2013 Elite Series Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown at St. Lawrence River
St. Lawrence River - Waddington, NY, Aug 8 - 11, 2013

2013 St. Lawrence River Live Blog

JVD, Hawk and Pipkins fishing close together

8:19 am EDT, Aug 11, 2013

Steve Bowman (in photo) and I are on the St Lawrence, about 3 miles west of Morristown, NY, where we launched this morning. The wind here is brisk, 10 miles an hour or better, bringing some chop to the water. Chad Pipkins just told us this is more wind than he had all day yesterday.

We're watching Jonathan VanDam, Kevin Hawk and Pipkins fishing in the same vicinity. So far we've seen each catch a fish. They are all fishing on a big sandbar in about 20 to 30 feet of water. They're keeping an eye out for structure on the bottom, such as boulders. And they're searching for fish on their electronics.

Henderson Bay

8:17 am EDT, Aug 11, 2013

Battle of the Young Guns

7:42 am EDT, Aug 11, 2013

Today's Top 12 could be called the battle of the young guns. The top five, Brandon Palaniuk, JVD, Cliff Pirch, Chad Pipkins, and Kevin Hawk, are all under 30. Also in the top 12 are Ott DeFoe and Josh Bertrand, under 30 as well.

Does this signal a changing of the guard? Well the top 10 in AOY standings is a decidedly more mature crowd. In other words these younger guys have not been as consistent.
On a related note, the first and second place leaders are the same today as we had on day four at Green
Bay in 2012 -- Palaniuk and JVD. VanDam won that one. It's going to be fun to see how this one plays out today. Today it's Palaniuk's game to lose.

Kennedy looking for No. 2

7:40 am EDT, Aug 11, 2013
After that 3-11 smallmouth and another bite or two, Steve Kennedy bears watching for a while. It would take a miracle for him and disasters for the front-runners for him to win this Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown at the St. Lawrence River, but he's fun to follow. Kennedy is fishing a broad flat crossing an indentation in the shoreline. Parts of it are 4 feet deep, but 8-foot ditches criss-cross it. He loves this relatively shallow water. "I know where I am now," he said. "I can see the bottom." Zebra mussel colonies create hard, light-colored patches on the bottom, and Kennedy has spotted several bass cruising around them.
"I stopped here yesterday and caught a 3-pounder early," he told me. I came back later (11 am) and caught a 4, a 4-4, a 5-4 and some others. This is my honey hole." Big bass of the tournament, the 5-14 that anchored Kennedy's limit Saturday, hit in deep water. Here, he's alternating between a wacky rigged Kinami flash soft stickworm on a drop shot and a small swimbait. The swimbait has produced best. Kennedy found the spot "just idling by," and didn't fish it much until Saturday. Doug Kirkbride of Beaver Falls, N.Y., a frequent visitor to these waters, says it's one of his favorite spots to fish with his friends and family members. "They just have a ball."

Aaron Martens started today at 7th

7:39 am EDT, Aug 11, 2013

Aaron started his day at a new fresh area. "I'm tired of my spots. I like to fish new spots. I like to have a fun today."

Steve Kennedy's at his honey hole

7:35 am EDT, Aug 11, 2013
My assignment this morning is to follow Aaron Martens and John Murray, two of the top dozen who are fishing near the Ogdensburg bridge.En route to their spots, though, Steve Kennedy raced past my driver -- Doug Kirkbride -- and me and then stopped on a good-looking bank. We pulled over to watch him, and he immediately started chatting, telling everything about what he's been doing this week. Yesterday was a great day for Kennedy. He climbed into the finals from nowhere with the heaviest catch of the tournament so far, 23-14. And we're looking at the spot where most of those fish came from. He didn't catch 'em all yesterday, either. I just watched him hook and battle a 3-11 smallmouth for what seemed like 15 minutes. The fish hit a swimbait, as most of yesterday's big ones did. 
"These fish never give up," Kennedy complained. "I wish we could use nets on these smallmouth. I lost three good ones the first day. He is taking no chances today. 

Half Way to Henderson

7:13 am EDT, Aug 11, 2013

I'm now riding with Randy Yeager, our boat driver yesterday. We're halfway to Henderson Bay.

Yeager is a fishing guide and a veteran tournament angler. He won a Bassmaster Eastern Invitational in 2000 at Lake Okeechobee.  He is very impressed with Palaniuk's performance yesterday.

"To make that long run and hang in there in that rough water the way he did was  impressive," Yeager says. "He didn't catch his first bass for quite awhile. A lot of guys would have bailed on that spot.

Jay Kumar Coffee Genious

7:00 am EDT, Aug 11, 2013

I'm staying in a lake house overlooking the St. Lawrence River with several other media types that are covering this Elite Series tournament. Some of us are coffee addicts that need a shot of caffeine to get kick-started in the morning.

We thoroughly enjoyed the Keurig coffee brewer at the house, until we discovered this morning that we had used up all the little coffee dispensers.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Jay Kumar, creator of the Daily BassBlaster, had brought a bag of premo Pete's Coffee, but there was no coffee maker to brew the stuff. Not one to be denied, Kumar rigged a coffee filter on top of a blender and poured hot water through it. The resulting brew was a tasty lifesaver. Kudos to Kumar, the Coffee Genius.

Back to Henderson Bay

6:25 am EDT, Aug 11, 2013

Ace photographer Seigo Saito and I are again driving by car to Henderson Bay, the scene of Brandon Palaniuk's heroics yesterday. Despite a relentless wind and 3 to 4 foot waves, Palaniuk sacked 20 pounds, 9 ounces of bass to boost his lead.

The wind is slight this morning. Palaniuk will make good time making the 100+ mile run to Henderson Bay. And, the fishing conditions should be much more favorable than yesterday. It is now Palaniuk's tournament to lose. That doesn't seem likely, but strange things have a way of happening in this sport.

I talked with Florida's Bernie Schultz just before we left the launch ramp in Waddington. He's in 9th place, nearly 6 1/2 pounds behind Palaniuk. He made the top 12 cut by fishing in the St. Lawrence River, but he is running to Lake Ontario this morning.

"My only chance to win is out on the big lake," Schultz said. "You can catch 30 pounds out there."

He may need every ounce of that to be victorious here.

Great crowd!

4:59 pm EDT, Aug 10, 2013