Photo by Joel Shangle
By Dave Landahl - January 3, 2019
As one of the most successful, influential bass anglers over the past handful of years, Brandon Palaniuk has made a huge impact in a very short period of time with fans and sponsors alike. Whether it’s winning events and Angler of the Year awards, or sharing his love for the sport of bass fishing and the outdoors, he’s one of the hottest commodities in the sport of fishing.
Now with the inaugural MLF Bass Pro Tour event in Florida looming, Palaniuk is preparing to fine-tune his skills to accommodate the fulltime change to an “every fish counts” competition format. He thinks he’ll be able to adjust well.
“When I’ve fished MLF events previously, I tended to fish quicker,” Palaniuk said. “With no time to practice, I would just fish shallow and use shallow-water offerings. Now, thanks to some practice time and being able to use our own boats, I believe that opens the door to making these events more diverse and not so shallow-water orientated.
“I’m excited about the possibilities I have now that I can fine tune things, and maybe I’ll be able to find those overlooked fish. I’ve made my career so far out of finding them that way, and I think that will continue .”
Reprogramming the way he manages
Fish management is something
“I feel the format of weighing all the fish you can – and then if you make the cut your weight is zeroed – will play a major role in how you manage fish,” Palahniuk said. “The instinct to go and catch as many fish as possible would seem right, but I think I’ll need to do the least I can to make it into the cut.
“Why I say that is because the weights zero, so all of the big weight you had doesn’t stay with you. You’ll need those fish (later) to succeed. Burning through every fish won’t work if you plan on fishing the entire event and winning.”
Preparing for a battle in Florida
Palaniuk admits that he hasn’t performed his best at the MLF Bass Pro Tour Stage One location, the Kissimmee Chain.
“I’m never excited about fishing Florida,” he joked. “I mean, I love the state, and the fisheries are beautiful. I like the people, and I like going to Florida, I just never do well fishing there. One thing I am excited about fishing Toho is the new format. Not sure if it will work out better or worse for me in Florida, but I’m excited about that.”
In addition, Toho is known for a good offshore bite, in addition to the shallow stuff.
“I’ve typically flipped Toho, but with the MLF format, I can have more of an open mind,” Palaniuk said. “I’ll be able to tell pretty quickly if sight fishing is going to work. Plus, being able to hear what everyone is catching will also play into the decision-making process out there. Should be an interesting event.”