DETROIT - Brandon Palaniuk, a former Lakeland High and North Idaho College wrestler, and leader after Day 2, settled for second place Sunday at the Plano Bassmaster Elite professional bass-fishing tournament at Lake St. Clair.
Todd Faircloth of Jasper, Texas, continued to improve his daily weights of bass and captured the championship.
Faircloth brought 22 pounds, 2 ounces of bass to the scales Sunday for a four-day total of 84-7, which bumped out Palaniuk, the leader on Friday and Saturday, by just over 6 pounds.
Palaniuk dropped almost 6 pounds from Saturday's weight, weighing only 14-1 on Championship Sunday. His four-day total was 78-6.
"I really felt that the fish I had been catching all week were going to be ready to eat as soon as I got there," Palaniuk said. "It didn't take very long for me to realize the fish had moved, and I made the decision to return to St. Clair."
Palaniuk spent the tournament fishing the St. Clair River near Lake Huron, and he explained that he learned how the wind, current and freighter traffic affected the bass in his location.
"Every time a ship would pass through the channel, it would literally suck the baitfish off the spot and create a feeding frenzy," he said. "Today's traffic was very light and a factor that I think impacted my pattern."
Faircloth spent the entire tournament building on the previous day's weight by catching large smallmouth bass from Bell's Hump, which is located on the Canadian side of Lake St. Clair.
"I wasn't really fishing a specific spot, rather it was an expansive area that had all the right components to continue producing 20-pound bags each day," the five-time Bassmaster Elite Series champion explained.
Meanwhile, Aaron Martens caught 19 pounds, 6 ounces of bass Sunday, which was good enough for a sixth-place finish and the necessary points to lay early claim to the prestigious Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title.