Palmer's guarded bank

Palmer has left the bank he’s so ferociously guarded for two days. 

He’s got a decent limit but has no idea the standings have flipped like they have. Our guess is he’s moved to places that could produce that one big bite to further ensure his position in the top five. But he doesn’t have much time to do it. 

We are pulling off him, opting not to chase that dream at the moment. 

Todd Auten posting huge rally

There will be some bigger than normal ups-and-downs in the Day 2 standings today when compared with Day 1. It's the nature of the Winyah Bay fishery. But none will be more dramatic than the one Todd Auten is posting.

The 53-year-old veteran pro from Lake Wylie, S.C., was ranked 19th in the Toyota Angler of the Year standings after last week's Lake Hartwell event. But Auten's good start almost fell apart Thursday at Winyah Bay. He had only a single keeper. It weighed 3-1 and left him in 72nd place.

However, Auten has 15-12 today, according to BASSTrakk, which would top Jason Williamson's 15-11 big bag from Day 1. Auten is now in 14th place, unofficially. Nothing like moving up the standings 58 places in a 75-man tournament to put a smile on your face.

Palmer's struggle

Palmer has struggled a bit all day. We’ve seen him miss a half dozen fish, lose one or two. But he’s still managed to squeak out a limit. And he’s culled once.

BassTrakk has him light at the moment. But we figure he has in the 7- to 8-pound range. That would keep him in the top 5. But he’s missing that all important 4-pound plus bite that will ensure that he stays in the mix.

That can still happen. But time is running out. And those missed fish could really be starting to gain weight in psyche of a tournament angler.

Palmer though is just one good bite away from having a decent follow up day.

Santee River is high-risk, high-reward

Hunter Shryock's 5-pounds-plus bass just before 11 a.m. is typical of what Elite Series anglers have found in the Santee River going back to the 2016 tournament. It's high-risk, high-reward. It was in the Santee that John Murray caught the 8-pound, 9-ounce big bass of the 2016 event. It was also the only fish he caught that day. It was in the Santee where Kelly Jordon sacked the biggest bag of the tournament - 24 pounds, 7 ounces, which was nearly half his four-day, third-place total of 55-3 in 2016.

"Those better fish are everywhere," said John Crews at Thursday's weigh-in. "They're in the Waccamaw, they're in the Pee Dee, they're in Santee. Obviously, they're in the Cooper. I think the Santee probably has the biggest fish, but it's really hard to get five there."

Shryock has added a third keeper to his bag today. He did manage to catch a limit in the Santee yesterday. But he only had seven bites all day.

Shryock: "One fish changes everything!"

Hunter Shryock just put a jolt of electricity in his day. After spending most of the morning with one small bass in the boat, Shryock boat-flipped a 5-pounds-plus largemouth just before 11 a.m. Then Shryock went crazy.

"One fish changes everything!" shouted Shryock. "That is the best feeling in the world! Absolutely the best feeling in the world!"

The 30-year-old Newcomerstown, Ohio, resident entered the day in second place after catching 15 pounds, 8 ounces on Thursday. However, he was less than confident at the Day 1 weigh-in he could repeat that performance today in the Santee River because of the rising water there.

Shryock might have been second-guessing his decision to go back there today, until the big one bit.

"Flipping trees is what I'm doing," he said Thursday. "It's risky business, but they're there to be caught."

Shryock just proved that.

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Where Elites are fishing

The map gives you a glimpse into where the Elite anglers fishing on Day 2. The short story is they are spread way out. One angler ran from Georgetown up the Waccamaw River all the way to Conway, S.C. At least 26 anglers made the long trek down to Charleston and up the Cooper River. More than 100 miles, as a crow flies, separates those two location. Two anglers are up the Santee River. The rest stayed close to Georgetown, fishing on the Pee Dee River or the Waccamaw.

There are tough decisions to be made at this tournaments. Decisions that at this time of year will impact the Toyota Angler of the Year race, and careers. The long runs to the Cooper River several limits the hours fishing. Guys have placed their bets, and we'll see at weigh-in today which bets paid off.

Moving day

Looking at BASSTrakk and what I can see on the water. A lot of things are changing, some things are staying the same.

Where I’m sitting Palmer is having a little slower of a morning. You take out the 3 and 4 pounders he had yesterday and it’s easy to see that. But he also didn’t have four in the well at this time.

Meanwhile Paquette is sitting on zero and the same place he caught them yesterday about this time.

So both maybe struggling. We see that in the standings. Jason Williamson is way off the pace he set yesterday. As is Shryock.

Meanwhile we are seeing others pick up the pace.

Jesse Tacoronte is a good example. He’s moved way up. As has Harvey Horne, who was languishing in the depths of the standings. He now has 15 pounds in BASSTrakk and sits in the top 20.

This truly is moving day.

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Palmer added No. 4

Palmer has added a fourth to the well. He now has 6 pounds and change.

This last one came right after a short but strong rain storm rushed through the area. For a minute it rained so hard you could barely see more than 100 yards. Then as quick as it came it left.

But it also helped notched up the wind another mile or two.

The sun is semi peeking through. But we all still have our rain gear on. Everything else is soaked.

One more pass

Jason Williamson decided to make one more pass down the banks of the same marina canals before leaving, and it was a good move.

He pitched a drop shot out and set the hook on what ended up being a 2- to 2 1/2-pounder.

“Whew!” Williamson said after boxing the bass. “That’s where that big one came off of yesterday. There’s a depression and two to three stumps down there.”

He now is having second thoughts about moving.

“That fish is making me want to stay,” Williamson said. “I’d like the tide to be better in here, though. The other spot is a good run, so we’ll see.”

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Elites on the move

Palmer has added a third to the box, giving him three for around 4 pounds and change.

The good thing is a lot of the other Elites have moved on. Paquette is still 300 yards away in the area he fished yesterday.

Instead of Elites there are now several local anglers in the area. Some are fishing. Some are watching.

It all made me realize how spoiled we’ve become with Power Poles and Spot Lock trolling motors.

The wind has steadily picked up and those wanting to watch are steadily getting blown into Palmer’s area.

I’m not sure how much, if any, impact they will have on his area but it’s just one more thing that serves as a distraction. If not for Palmer, then for those of us trying to keep a good sightline on him.

But if the current wind continues and strengthens, then these boys are going to have a whale of time on the ride back.

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