Yamaha Pro Brandon Palaniuk led wire-to-wire in the Bassmaster Elite St. Lawrence River Showdown tournament last weekend in Waddington, N.Y., to win with a four-day total of 88 pounds, 12 ounces.
The victory carries not only a $100,000 first prize, but also a guaranteed berth in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic world championship.
The tournament was the 25-year-old Idaho angler’s second career Elite win and he became the third Yamaha Pro to win a Bassmaster Elite event this season. Todd Faircloth won the series opener on the Sabine River and Keith Combs won the second event on Falcon Reservoir.
Although the tournament was based on the scenic and fish-rich St. Lawrence River, Palaniuk piloted his Yamaha V MAX SHO-powered Skeetermore than 100 miles each morning to the Chaumont Bay area of Lake Ontario, where he could catch larger smallmouth.
“It was a gamble, but the big smallmouth were holding on long points and ready and willing to bite,” Palaniuk said. “On Sunday, the final morning, I caught more than 20 pounds in the first 45 minutes and I actually started the long ride back to the weigh-in at 12:15.”