Angler of the Week: Brandon Palaniuk
By Rachel Dubrovin
June 1, 2018
We caught up with Major League Fishing Pro Brandon Palaniuk while we were shooting the 2019 Summit Select in southern Oklahoma. We can’t tell you how he did in the tournament (you’ll have to watch the new season of MLF in January). However, we can tell you that he was familiar with the lakes in that area.
“I have fished around here previously, just throughout the years, and I know that there’s some cleaner water around here, and it reminds me a lot of home,” Palaniuk said. “I grew up fishing a lot of clean water.”
Palaniuk is the only MLF pro from Idaho. Lake Coeur d’Alene, a dam-controlled lake in Idaho’s panhandle, is Palaniuk’s home lake. We asked Palaniuk if he’d like to see a pro bass fishing tournament on Coeur d’Alene, and he has mixed feelings on the matter.
“It’d be awesome to have one up there, and it would be awesome to expose that to the world. But also, the negative of it is exposing it to the world. Because I still think it’s some of the best fishing and scenic fishing that you can have in the country,” he explained.
He says one of the perks of fishing Lake Coeur d’Alene is that not a lot of people know about it, and there’s not a lot of pressure on it.
“It’s kind of like our own little hidden gem,” he added.
These days, Palaniuk only gets to fish Coeur d’Alene a couple times a year due to his packed schedule.
“Usually, I leave home in January and I don’t come back until October… Other than maybe a week here and there for a wedding or something. But we pack up an RV and we haul the RV around, and pretty much just go from tournament, to tournament, or other sponsor obligations.”
Tiffanie, Palaniuk’s girlfriend, travels with him. There’s also a cameraman that follows them around the country to document all the behind-the-scenes action of his life as a pro angler. Palaniuk says he’s gotten used to being on camera almost all of the time.
“I would say the biggest thing is you learn to talk to the camera like you would a person,” he explained.
But does he censor himself?
“Sometimes emotions come out when you lose big ones,” he said, “Or in the heat of the moment at a Select Event, coming down to the wire. Especially Sudden Death events, those ones seem to be the most intense. So every once in a while you gotta filter things out, but you just have to give yourself that 2-second delay to be able to handle it.”
This is Palaniuk’s eighth season as a pro angler. He’s been fishing the MLF Selects since they were created in 2014, and he’s been fairly successful. Going into the 2019 season, he’s at the top of the MLF Select point rankings, which means 2019 could be the year that he moves up to the MLF Cups, the ultimate goal of fishing the Selects.
He says fishing in MLF tournaments has helped him learn how to practice more efficiently in Elite events.
“Because in [MLF] events, we don’t have any practice, we show up to a body of water. We don’t even know where we’re going until we show up at the boat ramp and somebody says, ‘You’re at lake so-and-so…” And so you instantly have to process that information,” he said.
Palaniuk says it’s been a good year for him so far, but it doesn’t compare to 2017, the year he was named B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year.
“Last year I had the best year I’ve ever had. So this year it’s taken me a little bit longer to kind of get some momentum going. But the last few tournaments have went well,” he explained.
Moving forward, he’s focusing on making better decisions that will help him land more bass.
“One thing I always say is, ‘The difference between a good decision and a bad decision is a 4-pounder,’” Palaniuk said.
His advice to anglers is to think with an open mind.
“Because the fish change,” he said. “Their lives are dictated by Mother Nature, not by a time clock and a calendar, like ours are. And so crossing those two and understanding how they live is the difficult part and thinking with an open mind and understanding that they change throughout the day, and change day to day, and week to week is something that you have to be able to understand.”
About MLF’s ‘Angler of the Week’
Major League Fishing wants you to get to know your favorite anglers! That’s why we’re putting together a new angler profile every week in 2018. Check our site regularly for the latest and send us your questions for the anglers.