09 Nov

RVFTA #167: Meet Brandon Palaniuk, 2017 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year

When we met Brandon Palaniuk last month at the Cabela’s grand opening in Alberquerque, we immediately wanted to invite him onto the show to share his story with our listeners. Not only did Brandon Palaniuk recently win the 2017 Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year title, he is also an amazingly nice guy who travels around in a pretty awesome toy hauler.

Inviting him on the show was a no brainer.

So we were excited to have Brandon on the podcast, but to be honest we never expected to be so inspired by his story of hard work and dedication. Brandon is a pretty young guy with a whole lot of wisdom to share, and we walked away from the interview excited to have our own boys listen to his story.

Segment One: How Does Someone Become Angler of the Year?

The world of tournament fishing is a complete mystery to us, but Brandon walked us through all the basics, from how the tournaments are organized to the points system for determining placement. While preparing for the interview, we stumbled onto a fantastic video that was produced over the course of the year, while Brandon pursued the title of Angler of the Year.

We got complete sucked in. Seriously.

Mostly we were struck by the long days, the physical demands, and the relentless focus that Brandon seemed to maintain throughout such a grueling schedule.

After watching this, you just might find yourself following the tournament schedule a little more closely in 2018…

We also got to talk to Brandon about his experiences as an RV newbie over the course of the last year. Brandon is on the road from January through September, and he decided an RV would help make that time a heck of a lot more comfortable. So far, he is thrilled with the decision to purchase a 44-foot, triple-axle Fuzion toy hauler. We chat about having a kitchen to prepare healthy food on the road, traveling with other folks in the RV, and his favorite campground experience in 2017.

Spoiler alert..it’s the 1,000 Islands/Association Island KOA.

If you want to find out even more about Brandon’s life after he puts down the fishing pole and calls it a day, check out this page on Cabela’s site with some pics of him getting up to some fun shenanigans…

Segment Two: Brandon’s Tips for Taking Your Fishing Game to the Next Level

We couldn’t have Brandon on the show without getting a little bit of fishing advice from the expert himself.

Brandon does a great job of bringing it to the masses and sharing three tips for upping your fishing game, even if you are at ‘campground lake level’ of fishing like we are.

He talks about not getting stuck in a rut with either your gear or your technique. And he also shares a great piece of wisdom that we will be passing along to our boys…

“You never fail. You only win or you learn.”

And that’s why we love Brandon Palaniuk.

We truly hope our paths cross again someday, or we will at least look forward to having him back on the show. You can find his official website here, and you can also follow him on Instagram @brandonpalaniuk like we do!

The best of luck to this guy in 2018! We will be routing for him.

Other important links mentioned in the show include…

Kidde Fire Extinguisher Recall Information

A big thanks to our sponsors for supporting content for all our RV fools…

See you at the campground!

29 May

Max and Theo’s Brief but Passionate History of Fishing

Last year about this time, I posted about our desire to make fishing a regular part of the boys’ lives.
Here is Theo a year ago at the West Chester KOA…

Well, we actually made good on this one. We showed up in the Finger Lakes last summer with two fishing poles (courtesy of Ami, grandmother extraordinaire) and put them to good use.
This year the boys were determined to go fishing on their very first camping trip of the year. At home they repeatedly reminded us to pack the fishing poles. Then, from the moment we arrived at the campground,  they harassed us mercilessly about heading down to the river. So even though the sky was heavy and threatening rain at any moment, we got the poles and the bait and hiked down on Saturday afternoon.

Wes was his usual accommodating self and tagged along in the Moby Wrap:

The boys are not exactly calm while they fish. They still maintain a certain level of shimmering energy that makes a parent worry that they might fall into the river at any moment.

But they do quiet down a bit.
And they hope. You can feel the excitement–the potential–every time they cast out their line. Up until now, they had managed to catch something every time we took them fishing.
Not this time. The disappointment was evident, but it was nice as a mother to watch them grapple with it and then put it to the side. The rain started coming down and we scrambled back up the trail getting wet and muddy, already talking about the next time, and those huge fish just waiting to be hooked.
23 May

One Fish, Two Fish, the Campers Caught You Fish!

Jeremy and I have mentioned quite a few times over the last year that we would really love to get the boys out fishing. The conversation comes up, we nod in agreement, and then the subject is dropped with no action taken.

What’s the big deal, you might ask. You can drag your toddlers up to Acadia National Park for weeks on end, but you can’t get a $10 Spiderman fishing pole and mosey on down to the lake?

I know. Jeremy and I both grew up on the water. I had a river in my backyard and he had the Atlantic Ocean.  We both dabbled in fishing or crabbing here and there, but neither of us took it very seriously. So I had this feeling like we might wind up with a fish hooked on a pole and not a parent in sight who was willing to deal with the issue.

Lucky for us, we have our friend Joe. After the ice cream social at the West Chester KOA last weekend, Joe stuffed some leftover hotdogs in his pocket and led the kids like a bunch of ducklings down to the Brandywine river, which runs through the campground.

He made sure each of the boys got to reel in a fish (thank you, universe, for cooperating!). The fish were examined, photographed, unhooked, and thrown back in record time.


I want my boys to be the type of boys who fish. I want them to pack supplies, walk to the water, and patiently wait for that stroke of good luck. I want them to kick into gear when they feel a tug on their line. I want them to know what quiet expectation feels like, even thought they are the loudest two boys I have ever met.

Mostly I want them to know the rewards of waiting patiently for nature to provide just one second of joy. Like when you stare at a night sky for ages, just hoping to catch sight of a shooting star. It is always worth that investment–every time.

It is harder and harder these days to find that quiet. We bring our iPhones to the campfire and our DVDs on car rides. I can’t even imagine what it will be like for my boys in ten years.

But maybe fishing will help. I’m going to buy them those stupid Spiderman fishing poles and give it a shot. This time I mean it. Really.