Posted by Z3 MEDIA STAFF on 08/20/2018

Moore, OK – The final regular season tournament for the 2018 Bassmaster Elite Series kicks off on Thursday in Waddington, New York on the banks of the St. Lawrence River.   This marks the fourth time since 2013 that B.A.S.S. has held an Elite Series stop on the smallmouth bass dominated fishery.  

In 2013, Brandon Palaniuk made the now famous run to Lake Ontario and mined 88-12 worth of smallmouth to pull away from Jonathon VanDam and claim his second Elite Series victory.

Check out The BASS ZONE'S post-game show from 2013 following Plalaniuk's victory: 

Two years later in 2015, the playing field was different as B.A.S.S. limited the field to the St. Lawrence River which made Lake Ontario off-limits.  Oklahoma’s Edwin Evers became the first angler in Elite Series history to win back-to-back tournaments in a single season, following up his win on Kentucky Lake with a victory on the St. Lawrence with 77-10. 

Here's how Evers and the rest of the top finishers got the job done in 2015:

In 2017, the St. Lawrence event was dominated by Kevin VanDam, who led the tournament wire-to-wire and won with an impressive total weight of 90-3.  

Here’s how KVD blew away the field last year:

This year marks the latest in the season that the Elite Series has visited the St. Lawrence, with the other three stops taking place in July and early August.  As a result, Brandon Palaniuk told The BASS ZONE last month that he believes it could potentially take 100 pounds to lift the trophy if the stars align.  

“I know that we can’t go into Lake Ontario, but I’m not sure how many people realize what lives in the St. Lawrence River.” he stated.  

Palaniuk said that several years ago he spent three days during August on the St. Lawrence and cracked the 28-pound mark for his best five smallmouth on two of the days.  “I weighed each one of them, so I know exactly what I was dealing with.  It was absolutely insane.  If we hit it right, it could take triple digits to win.”

Bradley Roy continues to lead the Toyota Angler Of the Year race heading into the final regular season stop of the year.  Through seven regular season events, Roy has amassed a total of 617 points with five Top 25 finishes.   That being said, the race is still wide open.  

Roy has struggled on the St. Lawrence, posting finishes of 59th in 2017, 73rd in 2015, and 47th in 2013.  Throughout his 10 year career on the Elite Series, he has just one Top 10 finishes on a smallmouth dominated fishery – and that came earlier this year with a 6th place finish on Lake Oahe in South Dakota.  

There are 11 anglers currently within 100 points of Roy in the TAOY race, but the top three in the TAOY race (Bradley Roy, Justin Lucas, and Brent Chapman) have combined to fish eight Elite Series tournaments on the St. Lawrence since 2013 and have a grand total of zero Top 10 finishes.   

Josh Bertrand, who sits in 4th place in the TAOY standings with 597 points (20 points behind Roy), is in prime position to make a move this week.   The Arizona pro has flourished on the St. Lawrence River in past events with finishes of 8th place in 2013, 11th place in 2015, and 16th place in 2017.