Brandon Palaniuk recaps the latest Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour event, Stage 4, that was held on Lake Chickamauga in Tennessee. Brandon says that sitting near the top of the leaderboard after the first round gave him a lot of momentum moving into other rounds. Momentum is a big deal for these MLF Bass Pro Tour anglers, Brandon says. The Major League Fishing format is different from traditional fishing tournament formats in that there is no weight carry over, anglers see their weights zeroed out each day and start brand new every time they advance to another round. Instead of being able to coast through competition with a previous day’s weight lead, in Major League Fishing you have to make something happen every day. This is part of what makes Major League Fishing so different, and much more exciting. The SCORETRACKER LIVE, the real time score board used during competition, provides immediate score results so anglers know how they sit throughout the competition, and that drives the intensity of each and every round. Brandon says that having momentum from sitting at the top of the leaderboard and moving into the next round, even if you don’t carry the weight over, still helps.
When it comes to navigating a new body of water Brandon tries to find warmer water this time of year to coincide with spring patterns where fish are wanting to move to shallower water. Brandon says the water at Chickamauga during the competition was beginning to rise and there were predictions of rain. Based on the conditions he says he was trying to hone in on areas that would keep a consistent water clarity, avoiding places that would experience a lot of runoff and have a fluctuation in water clarity. He admits those places were few, but when he did find them he was also seeking out structure like rocks, docks, trees and more that would hold heat and the fish could get around. Brandon talks about the role his electronics play in finding these kinds of areas. Running a Humminbird 360, he says he uses LakeMaster lake maps, so he can see all the underwater topography and structure. In the tournament, Brandon says it was because of that he was able to find productive spots that other anglers may have overlooked. He highlights the swimbaits and topwater baits he used with a lot of success. In particular, the topwater baits he used were responsible for helping him catch more than 180 pounds of bass throughout the four days of fishing the Stage 4 event. Brandon says the Storm Arashi Cover Pop Bluegill was incredibly effective. Meant to stay in the strike zone for longer, the Arashi Cover Pop also creates a unique sound that makes it almost irresistible, the bass just can’t stand it, he says. Using this particular topwater bait, Brandon talks about a flurry of action where he caught 3 fish in 3 casts.
Going into a big event like a MLF Bass Pro Tour, the amount of pre-prep an angler can do as far as prefishing goes is limited. Major League Fishing lakes are off limits to the competitive anglers for 30 days prior to an event. The official practice is a day and a half in length and Brandon says that depending on the venue, that can be tricky. He notes that the Stage 5 of the MLF Bass Pro Tour will be held on Smith Lake where he’ll be able to really focus his efforts for the full day and a half. However, in previous stages like the event in North Carolina the competition was held on three different bodies of water forcing anglers to choose where to spend their practice time.
Brandon Palaniuk’s April Bass Fishing Tips for Everyday Anglers:
Taking all of his knowledge and packing it up for the weekend warriors and everyday anglers out there, Brandon says that the tactics the pros use can be applied by anyone to find more hookups. To be successful this time of year, Brandon says there are a few things that every angler should think about.
- Look for warmer water:
Warm water is key this time of year, Brandon says. Fish will be attracted to the warmer water and they’ll be more aggressive. These areas will be where spawning activity occurs so finding warm protected water is essential.
- Available cover:
Cover is something that is different in every body of water across the country. Brandon says anglers should look for hard cover that the fish can get right up next to – rocks, docks, trees, posts and other structures – something that the fish can get around.
- Look at contour lines:
This is easier if you have good electronics. However, electronics aren’t absolutely necessary. Instead, you can purchase paper topo maps or download an app on your phone or tablet to access the same kinds of maps. Brandon says you should look for contour lines that have a good channel leading into the backwaters.
Using those factors, you can better concentrate your efforts and break down a body of water a little quicker. Brandon encourages anglers to pick up a moving bait and then work your way down the bank covering water. Once you get a bite you can then slow down and start pitching your plastics. In essence, cover water until you find the fish and then slow down.
Listen in as Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour Angler Brandon Palaniuk joins The Revolution to talk about his strategy on the competition trail and how everyday anglers can apply those same tactics to the waters they fish for more success.
Watch Brandon and the whole field of MLF bass anglers on “Major League Fishing”, Saturdays at 2:00 pm ET on Outdoor Channel. You can also get in on the action by watching LIVE events on MyOutdoorTV or MajorLeagueFishing.com. Stage 5 of the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour will be April 30 – May 5 on Smith Lake in Cullman, Alabama. Watch it unfold LIVE.
Hit the water y’all,