Don Iovino – Western Doodle King

Don Iovino Bassmaster Classic XLV. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

Don Iovino Bassmaster Classic XLV. Photo/Video Brenda Serrano.

Not many people outside of the west know about Don Iovino – but you should. Iovino may not have been the angler who invented finesse fishing but in the west he was the guy who was the major proponent of light-line fishing and the use of electronics. Iovino was the guy who wasn’t just talking about fishing in deep water – and folks in the south, we considered deep water anything over 45 feet – but also fishing with lines as light as 6-pound test.

I first met Iovino in 1976 at a seminar held at Angler’s West in Diamond Bar – I was a 12-year-old aspiring bass angler. The seminar consisted of Iovino talking about his new technique of Doodling, Don Seifert talking about the new Lowrance 1510A and Guy Skinner talking the fundamentals of vertical spooning.

The seminar was the first I’d ever attended. There were maybe 40 people sitting in the parking lot in folding chairs and three of my idols were talking about how to catch more bass. I was in heaven.

Over the late ‘70s and ‘80s I had a number of interactions with Iovino at the tackle shop. Over that time Iovino continued to wreak havoc on the western trails but rarely got mention in national magazine coverage other than US Bass. We’d talked on the phone a few times since but that was the extent of it.

Then came Classic XLV.

I was walking through the Expo and in the isle I saw a familiar face – minus the trademark beard. It was Don. After the normal reintroductions we set out to do an interview – one of how he started bass fishing. Below you’ll find the interview of Iovino and his early day of how he got into the sport. From trout fishing with nightcrawlers to winning the U.S. Bass National Championship. If all the western anglers, Iovino is one of the most influential, yet the most underrated. We hope the video below gives you a little more of an understanding of what he did to promote structure fishing and finesse fishing back in a time when 15-pound test was considered light line and deep water was anythng over 10 feet.