Brandon Palaniuk is back on the Red River, but it's different from when he won the Fed Nation title.
So Brandon Palaniuk, you stay dry out there?
“I did stay dry,” he said after a soaker on the second day of practice. “But only because I had a good set of raingear. It wasn’t due to the lack of any rain.”
Two inches of rain came down in the Shreveport-Bossier City area, a day not fit for a productive Classic practice.
“It pretty much started at 2 in the morning, and I think that in mid-morning it kind of let up a little bit then it was on-and-off rain all day,” said Palaniuk, who won the Federation Nation Championship on the Red River to get into last year’s Classic. “It makes you wonder how far the water is going to rise.
“I heard of this place having the ability to come up 7 feet in one day. It didn’t seem to make any big difference in the water level today -- it did muddy up the water somewhat.”
While he stayed dry, the rain made it uncomfortable in his search for a winning area.
“It just more or less makes it a pain to run around,” he said of the ice-pick feeling of rain on runs. “Seventy mph and rain on your face doesn’t mix too well.”
Palaniuk finished fourth in last year’s Classic in the Louisiana Delta and followed it up with a strong rookie season on the Elite Series, where he finished just high enough in the standings to reach his second Classic. He was the final angler in through the Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year standings.
While his first Classic qualification came on this exact body of water, he’s not putting much stock in that as an advantage.
“If it was the same time of year, it would play into the confidence thing even more,” he said. “I won in the fall. This is the first time I’ve visited the river in the spring. The river just sets up completely different.
“To me it’s like coming to a new body of water, other than the fact of I know the river and how to run around and get into places. As far as knowing where the fish are, where they should be, it’s all new to me.”
Then how did your second day of practice go?
“I just looked at a couple areas I wanted to look at that I hadn’t spent a whole bunch of time,” he said. “I really struggled. Today I didn’t find a whole bunch I liked.”