Palaniuk Announces Major Sponsor Change

Megabass of America, Inc. announced the multi-year signing of two-time Bassmaster Elite Series Angler of the Year Brandon Palaniuk and Northern Open champion Kenta Kimura to the company’s pro staff.

Palaniuk will represent Megabass hard baits, wire baits, jigs and jigheads. Kimura will work on the soft bait side only, including rigged soft baits. They will join current pro team members Randy Blaukat and Matty Wong to form a small but diverse and highly accomplished group.

“Megabass is a distinctive company within our industry,” Palaniuk said. “They have the mentality that they need to earn the right to be in your tackle box. What I really like about them is that it’s a product-focused approach – both innovative and high-class. They’re not
afraid to think outside of the box and that’s how I like to fish.”

The 35-year-old Palaniuk jump started his career over a decade ago by winning the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship and since then has won five Elite Series trophies and an Open on the path to two AOY titles. He’ll compete in his 12 th Bassmaster Classic this March.

“Brandon’s undeniable performance, integrity, and relentless improvement have always embodied the Megabass spirit,” said Yuskei Murayama, CEO of Megabass America. “Our conversations over the years only served to reinforce that conviction and bring us to this moment. We are honored that Brandon chose to trust his bite to us and look forward to integrating his unique vision, aptitude, and ethos into our product development and creative.”

Kimura has likewise been a pro for over a decade, but really came into his own on the national scene in 2022, when he won a Northern Open on the James River and across all tournaments finished in the Top 20 on 10 occasions and in the Top 10 a total of seven times. He is also a noted lure designer both in the United States and in his native Japan. Kimura will compete in his first Bassmaster Classic in March.

“Not only will this partnership help me in my tournament career, but it will also allow me to continue to develop innovative products,” Kimura said. “The Megabass swimbaits are in just about every pro’s boat, but there are a lot of other proven tournament techniques where they can apply their superior attention to detail and quality control.”

“Kimura san is the rare angler with both a deeply intuitive and meticulously analytical approach to product design and competition,” said Murayama. “We are truly excited to partner with him to give shape to the untapped potential in our soft bait line and explore opportunities for
deeper technical and cultural exchange.”

Palaniuk also looks forward to leaving his imprint with tackle designs that push or surpass current boundaries and expectations: “The opportunity to work with legendary designers like Yuki Ito was a huge draw for me. After a decade on tour and fishing across the world, I see certain needs, and I want to create products that fill those needs. I like to feel really involved. The timing here could not have been better.”

Palaniuk posted the following message to his Facebook page thanking his longtime sponsor, Rapala for their years of partnership:

“Thank you Rapala for the last decade. We have won trophies together, built some baits, made some videos, laughed, cried, and made friendships that last a lifetime. No doubt I wouldn’t be where I am today in my career if it wasn’t for your support. This marks the end of a chapter and a new beginning, as I am no longer with the Rapala brands. I will forever be grateful for you! Thank you.