Brandon Palaniuk was given an appropriate nickname by emcee Dave Mercer when he joined the Elites at age 22 – “The Prodigy.”
The definition, “a person, especially a young one, endowed with exceptional qualities or abilities,” still fits Palaniuk, who won’t turn 30 until Nov. 3. Last week, he again showed his prodigious skills in winning the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
“I told myself, every two to three years, I’d love to win an Elite Series event,” he said. “It’s been four years.”
Sam Rayburn was his third Elite title, and there have been several other missed chances where he could almost have a blue trophy for each of his years on the series.
In 2010, Palaniuk was the first to accept the Elite invite that accompanied the B.A.S.S. Nation championship. Right out of the gate, he finished fourth in the 2011 Classic with the vow to fish all-out every time.
“I’m going to fish every single one of them to win,” he told this scribe then. “I'm not going to fish to make the cut. Some guys will fish to cash a check. I've only fished at home to win, and it might come and bite me in the butt in the Elites, but that’s what I want to do.
“I hate losing. I want to win. I don’t like second, I don't third. I'm going to fish every one to win.”
In the middle of his seventh Elite season, Palaniuk is still fishing to win. Oh, he’s bombed in some events, including this season. He was 105th on Okeechobee and 49th in the Classic, but he’s cashed in the other four Elites with three Top 12s to stand sixth in Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year points.
Going for the win has worked throughout his career. He’s been second three times, cashed checks in 53 of 82 events (65 percent success), has totaled $891,164 in B.A.S.S. earnings and has qualified for the past seven Classics.