Brandon Palaniuk is on pace to maintain his lead in the Toyota Angler of the Year race. BASSTrakk currently shows him with 16-14 today and in second place overall. As has been mentioned repeatedly, Palaniuk would complete a remarkable feat if he rallies from his 105th-place finish at Lake Okeechobee to win the AOY title.
The previous worst finish for an AOY winner was Aaron Martens’ 85th-place at the Sabine River in 2015. You might recall that Keith Combs’ 90th-place finish at Bull Shoals/Norfork kept him from making a serious charge at Gerald Swindle last year.
“Honestly, I think it was a blessing in disguise,” said Palaniuk, when asked yesterday about Okeechobee. “I had probably the best practice I’ve ever had down there. I really thought I could catch ‘em. But I never put it together during the tournament. And it was so obvious – the adjustments I needed to make. I was just hard-headed and never made them.”
Palaniuk’s adjustments have been spot-on since. His second-worst finish this season is 18th at Ross Barnett. In the other five Elite Series events, Palaniuk has finished 12th at Cherokee Lake, 5th at Toledo Bend, 1st at Sam Rayburn, 12th at Lake Dardanelle and 3rd at the St. Lawrence River.