Brandon Palaniuk burst onto the scene at last year's Bassmaster Classic with a 4th Place Finish. He followed that up with a second straight Bassmaster Classic berth this season, yet 2012 has been the real coming out party for Brandon. This is the year he learned how to win at the Elite Series level. He did so at Bull Shoals and nearly did it again at Green Bay this past weekend.
I had the chance to catch up with him today as he drove away from Green Bay. When asked about the difference between this year and last year, he said "I think this year I have gambled a little more, last year I was concerned about just cashing a check instead of fishing to win. I've had an up and down year, but this has been key to my success," said Palaniuk. He proved this with his win and second place finish and has cemented himself as one of the top pros on the Elite Series trail.
It also seems like in both instances, he found two areas that were totally ignored by the rest of the field. At Bull Shoals, he found a deep area while most of the field was fishing shallow along the bank. At Green Bay, it was the same thing again as up to 85% of the field was fishing close to the boundary limits imposed by the Wisconsin DNR. Brandon found something unique and nowhere close to any of his fellow competitors. "I fished the first two days up near everyone else, and I just didn't have the confidence that that area was going to hold up and be enough to win," added Palaniuk. Instead, he spent the last practice day searching every available area for the winning pattern. "On the third day, I burned almost all of my gas and almost all of my trolling motor power, looking for something else," added the Idaho pro. He nearly found the winning pattern as he lead after three days.
Like a true professional, Brandon is quick to point out that "JVD beat me, it was definitely his time to win." He went into the final day thinking that if he caught 20lbs, he would win. Even driving back to the ramp, he thought he had it won, but sometimes "you just get beat," added Palaniuk.
The second year pro has matured into a threat to win any event he competes in and now has the confidence, knowing that he has the skills to compete with the best in the world.