Penalty Doesn’t Stop Palaniuk

Category: Tournament

 Aug 9th, 2013 by OutdoorsFIRST 

Modified Aug 9th, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Holy cow!! Deju vu part two. Berkley pro Brandon Palaniuk from Rathdrum, Idaho maintained his first spot after Day 2 at the Bassmaster Elite Series event on the St. Lawrence River out of Waddington, New York with a two-day total of 44 pounds 14 ounces. Palaniuk officially weighed in 21 pounds 5 ounces, but that was after a 2-pound penalty. In second is Skeeter Boats pro Cliff Pirch from Payton, Arizona with 43 pounds 4 ounces.

Rounding out the Top 5 are Nitro Boats pro Kevin VanDam from Kalamazoo, Michigan with 42 pounds 10 ounces, Megabass pro Aaron Martens out of Leeds, Alabama weighing 42 pounds 2 ounces and TroKar Hooks pro Jonathon VanDam from Kalamazoo, Michigan totaling 42 pounds 1 ounce.

Palaniuk had a costly mistake.

Brandon Palaniuk with two Lake Ontario toads. (Joel Shangle)

“I use a system called the Cull Keeper System,” said Palaniuk. “I use this system to prevent forgetting to cull a fish. I still forgot to cull a fish and it cost me two pounds.

“I got to my spot and started catching a bunch of 3-pound smallies. I was really pumped up. Then I caught a bass weighing almost 6 pounds. I was totally pumped up that the big fish were still there. I dropped that fish in the well, jumped up and dropped my lure in the water. About half-way down I said uh oh. I forgot to cull. I called myself in and took the penalty.

“I was upset, but my marshal and I started to talk. He knew Bryan Kerchel (a former Classic champ who had a tragic early death) and was telling me about him. I calmed down. Then I caught another bass almost 5 pounds and some more good fish. Hopefully they are still there tomorrow.”

Kevin VanDam enjoyed himself.

“I had a lot of fun,” said VanDam. “This is a treat catching these fish. I grew up catching smallmouth. It’s my favorite thing in the world to do. It has been a long time since I’ve been to this area. I’ve been looking forward to it all year.

“These fish fight so hard. I do love smallmouth. I know what they like to do. I know their little idiosyncrasies. I had to make some changes today with the weather and moved around a lot.”

Martens didn’t start fast.

“I had a good day,” said Martens. “I started slow, but I don’t worry here. There are fish everywhere. There are big fish in 2 feet, big fish in 40 feet and big fish in 70 feet. I’m fishing areas nobody else is. I’m not sharing any water. This is an amazing place. It is good to be in the thick of things.”

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