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Palaniuk of Rathdrum 2nd in Bassmaster Classic

TOURNAMENT FISHING — Brandon Palaniuk, 25, of Rathdrum entered the third and final day of the 2013 Bassmaster Classic today needing to make up a 7-pound deficit.  And he nearly did it!

Palaniuk, who has a BASS elite champion ranking, finished as the runner-up in the 43rd annual World Championship of bass fishing at Grand Lake O' the Cherokees near Tulsa, Okla.  

He caught a three-day total of 15 bass weighing 51 pounds 8 ounces, short of the 14 bass totaling 54 pounds 12 ounces ounces caught by 32-year-old winner Cliff Pace.

Pace, from Petal, Miss., earned $500,000.  Palaniuk won $45,000.

By the last day of fishing, the field of 53 anglers that qualified from international competition for the big event was narrowed to 25 anglers battling for the chance to be crowned the 2013 Bassmaster Classic champ.

Depite a disappointing performance in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic, Palaniuk has been a hot item on the pro fishing circuits for three years, claiming a $100,000 top prize in April but still living out of the back of his pickup to save money. 

Palaniuk caught everyone's attention with his standout Bassmaster debut in 2011, finishing fourth and winning $30,000.

Bassmaster on TV

See Palaniuk in action during the 10 hours of Classic coverage set to air on ESPN2. The Bassmasters will present its Day One show at 9-10 a.m. ET, March 2 . Coverage of the final two days of Classic competition will air March 3 from 7-9 a.m. ET and 10 a.m.-noon ET. Fans can see Classic shows again on March 10 on ESPN2 from 5-9 a.m. ET. An hour-long Classic highlights program will air at 8 a.m. on April 7.

PM: Skunked In Louisiana

Brandon Palaniuk, 24, of Rathdrum, lands his first of three fish totaling 5 pounds 15 ounces on the Red River of Louisiana in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic. But that total just moved him up to 48th place among the 49 anglers who competed Saturday. He was the only angler in the competition to get skunked on Day 1. Rich Landers of SR Outdoors reports on the event here.

Rathdrum angler doesn’t make last round in Bassmaster Classic

TOURNAMENT FISHING — Brandon Palaniuk, 24, of Rathdrum, Idaho, didn't get skunked today but he also didn't come up with enough fish to make the cut for the third and final day of competition in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic on the Red River near Shreveport-Bossier City, La.

The photo above shows Palaniuk landing his first of three fish totaling 5 pounds 15 ounces at today's weigh in. But that total just moved him up to 48th place among the 49 anglers who competed today. He was the only angler in the competition to get skunked on Day 1

After today's weigh in, the field was cut to 25 anglers for the last day of fishing.

Josh Polfer of Nampa, Idaho, a Bassmaster rookie, is the only Westerner to make the cut. In two days of fishing, he's in 19th place.

Continue reading for the latest news on the leaders and the complete catch totals in this “Indy 500” of bass fishing.

Rathdrum angler skunked on opening of Bassmaster Classic

TOURNAMENT FISHING — Brandon Palaniuk, 24, of Rathdrum, Idaho, had a horrible start among the 50 select anglers who roared off this morning to start the 2012 Bassmaster Classic on the Red River near Shreveport-Bossier City, La.

The weigh-in has just been completed, and Palaniuk is the only angler in the field who caught no fish.

He's in last place after Day 1. I don't have a report on what happened.

See more details on Rich Landers' Outdoors Blog.

Rathdrum angler skunked on opening of Bassmaster Classic

TOURNAMENT FISHING — Brandon Palaniuk, 24, of Rathdrum, Idaho, had a horrible start among the 50 select anglers who roared off this morning to start the 2012 Bassmaster Classic on the Red River near Shreveport-Bossier City, La.

The weigh-in has just been completed, and Palaniuk is the only angler in the field who caught no fish.  He's in last place after Day 1.  I don't have a report on what happened.

The 30th Bassmaster, a three-day culmination of months of qualifying tournaments, no longer has the distinction of being the richest prize in bass fishing. The Forrest Wood Cup claimed that distinction wtih a $1 million championship prize to Scott Suggs in 2007.

But the Bassmasster Classic is still considered the big stage. A win here can put a half a million bucks in your pocket and bring sponsors to your door.

This is the second consecutive year Palaniuk has qualified for the “Indy 500” of tournament bass fishing.

Palaniuk caught a lot of attention in last year's main event. The youngest competitor in the 2011 classic and the only angler to qualify from the West, he finished in fourth place, winning $30,000.

This year, four anglers from the West are in contention, including Josh Polfer of Nampa, Idaho, and Californians Jared Lintner and Iah Monroe.

Read on for more details on Palaniuk and the ESPN Bassmaster Classic TV coverage, which is being compiled for broadcast next week.

Rathdrum angler returns to Bassmaster Classic

TOURNAMENT FISHING — Brandon Palaniuk, 24, of Rathdrum, Idaho, has been pre-fishing this weekend, warming up with the 50 anglers competing in the 2012 Bassmaster Classic, Feb. 24-26, on the Red River near Shreveport-Bossier City, LA.

This is the second consecutive year Palaniuk has qualified for the “Super Bowl” of tournament bass fishing.

Palaniuk caught a lot of attention in last year's main event. The youngest competitor in the 2011 classic and the only angler to qualify from the West, He finished in fourth place, winning $30,000. 

This year, four anglers from the West are in contention, including Josh Polfer of Nampa, Idaho, and Californians Jared Lintner and Iah Monroe. 

Read on for more details on Palaniuk and the ESPN Bassmaster Classic TV coverage scheduled for the following week.

Palaniuk makes great showing at Bassmaster, earns $30K

NEW ORLEANS — Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum finished fourth in the Bassmaster Classic after the final weigh-in today for the three-day “super bowl” of bass fishing.

Palaniuk, 23, was the youngest of the 50 anglers to qualify for the competition. He also was the only angler from the West.

See a gallery of 13 great photos of Brandon's three-day run in the Classic.

See the ESPN schedule for TV coverage of the Classic to air next week.

Defending champ Kevin VanDam of Michigan won his fourth Bassmaster title and the first-place prize of $500,000 by weighing in 15 fish over the three days totaling a whopping 69 pounds 11 ounces.

Alabama angler Aaron Martens finished second with a total of 59 pounds, followed by another Alabama angler, Derek Remitz with 56 pounds 8 ounces and Palaniuk with 55 pounds 7 ounces.

Martens earned $45,000, Remitz $40,000 and Palaniuk $30,000.

Today Palaniuk caught a big bass weighing 7 pounds 13 ounces. He told the cheering weigh-in crowd, “I had another one that I swear tried to eat this one.”

Palaniuk, who earned his spot in the classic by winning the $60,000 Federation Nation championship prize last fall, was already creating a buzz of interest among angling media during the pre-fishing in the Louisiana Delta before the event.

He reportedly slept in the back of his pickup to save money.

At least 15 family members and friends made the trek to New Orleans, several driving 2,400 miles one way from North Idaho.

Read on for a Bassmasters report featuring the winners.

Palaniuk was in a fog with top Bassmaster

PRO FISHINGBrandon 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.
  

Rathrum angler has shot at win from 4th place in Bassmaster Classic

PRO FISHING — Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum moved from 11th place to fourth place today  after the second day of fishing among the 50 anglers in New Orleans for the Bassmaster Classic .

Palaniuk, who's been creating a buzz since he arrived, has a shot a victory in the three-day Super Bowl of bass fishing, which runs through Sunday at  the Louisiana Delta.

Palaniuk, the only angler to qualify from the West, caught 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.

The leader is defending champ Kevin VanDam of Michigan with 41 pounds 11 ounces. In second is  Kansas angler Brent Chapman with 38 pounds 1 ounce. In third is  Alabama angler Aaron Martens with 33 pounds 2 ounces. See all the first- and second-day results here.

Follow the event online and Palaniuk  online; see  my  previous blog post and ESPN interview with Palaniuk.

Brandon might be the only angler from the West at the Classic, but he's not alone. .

At least 15 family members and friends made the trek to New Orleans, several driving from his hometown of Rathdrum, Idaho.

“That's only 2,392 miles Palaniuk, the 23-year-old winner of the B.A.S.S. Federation Nation championship last fall, has been sleeping in his truck to be able to afford his foray into professional fishing.

Palaniuk has good fan base at Bassmaster Classic

PRO FISHING — As I write this, Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum is still waiting for his weigh-in after the second day of fishing at the Bassmaster Classic in New Orleans.

Palaniuk, 23, is the only angler from the West among the 50-angler field.  He finished the first day of fishing in 11th place.

But he has a vocal group of fans, including about 15 family members who made the 2,400-mile expedition from Idaho to watch him compete in the bigget bassing event in the world.

P.S. Local Fisher #11 @ Bassmaster

Kevin VanDam, left, and Aaron Martens, right, fish nearby one another during the first day of competition of the Bassmaster Classic today on the Louisiana Delta new Westwego, La. Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum is in 11th place out of 50 anglers today after the first day of fishing at the Bassmaster Classic near New Orleans . The three-day “Super Bowl” of bass fishing runs through Sunday at the Louisiana Delta. Rich Landers Outdoors story here. (AP Photo/The Times-Picayune, Brett Duke)