Confidence has never been a problem for Michael Iaconelli, and in the giant marshland known as the Louisiana Delta, he lived up to the old Dizzy Dean adage that "it ain't bragging if you can back it up."

In the battle of the Big Easy, Iaconelli's triumph was anything but simple.

Confidence has never been a problem for Michael Iaconelli, and in the giant marshland known as the Louisiana Delta, he lived up to the old Dizzy Dean adage that "it ain't bragging if you can back it up."

In the battle of the Big Easy, Iaconelli's triumph was anything but simple. Still, the 31-year-old New Jersey pro held up to the pressure of being the leader entering the final round of professional fishing's marquee event to score a narrow victory in the 33rd annual Classic Aug. 1-3, 2003.

Iaconelli brought a five-bass limit weighing 10 pounds, 14 ounces to the scales for a three-day total of 37-14, to electrify the New Orleans Arena crowd and score a 1-pound, 12-ounce victory over perennial Classic contender Gary Klein of Texas (36-2).

Classic success came on a trio of Mann's lures — a Stone jig, Super Finesse Worm and prototype Swim Worm.

The two soft-plastic baits combined to help Iaconelli catch the most pivotal bass of the week, with about five minutes remaining in his fishing day, when a 3 1/2-pound fish swirled at (and missed) the Swim Worm before then inhaling the Super Finesse Worm.

The 2003 Classic field was the largest ever — 61 anglers.

Gary Klein's jump from 44th in the 2002 Classic to second in the 2003 Classic was the biggest improvement in history (42 places).

Bud Pruitt's fall from 11th in the 2002 Classic to 61st in the 2003 Classic was the biggest drop in Classic history (50 places).

Top 6 finishers
1. Michael Iaconelli, Woodbury Heights, N.J. 37-14
2. Gary Klein, Weatherford, Texas 36-02
3. Harold Allen, Shelbyville, Texas 34-03
4. Roland Martin, Clewiston, Fla. 31-09
5. Curt Lytle, Suffolk, Va. 31-03
6. Mark Kile, Payson, Ariz. 31-02

Visit the dedicated Bassmaster Classic Updates page for more about the 2011 championship event set for Feb. 18-20 in New Orleans. Be sure to subscribe to the RSS feed to receive notices whenever the page is updated.