ZIGGING WHEN OTHERS ZAG
It’s one thing to throw a Hail Mary for a touchdown pass; it’s another to call an audible in the final seconds of the game.
Many viewers still marvel at Palaniuk’s couth during Day 4 at Lake Santee Cooper last October. As he felt yet another Bassmaster Elite trophy within his grasp, he knew he would have to exert risk to gain the reward.
Staring at his Humminbird Solix units, 360 Imaging painted a brush pile with what he believed to be two massive largemouth nestled inside. Though he had not fished a drop shot rig all week, he dug into his rod locker and pulled out the same rod he utilized to win the event at Lake Champlain earlier in the year.
After joining his 10-pound leader of Seaguar Gold Label fluorocarbon to 20-pound Seaguar Smackdown
braided line joined by a Crazy Alberto knot, he stared at his graph and began to shake his drop shot rig.
“I’ve always been of the mindset to get the bites first, worry about landing them later,” Palaniuk started. “If you never get the bite, then you never have the chance at landing that bass.”
Diligently shaking a green pumpkin/blue colored X-Zone Deception Worm, he lifted up on what he believed at first to be a catfish as it rolled around and became hung up in the brush pile. Eventually, after breaking the branch, a 7-12 largemouth came boat side. Palaniuk recalled fighting the fish for two-minutes and 50-seconds.
“You allow that fish to work itself free and you keep just enough pressure,” he said. “A softer rod allows a little bit more freedom of movement while still being able to keep pressure.”
Photo: Kyle Vandever