LA CROSSE, Wis. – Only five more spots were up for grabs in Knockout Round 2 of REDCREST Presented by Venmo, but much of the focus today was on just one of those spots. Greg Hackney, Zack Birge, Fred Roumbanis and Brent Ehrler locked up four spots rather quickly thanks to their impressive days. That left the remaining six anglers in a heated battle for that last spot in Sunday’s Championship Round. By Mason Prince – August 24, 2019
Brandon Palaniuk fishes in front of some onlookers during his Knockout Round 2 on Saturday. Photo by Garrick Dixon
Brandon Palaniuk, Mark Rose and Casey Ashley jostled back-and-forth over the final hour for that fifth-place position, but it was Palaniuk’s 48 pounds, 4 ounces that cemented his opportunity for a one-in-10 chance at $300,000. The Idaho pro caught seven bass for 10-10 over the final hour of competition, giving him a 4-14 cushion over Mark Rose.
“It was pretty intense,” Palaniuk said afterwards as he was organizing a box of crankbaits. “I was staying calm and trying to stay focused on making good casts. I moved to an area that I haven’t fished all week and pulled out my crankbait. There was a ton of boat traffic today where I had normally been fishing and I think that traffic pushed the fish back more into this channel I found.”
Rough Ending for Rose
There are two sides to every coin, however. After a magical day in the Elimination Round, Mark Rose is feeling the sting of defeat as he prepares for a long drive back to Arkansas. Rose had an area that worked very well for him during the Elimination Round and told me just how important that area would be heading into his Knockout Round. But the bunches of bites he had found on Thursday were few and far between on Saturday.
“I had a lot of confidence in an area right above the I-90 bridge and I just feel like the pressure really got to those fish,” Rose said. “Edwin Evers and Greg Vinson hit that spot yesterday I think and it just caused the fish to run out of there. I probably stayed there too long today trying to make it happen. I got beat today, hats off to Brandon.”
Ashley Thankful for Season
Casey Ashley’s shot at a REDCREST Championship is over after his 42-6 day. The South Carolina pro had plenty of different baits on his deck, but just wasn’t seeing the bites that were there for him earlier in the week. His seventh-place finish isn’t how he wanted his season to end, but he leaves Wisconsin with no regrets.
“I wouldn’t have done anything differently, I just couldn’t get enough bites,” Ashley explained. “Boat traffic really deterred my ability to catch fish today. I came close, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. I’m happy with my season just making REDCREST against this group of 80 guys. It’s a high-stress format but I’m really happy to be here and thankful for this year.”
Predicting Pool 7
Palaniuk now turns his attention to Pool 7 of the Mississippi River, a new challenge for himself and his nine competitors. The anglers were allowed to ride around on Pool 7, but were not allowed to bring any rods on their boat. It’s going to be a challenge for them, but Palaniuk says that he knows that there is plenty of fish to catch.
“The first period might be kind of slow with guys trying to figure out how to catch them,” Palaniuk predicted. “I think if you’re around 50 to 60 pounds you’ll have a really good shot. But, it could be 100 pounds because there’s a lot of fish in that pool, who knows. I’m really looking forward to it though.”
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