Inside Elite Boats

Inside Elite Boats: Brandon Palaniuk

Elite Series pro Brandon Palaniuk takes us on a tour of his Skeeter.

<p>Here’s Brandon Palaniuk’s workspace along the Bassmaster Elite Series, a Skeeter FX20 powered by a 250-horse Yamaha VMAX SHO. Let’s take a look inside.</p>
Photo: Seigo Saito - Here’s Brandon Palaniuk’s workspace along the Bassmaster Elite Series, a Skeeter FX20 powered by a 250-horse Yamaha VMAX SHO. Let’s take a look inside.
Palaniuk’s Skeeter is motivated up front by a 112-pound-thrust Minn Kota Fortrex. Also attached to the trolling motor is Humminbird’s 360 Imaging transducer.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Palaniuk’s Skeeter is motivated up front by a 112-pound-thrust Minn Kota Fortrex. Also attached to the trolling motor is Humminbird’s 360 Imaging transducer.
Palaniuk runs four Humminbird 1199s, two up front and two at the console. These reside on a Deck It mount. One of these stays in split-screen mode with mapping and sonar, while the other one shows 360 Imaging full-time. At the console, one is strictly for mapping, then the other one alternates among Side Imaging, Down Imaging and 2D sonar.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Palaniuk runs four Humminbird 1199s, two up front and two at the console. These reside on a Deck It mount. One of these stays in split-screen mode with mapping and sonar, while the other one shows 360 Imaging full-time. At the console, one is strictly for mapping, then the other one alternates among Side Imaging, Down Imaging and 2D sonar.
Here’s a better look at the Deck It mount.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Here’s a better look at the Deck It mount.
In the early morning darkness, Rigid Industries LED lights help Palaniuk rig his gear.
Photo: Seigo Saito - In the early morning darkness, Rigid Industries LED lights help Palaniuk rig his gear.
These lights are part of Rigid’s Brandon Palaniuk Signature Series deck light kit. It comes with six lights. All of his compartments also have lights.
Photo: Seigo Saito - These lights are part of Rigid’s Brandon Palaniuk Signature Series deck light kit. It comes with six lights. All of his compartments also have lights.
In the port side rod locker, Palaniuk carries about 15 rods on average. “I don’t have them all out on the deck during the day, but typically I’ll have eight or nine,” he says.
Photo: Seigo Saito - In the port side rod locker, Palaniuk carries about 15 rods on average. “I don’t have them all out on the deck during the day, but typically I’ll have eight or nine,” he says.
The neoprene rod jackets are from Angler Innovations. “They help to protect your investment,” he explains. “The rod sleeve and reel cover are all one piece.”
Photo: Seigo Saito - The neoprene rod jackets are from Angler Innovations. “They help to protect your investment,” he explains. “The rod sleeve and reel cover are all one piece.”
In the rearmost center box, Palaniuk keeps a variety of things, mostly things that he’ll need for the day at hand.
Photo: Seigo Saito - In the rearmost center box, Palaniuk keeps a variety of things, mostly things that he’ll need for the day at hand.
This is what Palaniuk calls “aquarium art.” This box of swimbaits never leaves his boat.
Photo: Seigo Saito - This is what Palaniuk calls “aquarium art.” This box of swimbaits never leaves his boat.
Here’s a better look at the swimbaits. How many can you identify?
Photo: Seigo Saito - Here’s a better look at the swimbaits. How many can you identify?
A little farther forward are more baits, both hard and soft.
Photo: Seigo Saito - A little farther forward are more baits, both hard and soft.
Let’s check out some crankbaits.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Let’s check out some crankbaits.
These are hook sharpeners from Buck Knives. “If I’m going to fish a jig, spinnerbait or something like that, sometimes I’ll just touch up the hooks. I’ll even do that throughout the day so that they’re always in tip-top shape.
Photo: Seigo Saito - These are hook sharpeners from Buck Knives. “If I’m going to fish a jig, spinnerbait or something like that, sometimes I’ll just touch up the hooks. I’ll even do that throughout the day so that they’re always in tip-top shape."
These are some Berkley Havoc baits that were just released at ICAST 2014. It’s a wacky worm with bulbs on either end called the Money Maker.
Photo: Seigo Saito - These are some Berkley Havoc baits that were just released at ICAST 2014. It’s a wacky worm with bulbs on either end called the Money Maker.
This box has Storm Arashi Diving 7s, DT-6s mostly.
Photo: Seigo Saito - This box has Storm Arashi Diving 7s, DT-6s mostly.
The top two are Arashis, and the bottom is a Rapala DT-6.
Photo: Seigo Saito - The top two are Arashis, and the bottom is a Rapala DT-6.
His baits are organized in Bass Mafia Bait Coffin tackleboxes.
Photo: Seigo Saito - His baits are organized in Bass Mafia Bait Coffin tackleboxes.
Here are some crankbaits.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Here are some crankbaits.
They’re organized by color within each box, and by diving depth for each box.
Photo: Seigo Saito - They’re organized by color within each box, and by diving depth for each box.
Terminal tackle.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Terminal tackle.
“Generally, I’ll go through all of my tackle between each tournament and change out what’s in the boat, but there are a few things that always stay. Green pumpkin, black/blue and purple hues of Berkley soft plastics usually stay in. And, of course, my terminal tacklebox always stays.”
Photo: Seigo Saito - “Generally, I’ll go through all of my tackle between each tournament and change out what’s in the boat, but there are a few things that always stay. Green pumpkin, black/blue and purple hues of Berkley soft plastics usually stay in. And, of course, my terminal tacklebox always stays.”
What’s in here?
Photo: Seigo Saito - What’s in here?
It seems to be Berkley Havoc Pit Bosses as well as Chigger Craws.
Photo: Seigo Saito - It seems to be Berkley Havoc Pit Bosses as well as Chigger Craws.
On the right side of the boat are his rain gear, life jackets and GoPro equipment.
Photo: Seigo Saito - On the right side of the boat are his rain gear, life jackets and GoPro equipment.
More goodies in his storage compartments.
Photo: Seigo Saito - More goodies in his storage compartments.
<p>This unblinking eye has changed the way we watch our favorite sport, as well as brought us a host of new perspectives on it.</p>
Photo: Brandon Palaniuk - This unblinking eye has changed the way we watch our favorite sport, as well as brought us a host of new perspectives on it.
Don’t leave the dock without these!
Photo: Seigo Saito - Don’t leave the dock without these!
In this little box are a few extra Huddleston swimbaits, Havoc plastics, Buck Splizzors, a lure knocker and some hooks and line. The Rain-X is to keep water from beading up on his GoPros.
Photo: Seigo Saito - In this little box are a few extra Huddleston swimbaits, Havoc plastics, Buck Splizzors, a lure knocker and some hooks and line. The Rain-X is to keep water from beading up on his GoPros.
Fear the Splizzors!
Photo: Seigo Saito - Fear the Splizzors!
Easily at hand are some Storm and Rapala hard baits.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Easily at hand are some Storm and Rapala hard baits.
Well, do ya?
Photo: Seigo Saito - Well, do ya?
Palaniuk ready to do work.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Palaniuk ready to do work.
In the ice box are…drinks and snacks.
Photo: Seigo Saito - In the ice box are…drinks and snacks.
Who needs candy bars and Vienna sausages when you can have snacks that are good for you?
Photo: Seigo Saito - Who needs candy bars and Vienna sausages when you can have snacks that are good for you?
Behind the passenger seat are some tools in case he runs into any problems. There’s also an extra life jacket for his passenger.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Behind the passenger seat are some tools in case he runs into any problems. There’s also an extra life jacket for his passenger.
A Cull Keeper stays on his starboard side livewell lid. “That way I know when I have five fish, and I can tag each one individually. It allows me to easily keep my fish organized and cull in a more timely fashion.”
Photo: Seigo Saito - A Cull Keeper stays on his starboard side livewell lid. “That way I know when I have five fish, and I can tag each one individually. It allows me to easily keep my fish organized and cull in a more timely fashion.”
Behind the driver’s seat are all the Coast Guard mandated things.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Behind the driver’s seat are all the Coast Guard mandated things.
Here are some things for changing a prop, marker buoys, some rope and an extra bilge pump.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Here are some things for changing a prop, marker buoys, some rope and an extra bilge pump.
In his battery box are Power-Pole pumps, a Minn Kota Precision Charger, some rope for tying up to things, Power-Pole remotes and switched and Yamalube Ring Free Plus fuel additive for treating ethanol.
Photo: Seigo Saito - In his battery box are Power-Pole pumps, a Minn Kota Precision Charger, some rope for tying up to things, Power-Pole remotes and switched and Yamalube Ring Free Plus fuel additive for treating ethanol.
More necessities in the battery box.
Photo: Seigo Saito - More necessities in the battery box.
As if the deck and inside his compartments weren't enough, these are Rigid Wake Flames. You've got to see them in action to appreciate how cool they really are.
Photo: Seigo Saito - As if the deck and inside his compartments weren't enough, these are Rigid Wake Flames. You've got to see them in action to appreciate how cool they really are.
A motor stop keeps his Yamahammer from punishing the Skeeter’s transom on long road trips.
Photo: Seigo Saito - A motor stop keeps his Yamahammer from punishing the Skeeter’s transom on long road trips.
Matching your prop to your boat and outboard are key to optimum performance. Palaniuk has found his Skeeter runs best with a tailor-made VMAX Series prop for his 250-horsepower SHO.
Photo: Seigo Saito - Matching your prop to your boat and outboard are key to optimum performance. Palaniuk has found his Skeeter runs best with a tailor-made VMAX Series prop for his 250-horsepower SHO.
Thanks for the tour, Brandon!
Photo: Seigo Saito - Thanks for the tour, Brandon!