TOURNAMENT FISHING — After a trip to a hospital to have a hook removed from his pinky, Brandon Palaniuk, 24, of Rathdrum powered forward through three days of fishing to dominate and win the Bassmaster Elite Series TroKar Quest tournament at Bull Shoals Lake, Ark., this weekend.
He'll have $100,000 in the bank after today's weigh-in, but that’s not going to change his lifestyle. He planned to spend tonight sleeping in the back of his pickup, just as he has every night this week and during most other tournaments.
“It’s just easy,” said Palaniuk, who beds down in a bed under the canopy of his pickup 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,” he added.
Read on for more details on Palaniuk's big win.
Palaniuk, who was skunked one day in the recent Bassmaster Classic and was near the bottom of the select 50 angler field at the end, began the final round this weekend with a forbidding lead of 12-pounds, 13 ounces, after weighing in the heaviest five-bass limits each of the first three days.
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.
Palaniuk said he fished deep-diving crankbaits – a Rapala DT16 in a blueback herring color and a Strike King 6XD in brown ghost craw.
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. He finished in the Top 5 in his first Bassmaster Classic and was the first Federation Nation champion to join the Elite Series.
In addition to the $100,000 first prize, Palaniuk's TroKar Quest win qualifies him for his third consecutive Bassmaster Classic in 2013.
Other prizes he won today include:
- Berkley Heavyweight Award of $500 for the best five-fish limit: Brandon Palaniuk’s 24-4 on Day 2.
- Power-Pole Captain’s Cash of $1,000 if the winner has Power-Poles installed on his boat.
- Luck “E” Strike Comeback Award of $500 to the most-improved pro in the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year points race.