Brandon Palaniuk has been here before - when a scheduled four-day Elite Series tournament has been weather-shortened to three days and there's an expanded field for the final. And he remembers it well. It happened at New York's Lake Champlain in July 2017, when 51 anglers competed on the final day.
"I remember it because I finished third!" Palaniuk said. "I had 20 1/2. It was my biggest bag of the week. I thought it was going to be between me and (Seth) Feider."
So did everyone else, until Aaron Martens showed up with 23-pound, 5-ounce limit that rocketed him from 19th place at the start of the day to first place at the final weigh-in. His three-day total of 58-12 topped Feider's 57-14 and Palaniuk's 57-5.
It should be noted that despite the fact Martens was in 19th place after two days at Champlain, he was only 3-1 out of first place. Palaniuk's in 19th place to start this day, but he's 10-15 behind leader Paul Mueller. However, as Rick Clunn showed last year, that's not insurmountable.
"That's the thing here," Palaniuk said. "You go catch 30 pounds and it's a different ballgame. It's not as good as it was last year, but it's still possible. We're right at that time frame where those fish are starting to show up. We're right at the tipping point."