Brandon Palaniuk's confidence seems to be growing each day. It's not hard to see why if you glance at today's leaderboard. But in looking back at what Palaniuk said after the Day 2 weigh-in, you can see that his confidence is solidly based and growing. He's had a plan from the start of this event, it has variables for changing conditions, and he's even got places where he caught big fish in practice that he hasn't touched yet.
"I have a general pattern that applies all the way from 3 feet to 30 feet," Palaniuk said. "If I can find that in any depth range, it seems like there are fish around it, and better than average fish.
"I think all the fish right now are moving. They're following bait, and they're moving to more of their summertime stuff. That's kind of why I'm cycling back and forth between all these different depths. I feel like you can intercept them at any depth."
If you look through Nate Sims' incredible photo gallery today, you can't help but notice Palaniuk is using both spinning and baitcasting rigs, and a wide variety of baits. So it's more about where the fish are, rather than what lure they're hitting.
The wind, which has been in double digits mostly out of the south the first three days, is supposed to shift to the north and lay a bit when the Top 12 finish this tournament on Sunday. Palaniuk's plan includes that variable.
"I practiced this event for every wind direction because I knew that could possibly be a factor," he said.
And here's the kicker: "If that wind dies down a little bit, there are some other areas I'd like to run where I caught big ones in practice that I haven't touched in two days."
All that is not to say that Brent Ehrler can't catch Palaniuk. BASSTrakk has him 3 pounds, 5 ounces behind, currently. But no one here, especially after today, is going to match Palaniuk's confidence.