Woes of a returning champ

Just because you won someplace a year ago doesn’t mean much when you launch again this year. Just ask 2012 Bull Shoals champ Brandon Palaniuk, who came to the scales yesterday with two small bass that weighed 3-8.


Palaniuk’s Day 1 struggles got me wondering: What’s the worst follow-up to a victory in Elite history? Surely, if Palaniuk can’t lift himself out of 98th place, that would be the worst, right?


Well, it depends on how you look at it. If Palaniuk finishes the tournament in the same place he started today, he’ll be 98th out of 100 anglers (.980 as a percentile).


Back in 2007, Texas pro Ben Matsubu won the Elite tournament on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes in Central Florida. Six months later the Elites were back, and things were much different. Instead of a fall event, it was spring and a lot of bass were on beds. Matsubu didn’t fare nearly as well. He finished 103rd out of 109 anglers (.945).


Jeremy Starks found the going almost as rough when he returned to Lake Wheeler a year after winning the 2008 Elite tournament there. He won in June, but the next time around it was April. Things changed, including Starks’ success. He was 91st out of 100 competitors (.910).


So, if you do the math, Palaniuk stands to have the worst follow-up to an Elite victory so far, and while things are certainly different this year from last, his return comes during the very same week as his win.


I bet a lot of Fantasy Fishing players are gnashing their teeth this week. Palaniuk was one of the most popular selections in the field. 

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