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Successful Fishing Begins Off the Water

Brandon Palaniuk

Thirty-year-old Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, has been bass fishing all his life and professional bass fishing for the last 8 years. Palaniuk ranked 8th in the Bassmaster 2018 Angler-of-the-Year race, but he’s 3rd in the world on

I’ve had people ask me, “What do you do when you come off the water during a tournament? Do you just go back to the motel, get a shower and eat some supper?” I wish the time each day after tournament fishing was that easy. But depending on how I’m doing in the tournament, I may have 30 minutes or more of interviews to do with local and national press people. Then, when I return to the motel, I’ve got to prepare all my equipment for the next day of fishing. 

I start off by putting new line on all my reels. I inspect my tackle and see what lures I may need to replace for the next day of fishing. I make sure I stock up with soft plastics, as well as hard baits. I also check my boat and equipment out, because my goal is to try to control all the elements of fishing that I can. Then I typically wipe my boat down so that it looks clean and sharp for the next day of fishing. I clean out any of the junk that I’ve left in the boat from that day of fishing. It takes anywhere from an hour to 2-1/2 hours to get everything ready to fish the next day. I don’t want anything that I could have known about the night before to happen on the water that could cause me to miss a fish or lose the tournament. If I’ve had two or three lures that I’ve caught fish on that day, I’ll typically change the hooks out to have new, sharp hooks on my best baits for the next day of fishing. 

Brandon PalaniukI’ve said earlier that I change out all the line on the rods I’ve fished that day. However, that’s only true for the rods that have monofilament line. I usually won’t re-spool any rod that has braided line on it. I’ll cut off up to a foot of the braid that I’ll tie on to the eye of the lure. On my spinning rods that have braid, I’ll retie my fluorocarbon leader to the end of the braid. 

When I’m fishing, if I ever have a question about my line or the knot I’ve used to attach the line to the lure that’s been damaged, I’ll cut off that line and retie. I think taking the extra time required to retie is important - especially if I’m concerned about my line, rather than to possibly lose a bass that either can win the tournament for me or move me higher up in the standings. 

Except for tying on new line on the day I’m fishing, I get all my equipment ready to go the night before. Then I don’t have to lose any time straightening out my tackle. To be really efficient as a fisherman, you have to spend as much of your time on the water fishing as you possibly can. So, if you’re dealing with problems with your boat, motor, electronics, rods, reels, line and/or lures, you’re not being as efficient as you can be. Even if you’re a weekend fisherman, you’ll catch more bass if you have all your tackle in the best order it can be before you launch your boat for your day of fishing.

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