FIRESIDE CHAT WITH BRANDON PALNIUK AND DEAN ROJAS   Leave a comment

Digital CameraOne interesting sidelight to this year’s Yamaha Media Event was a fireside chat between Brandon Palaniuk, Dean Rojas and Steve Price, famous outdoor bass journalist.

It is a handbook on positive outlooks for the tournament bass angler.

Brandon began bass fishing at the ripe old age of 9.  Some of the appearances and records on TV by Dean inspired him to seek a life goal.   Living in Idaho, he was not really in the heart of bass country.  But as a youngster he knew he wanted to “run boats fast and catch fish.”

Dean began fishing at about 14.  Bluegills in a local farm pond were his first quarry.  Once he moved to bass, he was hooked on the “hunt” for bass.

Positive visualization is the goal of Palaniuk in his approach to competitive bass fishing.  He adapts it from other sports by visualizing every step of a tournament.  He totally focuses on the activity including winning.  He concentrates on what the fish are going to do and where they will do it.

Sometimes a negative imposes itself into Brandon’s program.  A negative occurred big time this summer while he participated in a BASS tournament in Wisconsin on the Mississippi River.  He has finished the first four tournaments of the year in poor positions.  IN Wisconsin he was way ahead after two days.  He needed to finish well to qualify for the 2014 Bassmasters Classic.

Despite the big lead he took into Day 3, a culling violation resulted in a disqualification.  It seems he mistakenly thought the state line between Minnesota and Wisconsin ran down the middle of the river.  For the most part it does just that.  But for a 100-yard section it jogs away to a shoreline.  In that section, caught a nice fish and culled one of the pones he had previously caught.  Minnesota does not allow culling and he was in Minnesota water at the time.

The 2,800-mile drive back home was rough.  Determined to turn a negative into a positive, Bandon focused on the upcoming tournaments.  He concluded that his best chance to make the classic would come on the St. Lawrence River in Waddington, NY.

By focusing on all the facts he could garner about the area, he was able to come up with a game plan that was different than anyone else.  By traveling over a hundred miles each way, he was able to fish water that was undisturbed by other anglers.  He won the tournament by over 7 pounds over second place and qualified for the classic.

Dean Rojas also strived to work on positives.  He maintains that it is important to look for positives that will make you a better fisherman.  It is important to him that he believes in himself.

There have been a lot of positives in Dean’s life but none so spectacular is the longest running record in BASS history.  12 years ago, while fishing the Lake Toho 150 event, he set the four day world record with a 20 fish total of 108-pounds 12-ounces.  He beat the then existing mark in just 3 days and then added another 15 pounds to the new record on the fourth day of competition.

Both men believe that it is not important to be a superstar to be successful in competitive tournament fishing.  They maintain a routine to ease the mind to focus on the task at hand.

These men are competitors on the tournament trail but they are also genuine friends.  Something Steve Price and I witnessed the next day during a photo shoot.  It was a pleasure to meet them both.

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