HomeblogsDynamic Blog – Ike Marks the Spot by Alan McGuckin – Dynamic Forgive Mike Iaconelli for talking on the phone while eating. He has a very busy schedule, and his only chance to talk about marker buoys was amidst bites of cheeseburger in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport before boarding a flight home to the family he loves dearly. Other than the fact that he was chewing in my ear, what became admirably obvious is that Iaconelliâ€™s passion for teaching others about fishing is thicker than Heinz ketchup. Even when heâ€™s talking about something as seemingly simple as marker buoys, Iaconelli teaches with genuine excitement. And in this case, excitement was being delivered between each bite of beef. â€œMarker buoys are super key! Ridiculously key, dude,â€ said Iaconelli, in a tone that hinted this discussion about four-dollar hunks of floating florescent plastic wasnâ€™t going to be a yawner. â€œItâ€™s the best, most important, inexpensive, piece of equipment you can own as a bass angler. I learned as a kid fishing from a jon boat that thereâ€™s always a sweet spot on the lake bottom, and a $4 marker buoy is the greatest tool there is to help with what I call â€˜narrowing the windowâ€™ down to that sweet spot,â€ he said. â€œLetâ€™s say youâ€™re faced with fishing a huge 60,000 acre reservoir during this time of year. Itâ€™s hot. Itâ€™s summer. You know youâ€™re looking for humps and ledges near deep water. Finding that one magical hump thatâ€™s half the size of a hockey rink amid 60,000 acres of water is a serious task in â€˜narrowing the windowâ€™. But once you narrow it down to the hump or ledge, then youâ€™ve got to find the sweet spot on the hump or ledge,â€ said Ike. Iaconelli defines the sweet spot as anything on the structure thatâ€™s different than the surrounding substrate, such as a single large boulder, a stump, or perhaps a patch of rock or gravel on an otherwise soft muddy or sandy bottom. â€œOnce Iâ€™ve located the hump with my electronics, I drop the first buoy simply as a marker to identify its basic location. Then itâ€™s time to start searching with rod and reel. I cast a Carolina rig, a football jig or a DT16 crankbait to get a precise feel for the bottom. Iâ€™m looking for that one little patch of something different that not even the best electronics in the world can detect because it literally has to be â€˜feltâ€™ by the angler,â€ he explained. â€œOnce I feel something different, or catch a fish, I immediately drop a second marker buoy right in front of my trolling motor â€“ sometimes I actually toss out the buoy while Iâ€™m fighting the fish, â€ he continued. â€œThat second buoy becomes my point of reference as to where I need to position and hold my boat. I donâ€™t want my second buoy to land on top of the sweet spot, or the school of fish, but simply to provide a reference point for where my boat should be setting for each cast that follows. Even if you drop a waypoint, only that marker buoy can offer a precise visual reference to know exactly where each cast needs to land,â€ said the 2006 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year. â€œMarker buoys are reference points. Thatâ€™s their job. And theyâ€™re not just for deep water or clear water,â€ emphasizes Iaconelli. â€œI use them nearly everyday that Iâ€™m on the water, including rivers, shallow water and muddy water. As a kid I rarely fished a lake that was deeper than 10-feet. So I learned to drop a marker buoy on a creek bed depression that might have only changed 10-inches in depth â€“ but sure enough, thatâ€™s where the fish would be hanging â€“ right there on that little 10-inch drop.â€ Iaconelli admits that even after heâ€™s dropped the second marker buoy and tagged it with a waypoint, his work is not done. â€œOnce I get off the water at the end of the day, a lot of times I make written notes on a lake map, or in a note book. For example, I might mark that waypoint #251 contains a large boulder where the bottom drops from 9-feet to 11-feet on the southwest corner of the hump.â€ â€œThatâ€™s why marker buoys are so critical. They are the most precise means we have to mark a sweet spot. And trust me if I find one boulder thatâ€™s half the size of my Tundraâ€™s hood in the middle of Clear Lake, California â€“ I want to know exactly where to find it when we go back there five years later,â€ explained Ike, as the last bite of burger found a sweet spot inside the passion filled belly of one of bass fishingâ€™s greatest teachers. Note: If youâ€™re like â€œIkeâ€ and you tow your boat to tournaments with a 2007 or newer Toyota Truck, be sure to sign up for the Toyota Trucks Bonus Bucks program by calling Kendell at (918) 742-6424.