Seth Feider's AOY Tournament Trophy
Fishing legend AL LINDNER really liked Alex's Lovertail 2 invention
Alex gives a thumbs up after the legendary RON LINDNER complements his design
Congrats to the 2016 AOY Champion GERALD "G-MAN" SWINDLE & his lovely LULU
Hall of Fame angler JAMES LINDNER hangs with Alex before weigh-in
First of all, Gerald Swindle, if you read this, I wanna give you a HUGE "congrats" on your 2nd AOY title in 12 years. Anyone that is a sports fan with half a brain would realize that his trophy he took home is the HARDEST trophy to win in all of professional sports. After he qualified to even compete, he then payed GIANT entry fees for 20 years just to gamble his money hoping his talents, his knowledge, and his decision-making while battling nature during changing weather fronts was going to be enough to defeat ALL 108 of the world's top bass anglers. Lost fish, boat troubles, fishing pressure, flooding, drought, wind, rain, snow, none of these excuses matter. You have no team, unlike football, you don't have ONLY 31 competitors, unlike football. Its you against everyone, and they want to destroy your hopes, even if off the water they respect you and are your friend. What a crazy way to feed your family and pay bills. But G Man is one of the best fisherman ever, with a great wife that fully supports him. Team Swindle won it all in front of us and it was an absolutely awesome moment to sit in the front row next to his parents as Gerald cried his eyes out when accepting his trophy. He is a great role model, has great family values and morals, and it has been awesome to meet and talk with guy on multiple occasions. I hope my goofy shirt I made to wear in front of him Saturday made his day. He was very greatful that we made a Lovertail 2 for him and seemed impressed. We talked several minutes as I explained the design and intention of the lure Alex designed, and we hope he gives it a whirl this fall on Lake Guntersville.
Brandon Palaniuk & Aaron Martens - Thanks for the video intro for the Alex Fishing Show! It was great to see you guys again. Brandon you are super cool and I was really impressed that you knew my little dude without me having to even say anything. Throw the crap out of that Lovertail and have fun!!! Aaron you are a goofball and we are hoping to take you fishing in the General Lee boat someday.
Then there is Mister MIKE IACONELLI. It was awesome to hang out with that whack job for quite a while Saturday afternoon. I am super grateful that the IKE FOUNDATION is sponsoring Alex's tournament fishing next year with a huge logo on a jersey. Mike and his awesome wife Becky started an awesome charity that everyone into fishing should check out. They take used rod donations, and distribute them to inner city children, and teach them to get into positive outdoor hobbies, to stay out of trouble and live a positive life. Mike and Becky are fantastic people, and anyone that can't stand the guy off the water has probably never met him. He is a very good person, especially around kids, and treats everyone like a long-time buddy. We laughed and joked a while at his truck Saturday as he loaded our donated rods, and like always was awesome to Alex. Its crazy how in a sport like this you can meet and get to know these sports heroes in person, and that they are so down-to-earth and not fake. Check out https://theikefoundation.org and donate to paypal or rods in person at a BASS Elite event or Northern Opens when Mike is around. He was very genuine, sincere, and grateful, and he really appreciated our donation. This guy is for real. All the crazy crap he does on ESPN is just him having fun and showing his passion. He is super excited to win, and super mad when he loses. And to an angler at home, I would think many people find his ridiculousness pretty entertaining, good or bad. The last thing we discussed was a sponsorship request. I expected a "No" being a business with liabilities attached to the things that people say and do, but Mike said that he would "ABSOLUTELY' love to sponsor Alex's tournament fishing career. Not only that, he told me that he is going to email me a higher resolution logo for the Ike Foundation to use on the jersey. He gave us his permission to use it on anything, our fishing shows, etc. What an awesome thing for him to do for my little boy.
AL & RON LINDNER - When we found out Mille Lacs, MN was hosting the BASS AOY Championship, I thought maybe the Lindner clan would possibly attend at some point. I made 2 extra Lovertail 2 lures Friday night just in case we would run into Ron or Al Lindner on the grounds. We set our chairs down in the front row, next to the BASS RESERVED/FAMILY chairs, and here Ron Lindner was seated just one row behind us!!! It was an honor to meet him. The 82-year old legend drew a lot of attention. After the media was done talking to him, we approached him, shook hands, and introduced Alex to him. Ron was extremely polite and when we showed him Alex's Lovertail 2 lure, he was very excited. He said 2x that he "WILL CATCH A WALLEYE ON IT!" He gave me his phone to take pictures with Alex and said that it was awesome he designed such a nice lure at 7 years old. He also said James and Al were on the grounds and we would be able to find them as well. We found Al not much longer, had a great conversation with him about his lure designs and sales in Chicago in his high school years, and he absolutely LOVED the lure. The Bull Bluegill color really got his attention. He said that Alex has a huge head start on him and that we could use the Angling Edge logo on his tournament jersey in 2017. We are so thankful for our heroes to be so giving in such a unique and AWESOME way. Al and Ron were people that I looked up to since I first got cable TV as a child and started watching In Fisherman. I never imagined meeting them in person, and to have conversations with them and have them be impressed by my son's designs at that young of an age is just incredible to me. AL and RON, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!!
Not long after, we found James Lindner and talked Mille Lacs topwater fishing. He gave me all kinds of great tips and I found out he is good buddies with Dale Stroschein as well. We discussed our upcoming fishing adventure with Dale, but the weigh in began and the magic of Gerald Swindle's Championship, Brent Erhler's 6 lb 10 oz smallmouth in our face, and the Amazing Fiedermans ridiculous weigh in weights were fast approaching. What an incredible time that I will never forget. It will be crazy looking back on this weekend as an 8 year old boy filmed videos with Kevin VanDam and the others, picked up sponsorships by the biggest names in the fishing world, and delivered his lure design to 5 huge people in this sport. The weather was so perfect at the campground, there were no bugs, and one howling coyote under the full moon at 3 am. My half of the entire trip for me including the FREE admission, gas expenses, and tent site rates with electric was only $30!!! Try and beat that NBA, NFL, MLB fans!!!! What a weekend. Watch for Alex as he sat front row on the big day, filmed at least 10+ times be ESPN2. Air date in mid October!!
Alex James makes the Mille Lacs Messenger paper answering questions about soft plastic presentations during Mike Iaconelli's seminar at the AOY Championship
Jesse James is an avid fisherman that loves smallmouth bass fishing, loves spending time with his family, with other family-orientated people, and loves seeing children fish. A huge fan of BASSMASTER Elite Mike Iaconelli, like Mike, he is known to be a little strange, and obnoxious, but only to have fun and make people laugh.