The pre-spawn bite can be ferocious. MLF angler Brandon Palaniuk, BASS 2017 Angler of the Year, shares the secrets that help him consistently drag heavy sacks of pre-spawn fish to the tournament scales.
G&F: Congratulations on the AOY title. Looking forward to the Classic?
Brandon: Thanks. I am always looking forward to the Classic. It’s the single largest “life-changing” event in professional fishing.
G&F: What are the bass doing during the pre-spawn that makes this such a special time of year to fish?
Brandon: The big fish are hungry and moving shallow with the warming water temps. This makes them extremely vulnerable.
G&F: Pre-spawn is often known as the time an angler has the best chance at catching his personal best. Do you have advice for people looking to catch the big one?
Brandon: Look for areas the fish will be spawning in and set up just outside of those areas and key on any isolated targets that may be in slightly deeper water off the first break.
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G&F: If you had to choose one pre-spawn rod-and-reel combo, which would it be? Why?
Brandon: I pair my Alpha Angler Zilla with a Daiwa Steez A 7:1. That combo is extremely versatile and allows me to have the same combo for a ton of techniques.
G&F: In general, which bait is your “go to” for the pre-spawn?
Brandon: I would say my go-to is a jig of some sort, whether it be a football, flipping or swim jig. I can apply those to any depth, and a jig catches big ones moving in.