|Many of the pros fishing the event pointed out the challenges of getting around on Santee Cooper. Luckily for team Humminbird, the LakeMaster survey crews had been on the Santee Cooper lakes recently, creating the most detailed chart available of the two lakes. With the newly-released Lakemaster maps for Santee Cooper in their Humminbird units, Palaniuk and the rest of the pro team had a serious leg up on the competition.
Anglers across the country can now find the newly mapped Lake Marion and Lake Moultrie on the Humminbird FishSmart™ app through ChartSelect.
“Armed with the new map, not only was I able to be much more productive in my practice time, it actually helped me identify key contour points that I believed would hold bigger fish,” shared Palaniuk. “During practice, I would hit spots that had the right contours. If the right matted grass was set up on it, it had a tendency to be a big fish spot. Other anglers didn’t have that information so they were hitting lots of mats without knowing what lay underneath and they were just less productive.”
Following a relatively tough practice period, Palaniuk focused not on one particular pattern but on fishing what was in front of him and using the knowledge gained each day to try to keep himself in the hunt. After a fun back-and-forth battle with his good friend Jocumsen for three days, Palaniuk’s defining moment happened on, when else but Championship Sunday.
“I was fishing an area with really short submerged grass and I could use MEGA 360 Imaging™ to pick apart the area. There were also active fish in there each morning and I saw a big one rise on some shad about fifty yards away. So I pinned my Minn Kota Ultrex™ and headed towards the fish. On the way, I looked down at my Humminbird MEGA 360 and saw a brush pile with two fish on it. So, I swung around and rigged up a dropshot,” said Brandon.
“My first cast was just to the left and I didn’t get bit. The next one I fired to the right and as soon as the bait hit bottom, it started moving with a fish. I didn’t think it was a bass at first, but then I saw her.”
The 7-pound, 12-ounce largemouth anchored Palaniuk’s final day bag and put him solidly atop the podium. Watch the moment unfold here – LIVE: Brandon Palaniuk’s 7 Pounder
“There’s no way I catch that fish without MEGA 360. I wasn’t heading towards it. I didn’t know that brushpile was there. And I doubt many people do. But with these Humminbird electronics, fish just can’t hide.”
Brandon was also quick to credit his Minn Kota Talons™ Shallow Water Anchors for helping him with a stealthy approach to flipping the matted grass where he did a good part of his damage throughout the week.