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.
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.
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.
Steve Bowman and I just caught up with Josh Bertrand. That's him fishing in the middle of the big, blue St. Lawrence. I'm still amazed at the size of this body of water. Even though I knew it was big. In person it's bigger. Bertrand is fishing in the same area as JVD, Pipkens and Hawk. There's plenty of room for all four guys. And we think Ott DeFoe is not far away. Bertrand just landed his 5th keeper. We're estimating that gives him around 18 pounds so far.
With a bassing average of 4.89 and an average bass of 3.42 pounds, the St. Lawrence River ranks right up there among Elite Series venues over the years. This year, in particular, the St. Lawrence stands out. Only Falcon Lake produced a bigger average fish (4.11 pounds) and a bigger average catch (19.03 pounds), and Falcon is one of the world's great largemouth fisheries.
Jonathon VanDam has culled twice in the last 30 minutes, and they were big time culls. He just took a few minutes to weigh his fish, so he would know which ones to cull next. The total on his scales: 18-12. "That's probably a little light," he said "My scales have been around two ounces off per fish this week. I've got somewhere around 18 or 19 pounds. "Now I need to catch a couple of 5-pounders to give Brandon a run for his money."