Youth vs. experience

Many anglers crossing the weigh-in stage Saturday expressed a sense of relief at not qualifying for today's final. Sure, they were disappointed at not finishing higher. But after two straight weeks on the water, a day off sounded more appealing than a spot in the lower half of today's Top 12.


These back-to-back events, like the Mississippi River Rumble in La Crosse last weekend and Green Bay this weekend, leave little time for rest. There are three days of practice starting Monday before the four-day events begin Thursday.


That throws an interesting aspect into the competition among the Top 4 contenders in today's finale on Lake Michigan.


The youngsters -- 24-year-old Brandon Palaniuk and 23-year-old Jonathon VanDam -- didn't make the cut after two days in La Crosse, so they got a couple days of rest before practice started Monday in Green Bay.


The veterans -- 39-year-old Aaron Martens and 37-year-old Dean Rojas -- fished all four days at La Crosse, as Martens finished fifth and Rojas eighth last Sunday.


"Fourteen straight days of fishing," Rojas said. "I'm ready for a day off."


Martens especially is known for staying in top physical condition, and Rojas always appears to be in good shape as well. It will be interesting to see if the experience of the veterans can help them overcome their own weariness and a couple of well-rested youngsters.

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