Brandon Palaniuk needs this win. He was off to a terrible start in 2012 (67th at St. Johns; 90th at Okeechobee). A win at Bull Shoals will qualify him for the 2013 Bassmaster Classic after he had dug a hole that made it doubtful he would qualify on points alone. Even with the win here, Palaniuk is only going to move up to 56th in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year race — still a long way out of Classic contention.
If Palaniuk can add to his lead, he has a chance to set a new Elite Series record.
Brandon Palaniuk started Day Three with the biggest lead in Bassmaster Elite Series history.
Bull Shoals produced three bass that currently hold state records:
If you're wondering why more major tournaments haven't been held on Bull Shoals over the years, maybe it's because the fishing has traditionally been pretty bad. In the six previous B.A.S.S. events here, the average fish weighed less than 1.75 pounds. That's pretty small! To make matters worse, few of them were being caught! That's all changed this week, when the average bass has weighed 2.77 pounds — more than a pound above the historical Bull Shoals average! and almost everyone is catching a limit. The bassing average over the first three days has been a remarkable 4.96 out of a possible 5.00. Bull Shoals is better than ever — or at least the best its been since the heydays right after it was impounded in 1951.
If the Elite season ended after Day Three of the Bull Shoals event, your Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year would be ... wait for it ... drum roll please ... Brent Chapman, in a landslide! Chapman would have 285 points on the strength of three consecutive top six finishes. The runner-up would be Randy Howell with 263. Skeet Reese would be 6th and Kevin VanDam 7th.
The flippin' technique was born on the California Delta but was introduced to the rest of the world when its inventor, Dee Thomas, won the 1975 Arkansas Invitational on Bull Shoals Reservoir. It was the first BASS event ever held on Bull Shoals.
This year's Elite event marks BASS' seventh professional tournament on Bull Shoals Reservoir and the first since a WBT event in 2006. It's been more than 20 years (1991) since the top BASS pros competed there. That event (the 1991 Arkansas Bassmaster Top 100) was won by Ron Shuffield.
This year's Elite event marks B.A.S.S.' seventh professional tournament on Bull Shoals Reservoir.