I had the opportunity to sit with Brandon Palanuik on media day the Thursday before the Classic started and it was an uplifting experience. I have followed Brandon’s career over the past two years and have been thoroughly impressed with his discipline and heart. Palanuik is a twenty-four year old Professional Angler entering his sophomore season in the Elite Series. Being close to his same age, I can imagine the poise, focus and self-discipline it takes to fish competitively amongst the likes of KVD, Mike Iconelli and Aaron martens. Brandon’s sponsors include YAMAHA, Abu Garcia, Berkely-Fishing and SkeeterBoats to name a few.
Ultimate Bass: At 24yrs old, how does it feel to qualify for your second Bass Master Classic event?
Brandon: Surreal. These are the guys I’ve watched and imitated my entire life. Now when fishing I look up and there’s KVD or Denny Brauer, it’s still sinking in to be honest.
Ultimate Bass: What were your initial thoughts when you qualified for the 42nd annual Classic here at the Red River? Oh crap, the Red River or ALIRGHT, the Red River!
Brandon: For me, it was Alright! Louisiana has been really good to me. However, this tournament will be different because when I won the Federation here in 2010 it was in the Fall. So, I don’t feel as I have an advantage due to the weather and stage of the bass. The water is a lot muddier and colder than it was when I had success here in the past.
Ultimate Bass: Brandon, did you visit the Red River for practice before the early cutoff date back in December?
Brandon: Yes, for two days
Ultimate Bass: What were your specific goals when you visited in December and what did you accomplish?
Brandon: My goals were to visit familiar water to verify that it was fishable. Checking water temps, clarity, depths and if the area is accessible. Another goal of mine was to find new water that looked good to me and basically ask myself those same questions.
Ultimate Bass: What are some words of wisdom you have for anglers who are starting out in the world of competitive bass fishing that share the same dreams you have had fishing the pro circuits, being successful and qualifying for a Classic?
Brandon: Join the Federation! That’s my advice. Join a circuit that will give you the opportunity for National exposure, and the Federation gives you that. You can win key tournaments throughout the year and fish the Bass Master Classic at the beginning of the next; you just can’t beat that!
Ultimate Bass: What was your strategy in practice this week? What problems were you trying to solve? What pools did you fish and why?
Brandon: My strategy was to find an area that replenishes day after day. To find a backwater with a channel or tributary leading into it where bass can go when the water depth and temperatures fall.
Ultimate Bass: Brandon, what is your opinion on social media in bass fishing? Do you feel it has helped the sport or hurt the sport and why?
Brandon: I think it has been great for the sport. It allows people to get on the internet and read success stories, techniques, specific reports and it sparks their interests in fishing. It makes the sport of bass fishing fan friendly, and I really like that.