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Palaniuk Leads Elite Series Tournament On St. Lawrence River

 

WADDINGTON, N.Y. — Brandon Palaniuk busted one of the largest first-day bags of the Bassmaster Elite Series season on Thursday. That was the second item of big news coming out of this Upstate New York town on the banks of the St. Lawrence River.
 
Thursday’s first newsmaker was from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. He made a rare visit to Waddington in the morning, touting the St. Lawrence fishery and other attractions of the region.
 
As if to prove Cuomo’s point, Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, hauled 23 pounds, 9 ounces of smallmouth bass to the scales to lead the tournament at St. Lawrence River on Day 1.
 
He wasn’t the only one to show off the river, and the big smallmouth that live there. Even to make the Top 12 Thursday, an Elite pro had to break the 20-pound mark. To be among the Top 50 (the second-day cut mark), a pro had to have more than 17 pounds.
 
Among those turning in 20-plus pounds were Yusuke Miyazaki of Forney, Texas, with 22-2 for second place, and Dennis Tietje of Roanoke, La., with 21-9 for third place. Landing fourth place was a two-time St. Lawrence event champ, Kevin VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., who weighed 21-1. Fifth place was a tie at 20-15 between Charlie Hartley of Grove City, Okla., and Randy Howell of Springville, Ala.
 
Palaniuk — who also led Day 1 of the previous Elite event, which was on the Mississippi River — said he made a decision to make a hard run of 100-plus miles to a spot he’d found in practice. Allowing time enough for a return trip left him with just two hours of fishing time.
 
“It took me almost three hours to get to my first spot today,” he said. “My first two casts, I caught two 3 1/2-pounders. That gave me the confidence that I was going to be able to catch them.”
 
And confirmation that he’d made the right decision to spend most of his competition time running to the fish rather than casting to them.
 
“My goal was to catch 23 pounds a day. I thought if I could do that, I could put myself into contention to win,” Palaniuk said. “I’d caught that in practice, so I knew the potential was there.”
 
Palaniuk makes no bones about it: He’s after a win to nail an instant qualification for the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, one of the Showdown’s prizes. The winner also takes home $100,000.
 
“I don’t care about the money, just give me the Classic berth,” Palaniuk said.
 
He was heading toward that prize on the Mississippi River in June. He led the first two days by a wide margin, but his second-day catch was disqualified when he inadvertently culled a fish in Minnesota, which is against the law.
 
Palaniuk’s closest threat after the first of four competition days on the St. Lawrence was Miyazaki, who had two 5-pounders in his five-fish limit. Like Palaniuk, he had all smallmouth.
 
And like Palaniuk, Miyazaki said he also committed to a longer-than-usual run to get back to the best fish he’d found in practice.
 
“I find a good school of fish, I stay with it,” said Miyazaki, who, again like Palaniuk, had never before competed on the St. Lawrence.
 
The Carhartt Big Bass of the day was a 5-pound, 8-ounce smallmouth brought in by Brian Snowden of Reeds Spring, Mo.
 
The full field will return to the St. Lawrence River Friday. The Top 50 will advance to Saturday’s round. Only the Top 12 will compete Sunday for the Showdown’s title and prizes.
 
Also at stake at the Showdown are points in the 2013 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year competition. The top pro will take the AOY crown later this month after the season finale on Lake St. Clair in Michigan at the Plano Championship Chase. Points also determine qualifications for the postseason in September and the Classic in February 2014.
 
The AOY race leader going into the Showdown was Edwin Evers of Talala, Okla. His biggest threats have been Skeet Reese of Auburn, Calif., 44 points in back of Evers, and Kevin VanDam, trailing Evers by 50 points.
 
Compared to VanDam’s fourth-place showing on Thursday, Evers was losing some ground at 25th place in Showdown standings. Reese, in 36th place, wasn’t helping his bid to catch up to Evers in points. But points won’t be awarded until the event has ended, so that game can still change.
 
Fans are invited to watch the pros take off Friday at 6:30 a.m. ET for the second of four days of competition. The weigh-in will begin at 3:15 p.m. All events are at Whittaker Park in Waddington.
 
While the pros are on the water, fans can visit the Tastes and Talents of the North Country Festival at the park. Exhibitors include food and wine vendors, artists, crafters and local businesses. Fifteen musical acts are scheduled over the four competition days. Headliners are Bucky Covington on Friday at 7:30 p.m.; Jason Michael Carroll on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (followed by fireworks); and Chris Taylor and the Custom Taylor at 1 p.m. Sunday.
 
2013 Tournament at St Lawrence  8/8-8/11
St. Lawrence River, Waddington, N.Y.
(PROFESSIONAL) Standings Day 1
 
   Angler                   Hometown              No./lbs-oz  Pts   
 
1.  Brandon Palaniuk       Rathdrum, ID             5  23-09   99
  Day 1: 5   23-09  
2.  Yusuke Miyazaki        Forney, TX               5  22-02   98
  Day 1: 5   22-02  
3.  Dennis Tietje          Roanoke, LA              5  21-09   97
  Day 1: 5   21-09  
4.  Kevin VanDam           Kalamazoo, MI            5  21-01   96
  Day 1: 5   21-01  
5.  Charlie Hartley        Grove City, OH           5  20-15   95
  Day 1: 5   20-15  
5.  Randy Howell           Springville, AL          5  20-15   95
  Day 1: 5   20-15  
7.  Clifford Pirch         Payson, AZ               5  20-11   93
  Day 1: 5   20-11  
8.  Aaron Martens          Leeds, AL                5  20-10   92
  Day 1: 5   20-10  
9.  Jonathon VanDam        Kalamazoo, MI            5  20-09   91
  Day 1: 5   20-09  
10. Brian Snowden          Reeds Spring, MO         5  20-05   90
  Day 1: 5   20-05  
11. Bradley Roy            Lancaster, KY            5  20-04   89
  Day 1: 5   20-04  
12. Chad Pipkens           Holt, MI                 5  20-04   88
  Day 1: 5   20-04  
13. Kotaro Kiriyama        Moody, AL                5  20-02   87
  Day 1: 5   20-02  
14. David Walker           Sevierville, TN          5  19-10   86
  Day 1: 5   19-10  
15. John Murray            Phoenix, AZ              5  19-09   85
  Day 1: 5   19-09  
15. Gerald Swindle         Warrior, AL              5  19-09   85
  Day 1: 5   19-09  
17. Kevin Short            Mayflower, AR            5  19-08   83
  Day 1: 5   19-08  
18. Josh Bertrand          Gilbert, AZ              5  19-05   82
  Day 1: 5   19-05  
18. Kevin Hawk             Guntersville, AL         5  19-05   82
  Day 1: 5   19-05  
20. Bobby Lane             Lakeland, FL             5  19-04   80
  Day 1: 5   19-04  
21. Jeremy Starks          Scott Depot, WV          5  18-13   79
  Day 1: 5   18-13  
22. Derek Remitz           Grant, AL                5  18-12   78
  Day 1: 5   18-12  
23. Hank Cherry            Maiden, NC               5  18-10   77
  Day 1: 5   18-10  
24. Michael Iaconelli      Pitts Grove, NJ          5  18-09   76
  Day 1: 5   18-09  
25. Edwin Evers            Talala, OK               5  18-07   75
  Day 1: 5   18-07  
25. Takahiro Omori         Emory, TX                5  18-07   75
  Day 1: 5   18-07  
25. Bernie Schultz         Gainesville, FL          5  18-07   75
  Day 1: 5   18-07  
28. J Todd Tucker          Moultrie, GA             5  18-06   72
  Day 1: 5   18-06  
29. Keith Combs            Huntington, TX           5  18-05   71
  Day 1: 5   18-05  
29. Ott DeFoe              Knoxville, TN            5  18-05   71
  Day 1: 5   18-05  
31. Michael Simonton       Fremont, OH              5  18-03   69
  Day 1: 5   18-03  
32. Greg Vinson            Wetumpka, AL             5  18-02   68
  Day 1: 5   18-02  
33. Brandon Card           Caryville, TN            5  18-01   67
  Day 1: 5   18-01  
33. Timmy Horton           Muscle Shoals, AL        5  18-01   67
  Day 1: 5   18-01  
33. Casey Scanlon          Shawnee Mission, KS      5  18-01   67
  Day 1: 5   18-01  
36. Skeet Reese            Auburn, CA               5  18-01   64
  Day 1: 5   18-01  
37. Jason Christie         Park Hill, OK            5  18-00   63
  Day 1: 5   18-00  
38. Jared Lintner          Arroyo Grande, CA        5  17-15   62
  Day 1: 5   17-15  
39. James Elam             Tulsa, OK                5  17-14   61
  Day 1: 5   17-14  
40. Billy McCaghren        Mayflower, AR            5  17-13   60
  Day 1: 5   17-13  
41. Andy Montgomery        Blacksburg, SC           5  17-12   59
  Day 1: 5   17-12  
42. BJ Haseotes            Centerville, MA          5  17-10   58
  Day 1: 5   17-10  
43. Cliff Prince           Palatka, FL              5  17-09   57
  Day 1: 5   17-09  
44. Rick Clunn             Ava, MO                  5  17-07   56
  Day 1: 5   17-07  
45. Matt Greenblatt        Port St Lucie, FL        5  17-06   55
  Day 1: 5   17-06  
46. Boyd Duckett           Demopolis, AL            5  17-05   54
  Day 1: 5   17-05  
46. Morizo Shimizu         Osaka JAPAN              5  17-05   54
  Day 1: 5   17-05  
48. Grant Goldbeck         Boerne, TX               5  17-04   52
  Day 1: 5   17-04  
49. Alton Jones            Lorena, TX               5  17-03   51
  Day 1: 5   17-03  
49. Fred Roumbanis         Bixby, OK                5  17-03   51
  Day 1: 5   17-03  
51. Russ Lane              Prattville, AL           5  17-01   49
  Day 1: 5   17-01  
52. Cliff Pace             Petal, MS                5  17-00   48
  Day 1: 5   17-00  
53. Kurt Dove              Del Rio, TX              5  16-15   47
  Day 1: 5   16-15  
54. Terry Scroggins        San Mateo, FL            5  16-11   46
  Day 1: 5   16-11  
55. Jason Williamson       Aiken, SC                5  16-10   45
  Day 1: 5   16-10  
56. John Crews             Salem, VA                5  16-09   44
  Day 1: 5   16-09  
56. Todd Faircloth         Jasper, TX               5  16-09   44
  Day 1: 5   16-09  
58. Bill Lowen             Brookville, IN           5  16-09   42
  Day 1: 5   16-09  
59. Tommy Biffle           Wagoner, OK              5  16-07   41
  Day 1: 5   16-07  
59. Scott Rook             Little Rock, AR          5  16-07   41
  Day 1: 5   16-07  
61. Davy Hite              Ninety Six, SC           5  16-06   39
  Day 1: 5   16-06  
62. Brent Chapman          Lake Quivira, KS         5  16-05   38
  Day 1: 5   16-05  
63. Britt Myers            Lake Wylie, SC           5  16-03   37
  Day 1: 5   16-03  
64. Stephen Browning       Hot Springs, AR          5  16-02   36
  Day 1: 5   16-02  
65. Mark Davis             Mount Ida, AR            5  15-15   35
  Day 1: 5   15-15  
66. Mike McClelland        Bella Vista, AR          5  15-14   34
  Day 1: 5   15-14  
67. Paul Elias             Laurel, MS               5  15-12   33
  Day 1: 5   15-12  
68. Greg Hackney           Gonzales, LA             5  15-10   32
  Day 1: 5   15-10  
69. Jeff Kriet             Ardmore, OK              5  15-08   31
  Day 1: 5   15-08  
70. David Smith            Del City, OK             5  15-04   30
  Day 1: 5   15-04  
71. Rick Morris            Lake Gaston, VA          5  15-03   29
  Day 1: 5   15-03  
71. Nate Wellman           Newaygo, MI              5  15-03   29
  Day 1: 5   15-03  
73. Shaw E Grigsby Jr.     Gainesville, FL          5  14-14   27
  Day 1: 5   14-14  
74. Chris Lane             Guntersville, AL         5  14-13   26
  Day 1: 5   14-13  
75. Steve Kennedy          Auburn, AL               5  14-12   25
  Day 1: 5   14-12  
76. Gary Klein             Weatherford, TX          5  14-10   24
  Day 1: 5   14-10  
77. Jamie Horton           Centerville, AL          5  14-08   23
  Day 1: 5   14-08  
78. Dean Rojas             Lake Havasu City, AZ     5  14-04   22
  Day 1: 5   14-04  
79. Ish Monroe             Hughson, CA              5  14-03   21
  Day 1: 5   14-03  
79. Chris Zaldain          San Jose, CA             5  14-03   21
  Day 1: 5   14-03  
81. Fletcher Shryock       New Philadelphia, OH     5  13-13   19
  Day 1: 5   13-13  
82. Zell Rowland           Montgomery, TX           5  13-11   18
  Day 1: 5   13-11  
83. Matt Herren            Trussville, AL           5  13-09   17
  Day 1: 5   13-09  
83. Pete Ponds             Madison, MS              5  13-09   17
  Day 1: 5   13-09  
85. Marty Robinson         Lyman, SC                5  13-07   15
  Day 1: 5   13-07  
86. Kevin Ledoux           Choctaw, OK              5  13-04   14
  Day 1: 5   13-04  
87. Cliff Crochet          Pierre Part, LA          5  13-03   13
  Day 1: 5   13-03  
88. Kelly Jordon           Palestine, TX            5  12-12   12
  Day 1: 5   12-12  
89. Jared Miller           Norman, OK               5  12-10   11
  Day 1: 5   12-10  
90. James Niggemeyer       Van, TX                  5  12-06   10
  Day 1: 5   12-06  
91. Matt Reed              Madisonville, TX         5  12-05    9
  Day 1: 5   12-05  
92. Casey D Ashley         Donalds, SC              5  12-03    8
  Day 1: 5   12-03  
93. Kenyon Hill            Norman, OK               5  10-15    7
  Day 1: 5   10-15  
94. Kelley Jaye            Dadeville, AL            5  10-03    6
  Day 1: 5   10-03  
95. Jason Quinn            Rock Hill, SC            5  10-01    5
  Day 1: 5   10-01  
96. Jami Fralick           Martin, SD               4  09-07    4
  Day 1: 4   09-07  
97. Chip Porche            Bixby, OK                1  01-14    3
  Day 1: 1   01-14  
98. Scott Ashmore          Broken Arrow, OK         1  01-05    2
  Day 1: 1   01-05  
99. Keith Poche            Pike Road, AL            0  00-00    0
  Day 1: 0   00-00  
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Totals
Day   #Limits    #Fish      Weight
 1        95       481      1621-05
----------------------------------
          95       481      1621-05

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