DRAGONFLY - RAYMARINE

PALANIUK LEADS AFTER THREE AT THE SLR

Posted by Z3 MEDIA TEAM on 08/10/2013

Story by Matt Pangrac and Dave Rush - Photos by Dave Rush

Waddington, NY – For the third consecutive day, Brandon Palaniuk finished at the top of the leaderboard at the smallmouth dominated Elite Series tournament on New York’s St. Lawrence River.  All three days, the Idaho pro has made the 100+ mile run to Lake Ontario, fishing anywhere between two and four hours before making the long trek back to Waddington. 

Despite the shortened fishing days, Palaniuk is the only pro in the field to boat limits surpassing the 20 pound mark each day.  On Saturday, he weighed-in 20-9 to boost his total weight to 65-7.  He will enter Championship Sunday with a lead of nearly four pounds over 2nd place. 

Michigan’s Jonathon VanDam is the closest competitor chasing Palaniuk.  His 19-10 effort on Saturday boosted his total weight to 61-11. 

After an impressive limit of smallmouth weighing 22-9 on Friday, current Rookie Of the Year lead, Cliff Pirch, lost ground to the leader on Saturday with just 17-4 for a total weight of 60-8.  Michigan’s Chad Pipkens finished in 4th place with a total weight of 60-7, and Kevin Hawk rounded out the top 5 with 60-6 after bringing 22-1 to the scales on Saturday.  

All 50 anglers in the field boated a five bass limit on Saturday.  After opening the tournament with a limit weighing just 14-12, Steve Kennedy rocketed into the top 12 cut with the tournament’s heaviest limit weighing 23-14.  His limit also included a 5-13 smallmouth that took big bass honors.  

The 5 Day Three Facts from the St. Lawrence River:  
Tournament: Bassmaster Elite Series (August 8-11)
Location:  St. Lawrence River – Waddington, New York    
Leader/weight:  Brandon Palaniuk (23-9, 21-5, 20-9: 65-7)
12th place weight: Steve Kennedy (58-4)
Total weight separating 1st place from 12th place: 7-3

1st Place: Brandon Palaniuk (23-9, 21-5, 20-9: 65-7)
What were your expectations heading into the day?
“I feel like there’s a bunch of fish that are around.  They’re definitely moving, so I’ve had to bounce around a little bit and relocate them.  I felt like those fish would still be around, though.”

How would you summarize your day as a whole? 
“I made the run today because I had to.  I have nothing else besides the stuff that I have in the lake, so I made the run. Luckily, the west wind had blocked some of it but it got worse the further I went out in the lake because it was less protected. 

“The wind and waves actually died down for a while and that allowed me to concentrate and I started catching them a little bit better.  It also allowed me to fish a little bit longer so that I had a little bit over two hours before I had to make the ride back. I’m moving around, and when I find them on my graph I drop down with my bait.”

Was there a key moment for you during the day?
“I made one move and I caught my three biggest fish within 30 minutes.  Making that move was the key moment for me.”

What was the most challenging/surprising aspect of your day?
“It wasn’t nearly as calm as yesterday (in the lake) when I was able to run wide open.  Today, I was running somewhere between 15- to 25-miles-per-hour (in Lake Ontario).  With the wind switching direction, it was like a washing machine out there and the waves weren’t all coming from one way – they were coming from different directions.  I couldn’t ever get in a good rhythm with them.

“Getting to my area this morning was definitely the most challenging part of the day because it took away a lot of my fishing time.”

How would you assess your decision making and execution on the water?
“I lost a couple this morning in some of the big waves.”

2nd Place: Jonathon VanDam (20-9,21-8,19-10: 61-11)
What were your expectations heading into the day?
"I didn't anticipate it being this tough on me today.  I lost some really good fish yesterday, so I was hoping to be able to land some of those today and have a better day but it didn't pan out."

How would you summarize your day as a whole?
"Today was a lot tougher on me than it had been all week.  I wasn't able to get the quality of bites I had been able to get the first two days.  The area I am fishing has been pounded over the last two days, so I think it is starting to run out."

Was there a key moment for you during the day?
"In the last five minutes I had to fish I caught my biggest one and was able to cull out.  I did have a dead fish today, which hurt me and probably kept me from having over 20 again today."

What was the most challenging or surprising aspect of your day?
"Trying to find something that hadn't been beat down all week was a challenge.  These guys out here are good and they don't miss much, so finding something fresh was my biggest challenge.  I ran to some new stuff and it just wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be."

How would you assess your decision making and execution on the water?
"I think I put everything in the boat that counted today.  I hooked a few and they came off immediately, so I don't know if they would have helped.  It is just impossible to put all the smallmouth you hook in the boat.  I have fished a lot of smallmouth tournaments and especially if you are fishing something with treble hooks you are going to lose a lot more than you land."

3rd Place: Cliff Pirch (20-11, 22-9, 17-4: 60-8)
What were your expectations heading into the day?
“It was a good day, but it wasn’t quite the day that I had planned or hoped for."

How would you summarize your day as a whole? 
“There are still plenty of big ones out there, but I didn’t contact those 5 pounders.  The wind may have changed where the fish were setting up on the shoals.  It was one of those things where I just kept rotating hoping that I would run into them. 

“I didn’t catch a ton of fish, but (today) was similar to my numbers from yesterday.  I had two 4 pounders and the rest were in the 3 pound ballpark.  That wind probably changed some of the eddys where I’d been catching them.”  

Was there a key moment for you during the day?
“My first fish was a 4 pounder and that was probably one of the best moments.  I really thought that it was going to be on, but it got a lot tougher after that.  Sometimes you can catch two or three at the same time, but that fish was a loner.” 

What was the most challenging/surprising aspect of your day?
“I’ve been by myself except for today.  Someone was there and rotated on two of my best spots.  It wasn’t a contender, so I don’t think that it’s going to be an issue tomorrow.   The most challenging part of the day was just getting in a good rotation this morning.  It took a while to get rolling and figure out where I needed to be fishing.” 

How would you assess your decision making and execution on the water?
“I had a couple pull the bait off without hooking them, but these smallmouth do that sometimes.  I didn’t lose any that I hooked.”

5th Place: Kevin Hawk (19-5,19-0,22-1: 60-6)
What were your expectations heading into the day?
"There were a few other anglers in my area, but we have been working really well together and fishing our own specific stuff.  I know that there are so many fish in this river that I thought the fish would replenish on my spots, so my expectations were good headed into the day."

How would you summarize your day as a whole?
"I really had one magic hour where I caught all of my weight today. The area I am fishing has a couple of other anglers there who have done well also, but I think I just drifted into a new school of fish that had replenished on the spot."

Was there a key moment for you during the day?
"It was definitely when I put that 5-14 in the boat.  The whole hour when I caught my stringer was key, but that big one was obviously very important."

What was the most challenging or surprising aspect of your day?
"I was surprised to catch all of my weight in an hour.  The first two days it was more of an all day accumulation deal, but today it went down really quickly."

How would you assess your decision making and execution on the water?
"I fished really clean today, I was able to put everything in the boat that bit.  I probably caught around 15 keepers so that is a great day execution wise."

DAY THREE STANDINGS

Place PRO ANGLER Day 1Day 2Day 3 Total Fish Total Weight
FishWeightFishWeightFishWeight
1 Brandon Palaniuk 5 23- 9 5 21- 5 5 20- 9 15 65- 7
2 Jonathon VanDam 5 20- 9 5 21- 8 5 19-10 15 61-11
3 Cliff Pirch 5 20-11 5 22- 9 5 17- 4 15 60- 8
4 Chad Pipkens 5 20- 4 5 21-12 5 18- 7 15 60- 7
5 Kevin Hawk 5 19- 5 5 19- 0 5 22- 1 15 60- 6
6 John Murray 5 19- 9 5 20- 7 5 19-15 15 59-15
7 Aaron Martens 5 20-10 5 21- 8 5 16-14 15 59- 0
8 Bernie Schultz 5 18- 7 5 23- 5 5 17- 3 15 58-15
9 Ott DeFoe 5 18- 5 5 23- 5 5 17- 0 15 58-10
10 Josh Bertrand 5 19- 5 5 18-13 5 20- 6 15 58- 8
11 Gerald Swindle 5 19- 9 5 19-13 5 19- 2 15 58- 8
12 Stephen Kennedy 5 14-12 5 19-10 5 23-14 15 58- 4
13 Jason Christie 5 18- 0 5 19-15 5 20- 4 15 58- 3
14 Kevin VanDam 5 21- 1 5 21- 9 5 15- 4 15 57-14
15 Dennis Tietje 5 21- 9 5 18- 0 5 17-14 15 57- 7
16 Chris Zaldain 5 14- 3 5 19-15 5 23- 3 15 57- 5
17 Casey Scanlon 5 18- 1 5 21- 6 5 17-14 15 57- 5
18 Bobby Lane 5 19- 4 5 19- 7 5 18- 8 15 57- 3
19 Yusuke Miyazaki 5 22- 2 5 16-14 5 18- 2 15 57- 2
20 Mark Davis 5 15-15 5 22-11 5 18- 3 15 56-13
21 Greg Vinson 5 18- 2 5 19- 7 5 18-13 15 56- 6
22 Andy Montgomery 5 17-12 5 18- 3 5 20- 4 15 56- 3
23 Keith Combs 5 18- 5 5 19-12 5 18- 2 15 56- 3
24 Morizo Shimizu 5 17- 5 5 18-13 5 19- 1 15 55- 3
25 Edwin Evers 5 18- 7 5 18-10 5 18- 0 15 55- 1
26 Mike McClelland 5 15-14 5 20- 8 5 18- 8 15 54-14
27 Brent Chapman 5 16- 5 5 18- 1 5 20- 5 15 54-11
28 Derek Remitz 5 18-12 5 20- 3 5 15-11 15 54-10
29 Cliff Pace 5 17- 0 5 18- 8 5 18-12 15 54- 4
30 Kotaro Kiriyama 5 20- 2 5 14-12 5 19- 5 15 54- 3
31 Hank Cherry 5 18-10 5 18- 7 5 16-11 15 53-12
32 Jared Lintner 5 17-15 5 18- 8 5 17- 5 15 53-12
33 Jeremy Starks 5 18-13 5 18- 9 5 16- 4 15 53-10
34 Bill Lowen 5 16- 9 5 19- 0 5 18- 0 15 53- 9
35 Tommy Biffle 5 16- 7 5 19- 4 5 17-13 15 53- 8
36 Davy Hite 5 16- 6 5 17-15 5 19- 3 15 53- 8
37 Matt Greenblatt 5 17- 6 5 16-15 5 19- 1 15 53- 6
38 James Elam 5 17-14 5 17- 6 5 17- 6 15 52-10
39 John Crews 5 16- 9 5 18- 7 5 17- 9 15 52- 9
40 David Walker 5 19-10 5 17-15 5 14-12 15 52- 5
41 Stephen Browning 5 16- 2 5 18-10 5 17- 9 15 52- 5
42 Charlie Hartley 5 20-15 5 14- 8 5 16-11 15 52- 2
43 Britt Myers 5 16- 3 5 18- 7 5 17- 2 15 51-12
44 Randy Howell 5 20-15 5 14-15 5 15- 9 15 51- 7
45 Timmy Horton 5 18- 1 5 17- 3 5 15-12 15 51- 0
46 J Todd Tucker 5 18- 6 5 19-14 5 11-13 15 50- 1
47 Bradley Roy 5 20- 4 5 15-13 5 12-15 15 49- 0
48 Terry Scroggins 5 16-11 5 17-15 5 14- 6 15 49- 0
49 Scott Rook 5 16- 7 5 18- 9 5 13- 8 15 48- 8
50 Kevin Short 5 19- 8 5 16-10 5 10- 0 15 46- 2