of water he wouldn’t cast a lure in. Small ponds, rivers lined with industry, sprawling lakes – they all hold potential in his mind.
He’s even fished in city storm drains while passers-by stand and snicker or cast curious glances his way.
Iaconelli’s passion for fishing took root during his childhood on family vacations in the Pocono Mountains and when back home in New Jersey, he’d frequently fish from the bank of the Delaware River near Philadelphia. Eventually, he caught the bug for bass fishing tournaments, and he’s gone on to become one of the most recognizable and successful pro anglers of his generation.
His achievements on the water are numerous and he’s also starred in a couple of television series highlighting the fishing opportunities that exist in urban areas in the United States and abroad. A few years ago, Iaconelli and his wife, Becky, started The Ike Foundation charity as a way to get more children involved in fishing and the outdoors, especially youth in areas where those activities are not readily available.
But none of it would’ve been possible had he not been willing to get on board as a kid and scope out places to find catchable fish. He didn’t have to go far either, he says.
“That's the beauty of fishing," Iaconelli said. “People who may have never fished or are picking it back up. Wherever you live it’s right there.”
He pointed to the numerous access points along the Delaware River that allowed him to have a chance at catching a variety of species, from catfish to bass. Nothing fancy. Just simple tactics that led to memorable times.
“Even before I got into hardcore bass fishing, some of the best spots were hiding in plain sight,” he said. “A lot of times you think, ‘Well, I have to travel really far or get access to a private lake.’ For me, it was not an exotic, crazy place. It was just the river I lived near.”
It was a simple approach that can still be followed today.
“Make it easy,” Iaconelli added. “People can overcomplicate things. A lot of my fishing early on was easy and simple. From the standpoint of one rod and reel and a small thing of tackle. I also used a lot of live bait which was great because it’s a great way to get bites. Just keep it simple.”
Here are some suggestions of general fishing locations to look for in your area if you’re heading out on an adventure with your family soon. You can also visit the Take Me Fishing “Where to Fish/Boat” map, which provides more details about specific locations in your community.
Public Fishing Dock/Pier
Why go: Easy access throughout the day and usually close to shallow water. Opportunity for consistent action depending on the season. Great for casting practice, too.
River or Creek Bank
Why go: Nothing compares to finding a shady spot along the water so you can hang out, enjoy a snack and watch your bobber drift along with the current.
Public Park Pond
Why go: Many of these locations are stocked on a regular basis, so the chance of connecting with some panfish, bass or trout are pretty good.
Lakes & Reservoirs
Why go: Many of these locations have public access areas for fishing, sometimes along the rip rap bounders near a causeway or bridge, which can often be prime hot spots.