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.
With a win at Bull Shoals following his 90th-place finish at Okeechobee, Palaniuk will have the fifth biggest "rebound" in Elite Series history. David Walker has the top mark. After finishing 98th in a field of 99 anglers on the Arkansas River last year, Walker rebounded to win the Elite finale on Wheeler Lake.