2013 Elite Series Diet Mountain Dew Mississippi River Rumble presented by Power-Pole
Mississippi River - La Crosse, WI, Jun 20 - 23, 2013

Tommy Biffle and other tales from the trip to La Crosse

Everyone knows Biffle is often throwing his Bug. But not often in these conditions.

"I'd never caught 'em on it off of sand before," Biffle said.

Interesting man, undoubtedly.

P.S. When Tommy Biffle picks up a restaurant tab (seldom), he always pays with a credit card. On the blank line for "tip," he always writes a negative number, and gets cash back.


Enough has been written about Day Two leader – by a whopping 6 pounds – Brandon Palaniuk getting his second-day catch disqualified because of inadvertently violating Minnesota's no-cull rule.

Not enough can ever be written about the class manner in which Palaniuk handled adversity.

I witnessed Palaniuk's roommate, Chris Zaldain, catch a 4-pound, 6-ounce smallmouth bass Saturday just below the 701.3 mile marker sign, which is nailed to a tree on the bank. Zaldain was quick to share the fact that Palaniuk had pointed him to the spot. This was the scene of Palaniuk's demise – a place that appears to be in Wisconsin, but apparently isn't.

And I witnessed an example of Palaniuk's grace on Sunday. About 10 a.m., he was preparing to leave La Crosse's Veterans Freedom Park after doing yet one more interview about the whole mess. Mostly in jest, I mentioned that my camera boat had suffered a mechanical failure and it was being repaired.

"I've got a boat," said Palaniuk, just as serious as he could be. "That's what it's for. I'll take you out."

After pondering just how cool that would be to have Palaniuk as a boat driver for James Overstreet and me on this day, I just couldn't accept. A storm was brewing at the time, our boat was being repaired and I figured Palaniuk had already endured enough rough water for one week.

But the fact that he made that offer – in all sincerity – was an example of just a little thing that says a lot about Brandon Palaniuk.


Power-Pole couldn't have picked a better tournament to be a presenting sponsor. The weigh-in that took place after the heavy storms and powerful straight-line winds blew through here Friday sounded like a constant Power-Pole commercial.

Once the big wind passed, it stayed rough in many sections of the Mississippi River all day long. If it seemed like every Elite Series angler mentioned how he wouldn't have been able to fish Friday without Power-Poles, that's because 97 of the 99 at La Crosse have Power-Poles, according to Robert Shamblin, the company's vice president.