Brandon Palaniuk may
have $100,000 in the bank after his win today at the Bassmaster Elite
Series TroKar Quest at Bull Shoals Lake, but that’s not going to change
his lifestyle. He planned to spend Sunday night sleeping in his pickup
truck, just as he has every night this week and during most other
just easy,” said Palaniuk, who beds down in his covered pick-up bed
near launch sites. “I’ve got power and a shower, and it’s close to the
water. That’s all I need. And it’s free. A hundred thousand dollars
doesn’t go as far as it used to.”
24-year-old angler from Rathdrum, Idaho, began the final round with a
forbidding lead of 12-pounds, 13 ounces, after weighing in the heaviest
five-bass limits each of the first three days.
his final string was much lighter than usual, his four-day total of 78
pounds, 6 ounces gave him a double-digit margin over Britt Myers of Lake
Wylie, S.C., who had 66 pounds, 8 ounces. The rest of the field was
much closer. Myers outranked Trussville, Ala., pro Matt Herren’s
four-day total of 66-7 by just 1 ounce.
Evers of Talala, Okla., took fourth place with the day’s biggest bag of
17-11 for a tournament total of 66 pounds, and Brent Chapman of
Quivira, Kan., was fifth with 64-7. Chapman took over the lead for
Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year with his performance at Bull
found his winning area in the west Sugar Loaf part of Bull Shoals Lake.
The area held ideal spawning habitat — flat gravel banks and brush, as
well as offshore structure with a roadbed across the back of the
fish were only a couple of hundred yards away from where they wanted to
spawn,” Palaniuk said. “It was a quick two- to three-minute swim from
where they wanted to hang and where they wanted to spawn. I honestly had
the best area in the lake.”
a textbook structure spot, and one that other competitors in the Trokar
Quest tried during practice. None had the confidence in it that
Palaniuk did. The young angler found it on a lake map, and on his first
cast to the spot in practice, he caught a 3 ½-pound bass on it. That
validated his game plan and gave him confidence he could win, even
before competition began.
fished deep-diving crankbaits – a Rapala DT16 in a blueback herring
color and a Strike King 6XD in brown ghost craw. He fished them on an
Abu Garcia Veritas rod with a Revo Winch reel in a 5.4:1 gear ratio.
“The DT 16 series is my confidence bait,” he said. “I caught my entire
24-4 bag on Day 2 on that.”
key to getting bites, he explained, was to hit the submerged rockpiles
around the roadbed from precisely the right angle. The rockpiles were
about the size of a boat deck, and a miss of 1 or 2 feet wouldn’t get a
also praised his Hydrowave unit, an electronic device that mimicks the
sound of baitfish, for triggering bites from bigger bass. “After I would
turn it on, I would catch a 3- or 4-pounder,” he said.
whose previous top spot in a Bassmaster Elite was seventh, felt as if
second place was a win for him after a slow start to the 2012 season.
The weather affected his fishing today, making all the difference to his
got really rough, and I made a NASCAR move,” said Myers who hails from
Lake Wylie South Carolina. “I came back about 35 minutes early, because
it was rougher than I anticipated. I might have won the tournament that
way if Brandon didn’t make it back.”
Myers’ move paid off. He caught a 3-plus pound smallmouth right next to the dock, improving his bag by that critical ounce.
key bait was a Rapala DT10 on 10-pound-test Berkley fluorocarbon line.
He used a Pinnacle 6.3:1 reel with a 7-11 cranking stick.
was key, because I could launch that DT10, which was designed to run 8
or 9 feet, and I could get it down to 10 or 12. The fish were on the
ledge. They were close to the bank but it wasn’t a bank deal.
said a combination of the water clearing and the level falling caused
him to lose track of the fish. Yesterday, with two hours left of
fishing, the Trussville, Ala., angler located them again in the main
channel. He followed up with that strategy today, pulling in 75 using
the M Series green pumpkin jig.
boated his 17-11 bag today by fishing any windblown point with a
mudline, using a square-billed crankbait Xcs Excalibur 200 and 300 size.
“You could catch a 3-1/2-pounder on the points,” he said. “I caught a bunch, but just ran out of time.”
One of the
youngest anglers in the Series, Palaniuk launched his career in the
Elites with a win in the B.A.S.S. Federation National Championship, in
2012. He finished in the Top 5 in his first Classic and was the first
Federation Nation champion to join the Elite Series.
prize in the TroKar Quest is $100,000 and a qualification for the 2013
Bassmaster Classic. Pros are also fishing to rack up points that count
toward postseason entry, Classic qualification and the Toyota Tundra
Bassmaster Angler of the Year award.