Top lures at James River Posted on May 17, 2021 Photo: Brendan Kaines - Brandon Palaniuk won the Basspro.com Bassmaster Northern Open on the James River in Virginia, and with it, a berth in the 2022 Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic Presented by Huk. All captions: Pete Robbins Photo: Andy Crawford - Brandon Palaniuk amassed a massive Day 2 bag of 22-06 to claim the lead and closed the door on his sixth Bassmaster win with a big bait strategy on Day 3. See all the baits used by the top anglers in a challenging tournament on an ever-changing tidal river. Photo: Andy Crawford - Bo Boltz (10th, 38-10) Bo Boltz of Virginia followed a simple shallow water strategy with three primary tools to finish 10th. Photo: Andy Crawford - A 5-inch Senko, Green Pumpkin with purple flake rigged on a 3/0 Falcon K-Wacky weedless hook, was one of his key lures. Photo: Andy Crawford - He also relied on a 1/4-ounce black Warrior buzzbait with a chartreuse Zoom split tail trailer (no trailer hook). Photo: Andy Crawford - The final part of his 10th place trio was a Missile Baits Ikeâs Mini Flip Jig, 1/2-ounce, in green pumpkin, with a Zoom Speed Craw trailer, also green pumpkin with the claws dyed chartreuse. Photo: Andy Crawford - Hugh Coscullueala (9th, 41-00) Besides Palaniuk, Hugh Coscullueala was the only member of the top 10 who integrated swimbaits into his top lure selection. Photo: Andy Crawford - He did a lot of damage with an Accent 5/16 ounce buzzbait with a gold blade. He replaced the skirt with a 6th Sense black and blue Stroker Craw. Photo: Andy Crawford - He also dropshotted a black 6th Sense Divine Shakey Head worm on a 3/0 Owner Offset worm hook. He got in down in the current with a 3/8-ounce weight on an 8-inch leader. Photo: Andy Crawford - But his big bait was a 6-inch White Back Shad Megabass Magdraft swimbait. Photo: Andy Crawford - Jonathan Kelley (8th, 42-02) Jonathan Kelley relied on a trio of tidal water staples to get the job done. Photo: Andy Crawford - Kelley depended heavily on a 3/8-ounce War Eagle buzzbait with a gold blade. He removed the skirt and replaced it with a white X Zone Muscle Back Craw. Photo: Andy Crawford - He also enjoyed success with a custom-made black/blue/purple vibrating jig with an all-black X Zone Swammer trailer. Photo: Andy Crawford - When it was time to slow down, he flipped a Texas rigged scuppernong Zoom Baby Brush Hog with a pegged Eco Pro 1/4-ounce tungsten weight and a 3/0 Owner straight shank hook. Photo: Andy Crawford - Tommy Williams (7th, 42-02) Tommy Williams used a pair of 1/4-ounce homemade T-Bug spinnerbaits to finish seventh. Photo: Andy Crawford - One was chartreuse and white with hammered blades â one willow, one Colorado â and a white grub trailer. Photo: Andy Crawford - The other was white with hammered blades â one willow, one Colorado â and a white grub trailer. Both spinnerbaits had flat rubber skirts âbecause Iâm old school.â Photo: Andy Crawford - Mike Hicks (6th, 43-13) Former Bassmaster tour-level competitor Mike Hicks made a run at the win with a strong performance. Photo: Andy Crawford - Hicks used a SPRO Bronzeye Frog earlier in the tournament, but when his best one got worn out he switched to a Booyah Pad Crasher in Dart Frog. He trimmed the skirt to make it walk better. Photo: Andy Crawford - He also cranked a Mannâs Baby One Minus, gold with a black back, and Mustad #4 KVD treble hooks. He purchased it at Roland Martinâs Marina decades ago. Photo: Andy Crawford - When it was time to pick apart cover more carefully, he fished a Texas rigged Bourbon Blaze Zoom Z Craw Jr. with a pegged 1/4-ounce tungsten weight on a 3/0 Mustad 3X Flipping Hook. Photo: Andy Crawford - Greg Alexander (5th, 47-06) Day 1 leader Greg Alexander fished all vertical presentations to attract spooky fish during challenging tidal phases. Photo: Andy Crawford - His top choice was a 1/2-ounce Cheeseburger Jig in Buggs Island Killer. Early in the tournament he tipped it with a green pumpkin Berkley MaxScent Chunk, but when he ran out of those he replaced them with a Berkley MaxScent Creature Hawg in the same color. Photo: Andy Crawford - When fish were particularly finicky he relied Gary Yamamoto Custom Baits black/blue laminate 5-inch Senko on a 3/0 Gamakatsu offset hook. Photo: Andy Crawford - Alexander also flipped a Super Bug Missile Baits D Bomb with an unpegged 1/4-ounce tungsten weight on a 3/0 Gamakatsu Skip Gap hook. Photo: Andy Crawford - Justin Margraves (4th, 47-11) Justin Margraves used a trio of shad imitators to finish fourth. Photo: Andy Crawford - The first was a Strike King KVD 1.5 square bill crankbait, Sexy Shad, with #4 Mustad Triple Grip treble hooks. Photo: Andy Crawford - The second was a white 1/2-ounce Strike King Thunder Cricket vibrating jig with a white Rage Craw trailer. Photo: Andy Crawford - And the third was Santone 5/16-ounce white swim jig, also with a white Strike King Rage Craw trailer. Photo: Andy Crawford - Jeff Queen (3rd, 50-04) Jeff Queen, father of Elite Series pro KJ Queen, fished three lures made by their own tackle company. Photo: Andy Crawford - The first was a Queen Tackle Â¼ ounce Finesse Peanut Jig in Black Magic Special with a green pumpkin Berkley Chigger Craw trailer. Photo: Andy Crawford - For aggressive bass, he utilized a 1/2-ounce Queen Tackle Switchblade Tungsten jig in gizzard shad with a large gold blade. When he ran out of Jenko Tremor Shad trailers he replaced them with a Zoom Super Fluke in Glimmer Blue. Photo: Andy Crawford - He also kept a second 1/2-ounce Switchblade Tungsten jig handy. This one was green pumpkin with a smaller gold glade. He tipped it with a prototype Big Bite Baits creature bait in green pumpkin with gold flake. Photo: Andy Crawford - Nicholas Bodsford (2nd, 50-05) Local favorite Nicholas Bodsford utilized his extensive tidal river knowledge to come close to his first win. Photo: Andy Crawford - One finesse tool was an old-fashioned Charlie Brewer 3/16-ounce Slider Head with a homemade 4-inch blue fleck ringworm. Photo: Andy Crawford - When bass wanted a moving bait, he switched to a Lucky Craft LC 1.5 square bill crankbait (T.O. Gill) with #5 Gamakatsu G Finesse treble hooks. Photo: Andy Crawford - And he kept them honest with a Missile Baits Ikeâs 1/2ounce Mini Flip jig (summer craw) with a Strike King Rage Craw trailer, green pumpkin with the claws dyed orange. Photo: Andy Crawford - Brandon Palaniuk (1st, 53-12) Champion Brandon Palaniuk mixed bigger-than-usual baits with a dose of finesse to claim the Classic berth. Photo: Andy Crawford - An 8-inch Megabass Magdraft albino swimbait, with one tine on the belly treble straightened to keep it in the plastic more securely, was his giant-slayer. Photo: Andy Crawford - He also mixed in a Storm Arashi Glide Bait in black silver shad. Photo: Andy Crawford - When things got tough, he dropshotted and X Zone Lures 6-inch Deception Worm rigged on a #1 VMC Finesse Neko Rig hook and a Â¼ ounce VMC tungsten dropshot weight on a 12-inch leader.