JVD had to take some extra time while making his latest cull. He knew this 4-pounder would help him. The problem came when he was trying to discern the smallest fish in his livewell After that cull. Now he's got five cookie-cutter 4-pounders. "I think I've got over 20 pounds now," VanDam said. "Somewhere around that." All his fish have have been caught drop shotting a Strike King Dream Shot — green pumpkin with blue flake — in about 25 feet of water.
Palaniuk finally catches a better fish on a jerkbait. It leaps high into the air before he gets a handle on it. After boating the fish, he gets out his balance beam and takes several minutes to figure out whether the fish is big enough to cull one in the box. He tosses one fish back into the water. I can't tell if it is the one he just caught. Palaniuk takes a moment to weigh one of his bass. Yeager and I ease over to Palaniuk's boat to pick up Seigo. "I think I have about 22 pounds," Palaniuk says.
We brought Kennedy's kids out to say they watched their old man fish a Bassmaster derby. He caught a 3-12 in front of them!
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.
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.
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.
Brandon Palaniuk tells how he found the spot that's produced for him so well this week.
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.
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.