PRO FISHING — Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum told the Bassmaster Classic weigh-in crowd in New Orleans tonight that he was fishing this morning in thick a fog and could hear other anglers casting nearby, but he couldn’t see who was around him.
Suddenly he realized he was sharing the water with reigning champion and three-time Classic winner Kevin VanDam.
“He was great and very respectful of me, and I’m trying to do the same for him,” said Palaniuk, 23, one of a small group of “youngsters” in this year's Classic. “It’s awesome to be fishing next to someone who I’ve looked up to since I was eight years old.”
He had good reason to look up to VanDam.
The champ had a huge day, topping the entire 50-angler field with five fish totaling 22 pounds 8 ounces to soar up to the top spot after the second day of fishing.
Palaniuk, the only angler from the West in this year's Classic, caught a limit of five fish totaling 17 pounds 14 ounces today. Combined with the five fish he caught Friday, his total is 32 pounds 8 ounces with one more day of fishing to go.
VanDam's total is 41 pounds 11 ounces.
See all the first- and second-day results here.