If BASSTrakk is right, then Aaron Martens has moved up a few places in the standings today and will pick up a few AOY points because of it.
If he moves from seventh to fourth at the St. Lawrence, he'll pick up three more AOY points going into the finale on Lake St. Clair. That's not a lot, but every point matters, especially if things get tight in Michigan.
This year's race is not as close as the one in 2012. Last year Brent Chapman led Ott DeFoe by just 13 points going into the last tournament, and Todd Faircloth was in third, just 20 points back.
It looks like Edwin Evers will have about a 29 or 30 point lead on Aaron Martens going into St. Clair. KVD is 39 points back. No one else will be within striking distance.
Palaniuk finally hooks one on the jerkbait and lands it. Back into the water it goes.
A few hundred yards behind Palaniuk two local anglers are fishing. They land what appears to be a big bass. They are up in shallower water than Palaniuk is fishing. He doesn't see them, or he just doesn't care and is set on doing his own thing.
He's back to working the jerkbait. He must have caught some good ones in practice this way. I suspect that he will go back to drop shotting soon. His time here is running short. He said he wants to start back at 12:30. That's less than 45 minutes from now. Palaniuk is surely yearning for one more big bite.
If you hang around enough tournament weigh-ins, you hear a lot of talk about how much weight the leader will need to have on the final day to put things away — to all but guarantee (there are no true guarantees) victory.
Here at the St. Lawrence River, it would be easy to say that Palaniuk needs 25 pounds to guarantee victory here, since a lot of locals seem to think that a 25-pound limit is attainable.
I think there's a better way to calculate this, and it uses information we already have.
The two numbers we need to know are the weight of the heaviest catch in the tournament so far, and the lead Palaniuk has going into the final round.
The first number is 23-14. That's what Steve Kennedy had yesterday, and it propelled him into the finals. The second number is 3-12. That's the margin between Palaniuk, in first, and Jonathon VanDam, in second, at the end of the weigh-in yesterday.
Take the first number and subtract the second and you get 20-2, and that's what I think Palaniuk needs today to virtually ensure victory.
Why those numbers?
Well, the biggest bags of the tournament typically come on the first two days. That's when the fish were the freshest, the least picked over and the least harassed. No, it's not always true, but it's true far more often than not, and it means that the biggest catch of the event is very unlikely to come on the final day, even though only the most successful anglers are on the water.
The second number — the lead — merely tells us how close to the first number the leader needs to be if he's to beat the second best angler having a great day.
Could JVD catch 25 pounds and pass Palaniuk? Of course he could, but it's very unlikely.
According to BASSTrakk, Palaniuk has a limit weighing 21-10 already in his livewell. If his number is close to accurate, JVD will need every bit of 25 pounds to catch him.
Of course, BASSTrakk is not always accurate.
Jonathan VanDam is still catching fish, but nothing that has helped him lately. It's doubtful he'll leave this area where he has been all day. He knows there are big fish here. In fact, he just saw one. As JVD was reeling in his last fish, he said, "It's got a giant [swimming] with it!"
VanDam said this is where he, Pipkens and Hawk have been all week. And the area is big enough that there haven't been any turf wars. VanDam confirmed that he and Pipkens were just visiting earlier, no problems.
VanDam said he lost two big ones early this morning on the Coffee Tube, then switched to the Dream Shot and started putting them in the boat. The two Strike King soft plastics have been his main lures this week.
Palaniuk moves a short distance to a rocky point and begins to twitch a jerkbait over a ledge that Yeager says is about 10 feet deep and drops into deeper water.
Palaniuk twitches the jerkbait for only two or three minutes and spots something on his graph. He puts down the baitcasting rod and snatches up a spinning rod with the drop shot bait. He lets the bait sink straight down and intermediately hooks a bass.
It's a decent fish, but it's too small to cull anything in the box. He releases the bass and goes back to twitching the jerkbait.
The wind is picking up a bit, and the waves are getting a little bigger. It's no big deal right now, but if the waves get any bigger they could impact Palaniuk's ride back to Waddington for the weigh-in.
I notice that Palaniuk is doing something that odd with his drop shot rod that is quite effective. When he wants the drop shot bait to sink straight down to the bottom, Palaniuk holds the rod's handle out in front of his face and points the rod down at the water.
This allows the line to slide more easily down through the guides. It also reduces the amount of line between the rod tip and the water to eliminate line-bagging from the wind.
Palaniuk just pulled a baitcasting rod out of his rod locker. Things are about to get interesting.
It's a long time between bites for Palaniuk right now. He sets the hook, works the bass halfway to the boat and his rod goes limp. Palaniuk groans. Apparently,it was a big fish.
He is sticking with this place diligently. You get the feeling that this is a big fish spot rather than a numbers place. Palaniuk is looking for one more big bite to seal the deal.