“This one is so unexpected,” Palaniuk said. “Every single one I won before, I had a good practice and I knew that I would have a shot at the Top 10 and a shot at the win. This one came out of nowhere.
“Santee Cooper can be a treacherous place to navigate so having the right equipment you can rely on is key. Knowing my Yamaha is going to get me there and back every time allowed me to focus on going for the win.”
After leading Day Two, Palaniuk entered Championship Sunday in third place, just one pound three ounces behind new Yamaha Power Pay angler Carl Jocumsen.
Spending his tournament in Lake Marion, Palaniuk attributed his final-round success to a pre-launch decision to start in the mouth of the Potato Creek area. Having started there on Day One, he had a feeling the area was ready to reward him again. Palaniuk caught a lucky break that he exploited when he saw a big fish blow up just out of casting range. Idling toward the commotion, he spotted a brushpile he had not found earlier in the week.
“I think it came down to versatility; that’s why I was able to have the kind of day I had,” Palaniuk said. “Without that big one on the drop shot, without those two I caught this morning, I wouldn’t have been able to win.”
Palaniuk overcame a Day One penalty of two pounds, four ounces for inadvertently making a cast with six fish — one more than his legal limit — in his livewell. Palaniuk self-reported the infraction.
“One of the things I say a lot is, ‘Control the controllables,’” said Palaniuk. “When I do something like that, it bothers me because it’s something I can control and I knew this event was going to be so tough that two pounds is not something you want to be giving up.”
Hailing from Queensland, Australia, Jocumsen took the Day One lead by catching the event’s heaviest sack — 25 pounds, eight ounces. He slipped to second on Day Two and regained the top spot on Saturday with a four-fish bag that weighed 12 pounds, 11 ounces. On Sunday, Jocumsen missed his limit again and weighed four bass for 13 pounds, eight ounces and tallied 64 pounds, two ounces. In addition to his second place earnings from B.A.S.S., Jocumsen took home an additional bonus as Yamaha Power Pay angler.
Yamaha Pro Bill Lowen took sixth place with 58 pounds, seven ounces while Yamaha Pro Derek Hudnall took tenth with 50 pounds, six ounces. The next Bassmaster® Elite tournament will take place on Lake Chickamauga in Dayton, Tenn., Oct. 16 through 19.
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