ne of my favorite memes of the year has
been the one that says… If 2020 were a
scented candle, it would be “outhouse”. However, like Bassmaster Elite Series pro Brandon
Palaniuk stated… for some, the highs far outweigh the
For Palaniuk, the 2020 season marked amazing
accomplishments. Cementing his decision to return to the
Elites after his 2019 hiatus when he competed with Major
League Fishing, Palaniuk added two more Blue Trophies
to his collection and $200K to his pocket.
WesternBass checked in with him to talk about the
Elite/MLF transition, the format change and the impact of
WB: First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! To all of us, two $100,000 wins in the past two months is absolutely amazing! Is it as amazing to you as it is to all the fans watching?
PALANIUK: Wins definitely get a lot more publicity – way more! You can finish 13th in every single tournament, and no one really remembers it – even with the consistency that a 13th in every tournament would represent. And, until the end of the year when you would win Angler of the Year (AOY), no one will even know you did it, even though it’s better than winning (statistically). But people don’t ever remember who’s 13th. I don’t even remember who is 13th.
WB: Your decision to come back to the Elites after leaving for MLF was apparently the right decision for you as an angler. Did you come back because you expected it to turn out this well or did it just happen.
PALANIUK: I couldn’t have planned this. It just happened, but I think a lot of it happened because I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
My mind was in a better place and that allowed me to make better decisions on the water. I think when I came back, I got back what I was missing. In 2019, I was missing the feelings of the drive and the passion to just fish. When I came back, I got all of that emotion back. I understand – at this point in my career – that I fish with a lot of emotion and I would think that most people know that about me now, because they’ve watched me enough times. That’s just how I operate. It comes from a deep, deep love for the sport
WB: Why was the feeling so different in B.A.S.S. as opposed to MLF? Was it the MLF-style format as opposed to the five-fish limit? Or was it something else?
PALANIUK: I think that was a small piece of it. I think – for me – I didn’t have the connection to MLF, like I did to B.A.S.S. I started at eight-years-old looking at Bassmaster as the pinnacle of the sport and that is where I wanted to be my entire life. So even though I’m not very old, I have spent the majority of my life wanting to get to