Latest news with Brandon Palaniuk
Posted by admin on November 1, 2016
I made it to Las Vegas for another SEMA show today. I’m particularly excited this year to be here because of all the great new aftermarket auto accessories coming out from BOLT, A.R.E., Rigid Industries, Dick Cepek and GoPro. It’ll also be time to work on more stuff with Crossed Industries.
The amount of anglers that are now at this show is staggering. When I first started coming to SEMA I think the only booth that had any anglers was Toyota/Bonus Bucks. Now, in only a couple of years, there are a lot of us. There are plenty of tricked out fishing trucks and boats too. It’s really cool to see the crossover between the automotive and the fishing industry up close and personal.
Since wrapping up the season, I’ve already been planning and starting to prep for the next one. 2017 will bring a whole new dynamic with us starting the Elite Series season before the Classic. To be honest, I liked being able to focus all my efforts on the Classic before the season started so this will definitely change some things for me. I do like to fish a couple events before the Classic, like the Opens, but this will be much different.
The end to my 2016 went fairly well. I didn’t have a stellar event at LaCrosse; I was pretty happy to make the cut and get some good points after the way the event started. I had found one area in Pool 8 and one in Pool 7. I didn’t feel too confident going into that first day which I was going to go to at blast off. I ultimately decided to go to Pool 8 since I had caught some bigger ones.
The rain blew out many of the areas down there and mine was no different. Jordan Lee and I both started there and ended up bailing after a short time. I went to try and lock through by nine, but couldn’t get through because a barge took priority. The turning point for the whole tournament came when I did not panic and calmly went to fishing history. By the time I made it back through at 12:30 I culled everything within two hours and ran back down.
Day two, I didn’t bother going back to Pool 8 since I knew it was completely blown out, so I went straight to Pool 7. I ended up putting over fourteen pounds in the livewell and barely snuck into the cut at 48th. The third day I went back up and got out with some valuable AOY points before Mille Lacs.
I have to say after visiting Mille Lacs for the first time, that it is one impressive fishery to say the least. I figured out pretty early on what I needed to do. I could tell what the bigger fish were doing and what they were holding on. I wasn’t getting a lot of bites, but the quality was solid. The first day I did not execute and ended up with a little less than twenty pounds. At most places in the country, that’s a very respectable bag, but at Mille Lacs you need a lot more. Thankfully, over the next two days, I was able to put some bigger ones in the boat with 22-11 and 22-12 lbs respectively. By those final two days it got a lot better for me as I culled through some twenty pound bags to get what I had.
Mille Lacs was also the first tournament I really got to utilize my Minn Kota Ultrex trolling motor and it didn’t disappoint. The spot lock was invaluable throughout the event. If I had not had it, I would’ve wasted so much time trying to get back on my spots after fighting a fish. My Humminbird 360 imaging also played a huge part; I was able to see and cast to specific rock veins. Without those two components working together, I truly feel like I would have been at a disadvantage.
On another note, I have managed to get out on the water back home. I have been chasing an 8 lb smallmouth and keep getting closer and closer. The big ones are eating and I took an local high school kid with me recently and he caught his personal best at over six pounds. Needless to say, he was pretty excited and it was fun for me too. Once I get back from SEMA I’m hoping to keep chasing after that 8 lb bronze and hopefully hit the woods and chase some elk as well.
Posted by admin on August 5, 2016
What does a Bassmaster Elite Series Pro do between long periods without an event? With a prolonged break in between the Cayuga event and the Potomac event this past month, I’ve managed to stay busy. I just was in Ohio at Hunter Shryock’s house doing some filming with him for 496 films. It’s was tough with the dog days of summer upon up, but we managed to catch a few.
I had iCast earlier in July which was a good time. It’s always exciting getting to see all the cool new products set to come out. Most of my days were spent shooting product videos and hopping around to different sponsor booths. Bass Mafia has some incredible new products set to come out that I’ve very excited about. The issue that’s been around for some time is figuring out the best way to store your tackle. They have stepped up to address that problem by creating extremely functional storage bins for your weights, jigs, and spinnerbaits to name a few. Most of them will be available this fall, but many other storage options are in the works for the near future. Bass Mafia is really thinking outside the box.
I just wrapped up shooting an episode of Major League Fishing last week which was enjoyable. It will be airing next year and all I can say for now is that we were in Alpena, Michigan. While we were there I was lucky enough to be involved in shooting some promo stuff with the city. I got to scuba dive/snorkel on some wrecks, do some stand up paddle boarding and biking too. It definitely was a cool experience and great to be enjoying some other outdoor activities.
We’ve got the final part of the Elite Series season coming up with the Potomac River event starting next week. I was able to make it there before cut off and I’m excited for that one. I ran all around the river and caught a bunch of fish. After that we have the Northern Open on the James River. I’ve made a couple top ten’s there in the past. It’ll be a tough event, but should be a good one as well. Then we finish up the regular season on the Mississippi River in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. The fishing there should be really good. We’ve never went there at this time of year, but there should be a lot of fish catches and it’ll be a fun event for sure. The tournament season will culminate at Mille Lacs in Minnesota and it should be an incredible venue for the Angler of the Year Championship. It’s got some absolutely giant smallmouth swimming in it. I’ve only been there once for a writer’s event and got to witness four and five pounders swimming around all over the lake. The next couple months are important ones and I’m excited about where we’ll be heading to wrap up our season.
Posted by admin on July 26, 2016
After hanging around New York a couple of extra days I made my way down to the Potomac River to do some looking around before the off. After finishing up at Cayuga and Oneida I went back to my roots and did some bank around the old Erie Canal. The one evening in just a couple hours I caught five or six on a frog which was pretty fun. At one point I was catching them while standing on an old concrete wall that dropped off about forty feet behind me. There’s going to be some great footage from that adventure.
We started off our month at Texoma which ended up much different than expected. Before off limits, I went and drove around, but didn’t do much fishing because I figured the high waters would stabilize. That never did happen and we were greeted with record high water levels. I focused on clear water pockets way up the Red River which ended up being a good decision. After the second day I was sitting in fourth place.
Before the third day the wind switched directions and changed the current around muddying up some of my areas. I adjusted and fished areas where I believed they were going. Unfortunately, I think I was a little too far ahead. I dropped from fourth to forty second. I think a good portion of the guys who did catch them caught them from the same areas they had been, but slowed way down and picked them apart more thoroughly. In hindsight, this is what I should’ve done in my areas. It was a lesson learned. The positive was that I got out with a check and some decent points.
From Texoma we made our way up to New York. Cayuga Lake fished a little differently than the past few years because there were a lot of fish on bed. After practice I really didn’t feel like I was on anything so I had to scramble during the event. I had some bedding fish the first day pegged, but being boat forty two, most were picked off already by the time I got there. I went to catching ones that I knew where in areas and also found others that I didn’t know were there in the process. The second and third days I covered a lot of new water. If it looked good I would slow down in an area.
I had a two pronged drop shot approach for catching both smallmouth and largemouth. The first was for more open, rocky banks which consisted of a 3” Berkley Twitchtail Minnow and a 3/16 oz Eco Pro Tungsten Pro Drop Shot Weight. The largemouth seemed to be spawning slightly deeper in the five to eight foot range, so I threw a 6.25” Berkley Havoc Bottom Hopper in Watermelon Red with a ¼ oz version of the same drop shot weight. Whatever cover I was faced with determined which rig I would use.
After Cayuga I headed right to Oneida for the first Bassmaster Northern Open of the season. Being at Cayuga was a good way to get back in northern smallmouth fishing mode. I went into the Open without much pressure. I’ve been to Oneida quite a few times already and have learned a lot about the lake in years past. The fishery is changing with the smallmouth growing much bigger. They will be an even bigger factor in tournaments to come.
In practice, I drove around looking for small off the wall type stuff. Not being in an Elite event allows you to take a lot more risks with your practice time because I’m not fishing for points. I identified some areas that showed some promise and went out day one and caught a little over sixteen pounds. Every fish I had were cookie cutter clones of each other in that three and a quarter pounder category.
Day two, we had the wind change from West to East and it kicked up. It really changed them up. The big factor with the increased wind was being able to read the sonar well when your trolling motor would come completely out of the water. It was keying on little isolated rock and it became difficult to stay on it. Just like Cayuga, I had to fish new water as I didn’t have anything that I would consider to be loaded. I lost some good fish day two and came in with one shy of a limit for 9-12.
I got down to the Potomac a few days ago and had a productive time looking around. Although we are off from the Elites for awhile, I’m still busy as ever. Next stop is ICast in Orlando next week and then from there we have a Major League Fishing event. Then, the week before our Potomac event, I’ll be heading to the Delaware River to fish the Ike Foundation Charity event. We’ve got a full plate coming up this month and I’m looking forward to the short “break” from the Elites to recharge and get ready for the Potomac.
Posted by admin on June 2, 2016
I’m well into my trip to the next Bassmaster Elite Series event on Lake Texoma. It’s been an extremely busy past month with tournaments and sponsor obligations. I just wrapped up the Toyota Texas Bass Classic a couple weeks ago which is always a fun event. They normally have it at Lake Fork, but this year we were on Lake Ray Roberts. It was definitely a transition from Fork, but nonetheless a cool experience. One of the coolest parts was getting to weigh in downtown Frisco at the new Toyota Texas Stadium.
This past month I’ve had four events, but it really has felt like five. Starting out the month with Norfork Lake/Bull Shoals with the format of fishing day one and four at Norfork and days two and three at Bull Shoals definitely felt like two separate tournaments. I really love fishing Bull Shoals and just being in that area. Winning my first Elite event there I think it’ll always be pretty special. I had never been to Norfork before and being so close together you would think it fished pretty similar. Although the two lakes do share a few similarities, for the most part they were in completely different stages.
Going into Norfork, my mind was on survival. I ended up coming out of day one sitting in the thirties which kept me very much still in it. Days two and three on Bull Shoals I was able to jump up in the standings at my beloved lake. I was able to catch about thirty fish a day on Bull Shoals. Everyone came by flipping new water. I haven’t got to really say that I was able to fish an event like that in a long time and it was definitely a fun way to fish. I caught so many two and three quarter to three pound fish throughout the two days it was incredible.
I jumped from being in the thirties after day one to seventh place going into day four back at Norfork. When I got back to Norfork, I went back to the areas that I had caught them only two days prior. Unlike day one though, the bait was not there. I ran around and struggled before finally making a run way down the lake. I began throwing a swimbait and was able to put four fish in the boat and just ran out of time. I dropped to eleventh, but got out with some valuable points en route to Wheeler.
At Wheeler, I again went into a bit of survival mode. I spent most of my practice looking for them out deep and marking potential areas like brush piles where they would be coming to. I don’t think I ever really figured out what they were doing, but I managed to play some damage control. I had one good shallow area where I flipped a 3/8 and ½ oz Terminator Jig in Green Pumpkin to whatever cover I could find. I also caught my biggest fish of day one off of a brush pile on a Rapala DT-16. I started barely inside the cut and decided to start in a different area day two. It didn’t produce any bites. I went deeper and got my first bites at 10:30am. I put a 2.5 and 5 pounder in the box with a football jig and the DT-16. I thought I was onto something. I began running more deep stuff and never got a bite so I decided to run shallow again and put together a limit before heading back out deep. Once again I wasn’t able to get a bite, but I made the cut for day three. I rolled the dice a bit on day three and went to a new shallow area which didn’t pan out. I managed to limit the damage and get paid and get some decent points too.
Next up was Toledo Bend. Toledo was a totally different animal than it had been in the past. At this time of year it’s generally all about the offshore bite, but with the high water it changed the dynamic a bit. Obviously, Kevin won out deep doing what he does best, but a vast majority of the checks cashed in that one were shallow. I spent a good deal of my practice out deep and wasn’t able to find something I was real confident about. I did find one shallow area day one of practice that I caught a 5.5 flipping and a 7 on a frog which ended up being pretty valuable. I ran there day one and was able to flip them up pretty quick. I made a few passes through and ended up losing a couple that definitely would’ve helped. Day two I went back again and began catching a few and got up to about sixteen pounds after a couple passes. After putting that together, I stopped a rock pile out in the middle near that shallow area and began wailing on them. I caught twenty five in a row culling up some before heading back shallow. With thirty minutes left I stopped and flipped a couple mats before heading in and put a 5 and 6.5 pounder in the box which took me to over 21lbs for the day.
Day three was slower for catching bigger fish. Starting at my primary shallow area I went back to catching them, but only put together about 14 pounds. Bouncing between the rockpile and the shallow spot I was able to make some small culls. I ended up losing a few fours and a six from my main stretch which definitely hurt. I was using the same set up I had been and have no idea why it happened. I ended up getting out of there with a twenty first place finish and some more valuable points now headed into Texoma.
Texoma should be a very interesting event. With the record rain they’ve had in Texas the water continues to be well above full pool. In practice that was the case and I didn’t fish much because I figured it would stabilize once we got back. I wish I did a little more fishing now. The lake has a healthy smallmouth population and I figured the water would stabilize and clear up more, but they probably won’t be as much of a factor in this one. As a smallmouth guy I know they don’t like high muddy water. I’m going in with a fresh mind and will have to fish the conditions. It’s going to change every day and the guy who figures out how to adapt will win. -BP
Posted by admin on April 13, 2016
I’m on my way to the next stop of the 2016 Elite Series season at Bull Shoals/Norfork Lake. I hung around to get a couple more things done to the Tundra at Britt Myers’ shop. They did a great job and now we’ve got the Tundra Suites completely ready to take on the rest of the season. Huge congrats to Britt on the win at Winyah Bay!
Winyah Bay was a frustrating event for me. Going into the event I knew the areas where I should be to do well and fished in some of them during practice where a lot of the top five guys ended up doing most of their damage. I don’t know if I was just caught up in what I wanted to do and was too hard headed, but I did not end up fishing there. I did however feel like I had found the right fish to have a very good event. Execution seemed to be the difference for me.
The first day I went to punching mats and ended up losing a few fish that definitely ended up hurting me. I brought in three that went for five pounds five ounces and was behind the eight ball some going in day two. With it being a tough fishery, the good thing is that I knew having a big day on day two could put me right back into the top fifty one cut.
I ended up putting together a slightly better bag, almost doubling my day one weight, but once again could only put three in the livewell. I caught them fairly early on punching with what has become my go to set up in tough situations. I flipped an ounce and a half Eco Pro Tungsten weight with a punch skirt and a Green Pumpkin Purple Berkley Fight’n Bug on a 4/0 VMC Heavy Duty Flipping Hook. That set up has really gotten me out of some jams in the past on fisheries where grass is present.
Even after doubling my weight from day one I only managed to move up about ten spots and was just out of the cut. The guys seemed to really catch them on day two with more time to fish and there were a lot of flip flops going on in the standings where a guy had a couple fish day one and came in with a quality bag on day two. After getting those three quick bites day two I went running around to places where I felt I could get a bite fairly easily when I should have stayed in that area and grinded it out.
Before Winyah, I fished the second Southern Open at Smith Lake in Alabama too. It was my first time being there and I was excited because I felt like it sets up very well for the ways I like to fish. It’s a deep clear lake with plenty of rock and while I don’t have a ton of experience chasing spotted bass, it also has a very healthy largemouth population.
After practice I had located some big schools of spots and with there being so many in that three to five pound range, I decided to target them. I had trouble getting them to bite, but every once in awhile I could provoke one. The problem was, they were here one day and gone the next. I ended up having to take a shakyhead and fish the flatter points that extended out into the lake. For me it didn’t really matter where and I ran new water every day. The difficult part for me was catching any more than twelve or thirteen pounds. I started off just outside check range on day one, but made a little charge and ended up cashing on day two.
It’s always good to cash in an Open, but the reason I fish them is to win and make the Classic. I’m having to opt out of the final Southern at Douglas Lake, but will be back at it for the Northerns again in June. There was a conflict with Douglas and the Toyota Texas Bass Classic and with no entry fee and two hundred thousand on the line I decided to fish it instead.
As for Bull Shoals and Norfork Lake, I’m really started to get pumped for the event. It’s one of the only lakes on the schedule aside from the Smith Lake Open that has rock contours and allows me to fish the way I like to fish, winding a crankbait around and having something to hit. The first time we went there I was fortunate enough to win, so Bull Shoals definitely is a special place to me. The next time, I felt like I had another chance to win after finding a lot of quality fish. The weather changed up some and that fizzled on me somewhat and I ended up right outside the cut.
This year they are throwing us a curveball with the format. I’ve never been to Norfork before and definitely need to put some time in on it during practice. In an perfect world I will fish Bull Shoals for one day and Norfork for the other three. That’s my plan for now anyway. I have an appearance coming up on Saturday at the Cabela’s in Rogers, Arkansas which I’m looking forward to, then get practice going on Sunday. I’m really looking forward to getting this one started. -BP