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Posted By Hawgsrus
WADDINGTON, N.Y. — Who or what can stop Brandon Palaniuk? Not wind and 6-foot waves. Not a daily trip by water of 200-plus miles. Not a 2-pound penalty. But maybe Jonathon VanDam can. Trailing Palaniuk by less than 4 pounds, VanDam says it’s possible to stop Palaniuk from closing on the Evan Williams Bourbon Showdown at St. Lawrence River, the Aug. 8-11 Bassmaster Elite Series event out of Waddington, N.Y. Palaniuk, of course, hopes the Showdown turns out his way. And so far, it has been going his way. Despite all the obstacles Palaniuk has encountered, the Elite Series pro from Rathdrum, Idaho, persevered Saturday, not letting go of the lead he’s had since the event began. With a three-day tally of 65 pounds, 7 ounces, the 25-year-old pro secured a margin of 3-12 over VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich. VanDam rose from fifth place into second on Saturday with 61-11 to become Palaniuk’s biggest threat. In third after Saturday was Cliff Pirch of Payson, Ariz., falling from second with 60-8. One ounce behind Pirch was Chad Pipkens of Holt, Mich., in fourth place at 60-7. Fifth was taken by Kevin Hawk of Guntersville, Ala., who after a banner day leapt from 17th place by boosting his weight to 60- 6 — just 1 ounce behind Pipkens. The Top 5 head up the 12 anglers left standing after Saturday’s cut. The dozen finalists will compete Sunday for the Showdown’s title, $100,000 and an instant-in for the 2014 Bassmaster Classic. Palaniuk took command on the first day by running to the big smallmouth of Lake Ontario more than 100 miles away from Waddington, the takeoff point on the St. Lawrence. To get into the lake, he had to navigate 6-foot waves. The second day, he had to take a 2-pound penalty for having six fish in his livewell. For Saturday’s round, he again ran the river to reach Ontario. All those challenges came on top of the mental weight of a disqualification of his Day 2 weight when he was leading during the previous Elite event in June. And now he’s in front in another Elite event. Boating conditions Saturday were still dicey at times, but better fishing conditions helped him to the 20-9 he brought to the scales. “It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be today,” he said. “Still, I had to run 15 to 25 mph in the waves. And with the wind switching directions, it was like being in a washing machine out there. The waves came from all directions, and I couldn’t get into a good rhythm with them.” He got a break when he reached his spots after navigating the river and lake for about 2 1/2 hours. “The wind and waves died down and allowed me to concentrate and fish a little bit longer. I had a little over two hours before I had to make the run back,” said Palaniuk, whose fishing time has been short each day. Palaniuk said he had to “bounce around” to relocate the smallmouth. The key to his day, he said, was one of those moves, which brought him to his three largest fish. He boated those within 30 minutes. He said he’s committed to his Ontario spots for Sunday. “Definitely I’m going back,” he said. “It [the wind and waves it creates] is supposed to be better tomorrow. I’ll be running.” VanDam, a smallmouth expert, didn’t hesitate when asked if he could overcome his 3-12 disadvantage. “Definitely,” said VanDam, who chose to go after St. Lawrence River smallmouth. “I’ve caught some big smallmouth here. And you have to take into account the risk he [Palaniuk] is taking in making a 100-mile run. Who knows what can happen? I’m going to go out and catch what I can.” Interestingly, the same JVD-Palaniuk faceoff occurred last season at the Lake Michigan Elite event, another smallmouth fest. VanDam trailed Palaniuk by 3 ounces going into the final day. VanDam won by more than 2 pounds. Saturday’s largest bass was weighed by Steve Kennedy of Auburn, Ala. His 5-13 smallmouth beat Palaniuk’s 5-12 smallie on Friday. Courtesy of BASS Communications.

 
Posted By Hawgsrus

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. — Winning the title in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series National Championship on Georgia’s Lake Chatuge, Auburn University at Montgomery’s Tom Frink gets to go out on top, and Jacob Nummy gets to see his creation rise to the highest possible high. AUM tallied a three-day total of 43-3, winning by 6-11.
 
Four years ago, Nummy started the AUM Anglers club with the hopes of one day bringing recognition to the school’s fishing team, and today AUM is king of the college heap.
 
If the pair hadn’t won, this would have been Frink’s final tournament as a collegiate angler, but now AUM has earned an invitation to the Carhartt Bassmaster College Bracket Championship set to be held this September. One angler from the Top 4 teams in that tournament will earn a berth in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic.
 
“I don’t really have words for how this feels right now. There are a lot of good fishermen here, and I feel for them because I know how it feels to lose,” Nummy said. “We had some key bites and things go right that second day, but none of this would have been possible without the good Lord. This is going to do wonders for our program and recruiting.”
 
“The immense highs and lows are what make this sport what it is: amazing,” Frink said. “I feel speechless as to how to describe the feeling, but I don’t think it’s sunk in yet, either. We’ve been so close in so many tournaments, but to finally pull it off and win is amazing.”
 
Frink said a rough first day set them on the right course.
 
“That first day is what saved us,” he explained. “Things didn’t go how we thought they would, and we learned that we had to hunker down and throw the rat. I have to give Jacob a lot of credit, too, for having the discipline not to get up front and have us be shoulder to shoulder because those fish are so spooky. To have two guys up there would have scared off more fish. You also need a lot of room to sling it.”
           
Both Nummy and Frink admitted that today presented them with the toughest fishing conditions they’d seen yet. Their El Raton rat wakebait produced a single fish, but it was a 5-6, the biggest bass of the day.
           
“The rat produced one today, and it was our biggest, and I felt like that one would give us the win or put us close,” Nummy said. “Big fish are so rare and so special.”
           
Frink used the El Raton mostly on main-lake laydowns and shallow clay or rock banks where largemouth were loitering. Four hours into the day, the duo had just one fish in the livewell, so they began to scramble in order to eke out a limit, which proved necessary for their win. They hit docks and marinas with drop shot rigs to add four more fish to their livewell.
           
Local favorites Matthew Peeler and Brad Rutherford of Young Harris College took the runner-up spot and will also compete in the Carhartt Bassmaster College Bracket Championship later this year. They had 36-8 over three days.
           
In third place is the team of Jordan Lee and Shane Powell of Auburn University, who wound up with 35-15. The final team to earn a berth in the Bracket Championship is that of Nick Barr and Jarred Walker of Eastern Washington University with 34-8. Auburn’s Matt Lee and Chris Seals were the team that finished fifth today with 32-7 and did not qualify for the Classic bracket event.
            
Courtesy of Bass Communications.