Elite

Palaniuk’s charge to 100

See Brandon Palaniuk's charge toward the 100-pound mark and his first Century Belt on Championship Sunday of the 2022 Simms Bassmaster Elite at Lake Fork!

Idaho's Brandon Palaniuk headed into the 2022 Simm's Bassmaster Elite Series at Lake Fork in second and less than 16 pounds away from the coveted 100-pound mark.
The area he was working was near a manmade hump used during construction of the dam. Palaniuk said it was loaded with bait the first three days of competiton.
A small crowd of spectatorsgathered to watch Palaniuk work the area.
But the weather had made a complete turnaround, with a 30=degree temperature drop and a cold north wind blowing.
The lake was chopped up, blowing straight against the dam.
The bait had disappeared from the area, however. Soon Palaniuk was graphing and searching for the schools of bait.
Palaniuk was heavily relying on his front-facing sonar to identify where to cast. He would use his rod to define the angle at which a bass was to his boat.
He would then look in that direction of the cast ...
... and then stand and blast his lure to the fish.
Finally, Palaniuk hooked up.
But it quickly came unbuttoned.
However, he didn't take long to lament the loss before putting his lure back in the water.
He had several bites that turned out to be white bass.
He did land one 2-pounder, which broke the ice.
Palaiuk would often get on his knees after casting a crankbait to get it as deep as possible.
Another hookup ...
... and Palaniuk dragged the fighting bass away from the dam.
The bass fought hard, as Palaniuk worked to keep the fish hooked up.
But Palaniuk finally had the fish in hand.
This bass promised to add some great weight to his limit, pushing him closer to the 100-pound mark.
The bass officially weighed 5-14.
This prompted Palaniuk to tease a little cheering out from the spectators.
The bass was released to be caught again, in accordance with the format for this event.
Another cast, another hookup, and things seemed to be turning on.
This was another chunk, which was not happy about being on the end of Palaniuk's line.
The bass tail-walked all the way down the side of the boat.
And then the worst happened, and the spoon popped out of the bass' mouth.
"Oh, no!" Palaniuk yelled as the bass disappeared.
Palaniuk pulled up the trolling motor and left the dam after another 30 minutes or so without a bite.
He headed to the back of Caney Creek to fish a few spots with hard bottom.
Palaniuk's tools lined up and ready for use.
The move proved unproductive, so Palaniuk idled out to head to the next stop.
This stop was almost immediately productive.
Not a huge bass by any means. The fish didn't weigh, but it gave the angler confidence fish were there.
A few casts later, Palaniuk sank the hooks into another fish.
However, it came unbuttoned.
Not to worry: Another bass was waiting to engulf his lure.
Body language indicated this might be a nicer fish.
The bass streaked to the back of the boat and made its first appearance.
Palaniuk finally lipped the bass and swung it over the gunnel.
The fish weighed 4-7 and edged him closer to the Century Belt.
Bass were definitely in the snaggy waters in front of Palaniuk's boat, and the angler was soon fighting another one to the boat.
This one wasn't in the 4-pound range, but it would weigh.
The fish shook the lure on the way over the bow of the boat ...
... but fortunately for Palaniuk the fish landed in the boat and was soon dangling from the scales.
That did the trick, and Palaniuk was all grins when it sunk in that he had officially eclipsed the 100-pound for the first time in his Elite Series history.
However, it was soon time to get back to work.