Brandon Palaniuk is running away with the point race for Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year. Of more immediate interest is his place on the scoreboard and how he got there. BASSTrakk shows him with 55 pounds, 9 ounces, or less than 1 pound behind Kelley Jaye.
What he is using are three lures.
A key lure all week is a Storm Arashi Spinbait of his design. The lure features a front prop with three blades with two props at the rear.
"It's a super finesse lure but it gives off a big profile," he said.
The water vortex made by the action emulates a fleeing, struggling baitfish.
"Air gaps are created between the front and rear props that add to the pulsating, rock and roll action," he explained.
Lethargic, post-spawn smallmouth are falling for the different look and unique action.
A Rapala Shadow Rap Deep produces strikes for deeper, more healthier and aggressive smallmouth. Palaniuk is adding black vertical bars with a Sharpie pen to the sides of the bait to make it appear more like the perch forage.
For topwater action he is using a Storm Arashi Top Walker 13, Ayu pattern. For strike appeal he adds a VMC Feathered Treble Hook.
For super slow finesse he is using a drop shot. To make it he begins with a Zoom Z Drop, adds a No. 2 drop shot hook and 1/4- or 3/8-ounce tungsten drop shot sinker.