Palaniuk clenched the Sudden Death Round 2 by catching six fish within 42 minutes of the final period. Photo by Rob Newell
By Joel Shangle - February 8, 2019
ARDMORE, Okla. – If you were to compare MLF pro Brandon Palaniuk’s performance in the final period of Sudden Death Round 2 of the 2019 Major League Fishing Summit Select to other sports, you could come up with analogies a’plenty: Hail Mary pass. Home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. Three-pointer at the buzzer.
On a day of unsettled, mercurial weather on Lake Texoma, Palaniuk – who has shown a flair for the dramatic throughout his professional fishing career – one-upped even himself. After spending the majority of the day mired well below the target weight needed advance to the Championship Round, Palaniuk connected on a jerkbait bite that put six fish on SCORETRACKER in 42 minutes.
Those half-dozen largemouth piled 8 pounds, 9 ounces onto Palaniuk’s total and pushed him past Mark Rose and Fletcher Shryock to the top of the day’s leaderboard, and into the finals.
“Well, that was an eventful day,” Palaniuk joked as he put his boat on the trailer. “It stormed like crazy, I somehow kicked an $800 spinning rod and reel overboard and lost it, and I caught a bunch of fish in the third period to win. Whoa.”
Palaniuk did his damage on a channel swing under a bridge that he had fished previously. Although he hadn’t ever caught any fish in that specific spot before, he knew how the contours laid out. When Palaniuk arrived at the bridge late in Period 3 and went to work with a Rapala Shadow Rap, he just happened to be there at the same time as a group of fish that were suspended ovn the bridge pilings in 50 feet of water.”
“At that point in the day, I had to do something,” Palaniuk said, referring to his position at the time on SCORETRACKER. “I had fished through that spot by the bridge before, but just gambled on that spot late in the day, hoping there’d be more fish there.”
Turns out that there were. Palaniuk connected with a 1-3 shortly after shutting down by the bridge, and then hit four fish in an eight-minute stretch to boost him into second place. He added one final 1-1 to finish with 14-8.
Shryock (13-11) and Rose (12-4) advanced with Palaniuk to the Championship Round.
Palaniuk’s winning gear
Palaniuk caught his winning fish on a Mossback Shiner Rapala Shadow Rap. He fished that bait on an Alpha Angler Slasher 6-foot-10 Medium rod and a Daiwa Steez A 7.1:1 spooled with 10-pound Seaguar InvisX.
The 2019 Summit Select Championship Round competitors are: Palaniuk, Shryock, Rose, Wesley Strader and Jordan Lee.