Bassmaster Elite Santee Cooper 2023 winner – Luke Palmer

Luke Palmer is a 4-year Bass pro going into his 5th year. After earning his Elite Series invitation through the 2018 Bassmaster Central Opens, Luke had a strong rookie season with three Top 20 finishes in 2019. Since then, he has added five Top 20s, including third place at the 2020 NOCO Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville. Luke also tailed up a Career winning total of about $400,000.


Hey, greetings everyone. This is Eric Stewart from Fishing Fanatics and I have an awesome guest
today. His name is Luke Palmer. He’s been a four-time pro, a four-year pro,
going into his fifth year now on the Bassmaster Elite tournament. He got a start
in the 2018 Bassmaster Central Open and he had a really strong start with top three top 20 finishes
in 2019. Since that, he’s added about five top 20s, including third place at the 2020 NOCO
Bassmaster Elite at Gunnersville. Along with that, he has career warnings of $400,000, which
is insane. So how you doing, Luke? Good. Well, how are you, bud? I’m doing good, man. I appreciate
you joining us today. And, you know, on this podcast, I’ve interviewed a couple of Bass
professionals and in the Bassmaster Elite tournament. And the first question I always like asking is
what got you started into professional bass fishing? What was that one thing that really
puts you in place to kind of succeed in this industry? You know, I never really,
honestly, I never thought I’d make it to this level. I just never thought that.
I thought really fishing team permits and my dad was going to be my sole purpose in life.
you know, I had a good buddy of mine. He said, hey, fish opens just one time just try it. And
which I did in 15 and things that line up God said, hey, this is not the right time for you.
And I was like, it hurt because I mean, I was I was already trying to figure out how I was supposed
to come up with money to fish the leads in 15 because I had I had a good year. But it wasn’t
as tiny, which was good. But I was very fortunate if I won the ABA National Championship there. And
I guess his 18, 19, whatever it was.
And that really progressed me the money to be able to go do it.
Because you know, as well as I do everything, it’s expensive.
But my timing was everything.
If I’d have made it 15, I probably wouldn’t
be sitting here talking to you today.
I was not mentally ready for that.
So all the glory goes out on that, because if not,
I’d probably been struggling with busting right now.
Everything got a line up into that perfect storm for you
to just kind of take off, which is really cool.
And, you know, who were some of your mentors along the way
that kind of helped push you to just get better each day.
And even when you’re out there fishing,
maybe it’s someone on a tour,
maybe it’s someone on your family.

  • You know, my dad was always my main one.
    He pushed me to the limits all the time.
    I mean, not in a bad way.
    It was good though, because it made me
    pretty good humble person.
    You know, I could score 30 points one night
    have 20 steals and he’d be like, well, why’d you let that guy score, you know, and lay
    up at this time through the game, which was good because it always allowed me to not get
    out of my head, you know, get my own head.
    It made me a better person, made me a stronger mental person.
    And he made me learn it the hard way.
    Whenever I was 11 starting tournaments, the first year he would kind of make the decision
    still run the troll and learn about half the time.
    When I turned 12, he was like, “Your turn, buddy.”
    He would run us, we still had takeoffs then.
    We had run to the first spot.
    After that, I had made all the decisions, run the trail of mud, ran the boat, done everything.
    By God, we got our ass kicked.
    But it was a good learning experience for me because if not, I think it would have took
    away from what I have now. Because I mean, I’m probably the worst person on live because I don’t
    catch a ton of fish. You know, Champlain, I might catch a few fish, but everywhere else it seems like
    I’m getting five to nine, ten bites a day. And I’m like, whoo, you know, because that’s impressive to me.
    But I definitely looked up to my dad. I watched Edwin Nevers, Christie, which I’m having a fish
    me and see now, which isn’t near as fun as it is watching him once he’s being involved.
    But I really respect those guys have watched them. I kind of,
    I, if you watch me and Christy Fish, you probably see a lot of the same baits and a lot of the same
    rod and reels and everything sitting on our decks the most time because we all, we kind of line
    up together as far as sponsorship wise too. So it’s pretty cool to be able to go do stuff with him.
    You know, we should shoot some film together and, and it’s, it’s very interesting watching him go.
    Oh man, I believe it. And you kind of hinted at one of the questions I was going to ask you here
    is the the whole thing with Lake Champlain, I saw it on your profile that that’s kind of
    you got your hotspot, that’s where you like the fish. What really separates that lakes from
    other lakes that you fish on tour? You know, I don’t know. Whenever I first got on that like,
    I think it took me about a day of practice and the second day of practice, the first year we
    faced it, which a couple years ago, it was the year that Paul and Nick warned. And I pulled up
    out there on my first spot and I look over about 50 yards from the old pollen here comes his big
    entourage and of course his pollen at the he’s like what are you doing out here that’s the year
    we caught him out pretty deep you know and at 18 to 26 and uh but it was really I had a lot of
    fun on that like once once you get on some type of pattern you can just thrash them I mean it’s
    you know it’s that 20 to possible 100 fish of the day like and it’s it’s and gosh the last time
    I learned a lot more, expanding myself even though if you go back and you can watch, I got stuck on Gilligan’s Island.
    I ran my boat on the deepest entire lake in the nation and I found a sandbar in 6 inches water and I sat on it for 8 hours.
    So that was interesting. That was an expensive lessons that I learned.
    But that lesson I learned, you know, we talked about God’s plan and stuff.
    If I would have not had that happen to me, I found the spot that I end up sitting on for
    three days, two hours prior to that.
    And if I’d have ran through and I’d have found this other stuff, you know, who knows,
    you know, I might have, you know, maybe not, I would have ran found something else and
    been done.
    But I said, I’m pretty much three or two spots for three days and just pour them into the
    heck out and smirk them.
    Just having.
    Oh, they would just come out and grow.
    I mean, I had a couple of wads that were anywhere from 30 to 80 fish.
    It was stupid.
    I mean, just absolutely stupid.
    So oh my God.
    So that’s there’s that many fish in there, right?
    That situation.
    What are you, what are you throwing to just one after the other?
    Just get them.
    You know, I’m very, I’m a very simple person.
    I don’t, I mean, you can go.
    I have all my tackle in my Phoenix right there in my middle box.
    I don’t have a bunch of extra stuff ever.
    I mean, I got two or three colors
    I’ll throw predominantly.
    And I throw the warning shot a lot.
    And that’s what I was catching a ton of,
    probably 80% of them was on a warning shot.
    I had a few on a jerk bait and if you want a hair jig,
    but it was, I mean, I would sit there
    at that scope and just scope them out
    and just throw it up for a tell them there.
    And it’s like, oh, I’ve never seen that before.
    And they’d come 30 feet to hit it.
    So it was awesome.
  • Yeah, and it’s when small mouth get riled up,
    it gets real fun.
    Yeah, I fish like an item in and they get some believable
    up there.
    I want to I’ve never I went last year there having to open
    there in between one of our tournaments right for so I guess
    have been st. Lawrence and I went up there and I just I had
    to get some the service guys to look at something for me.
    So I swung by there and I actually had I lunch there on
    the shores wherever it was at and it looked good.
    Like it looked real good and I wanted to go.
    But you know I’m not going to get out there in the middle of
    retirement going on, especially, you know, open and stuff.
    But I wanted to, but I knew it 200, those were 200, 220 boats on that lake.
    It would have been pretty packed.
    Oh, yeah.
    Um, funny story about the first time I went up to Lake Onida, um, went up there
    with me and my dad, just a little family trip just to have fun.
    And we launched the boat the one day in the morning.
    We fish basically all day.
    We stopped to go get something to eat and we’re looking, we’re looking outside
    the bar was a barge right on the water there.
    And we see a bunch of cigarette boats driving out to the main part of the lake.
    And we’re like, what is going on here?
    Like, so, you know, we get in our, uh, our 19 foot bass boat, get in it,
    go out to the main part of the lake and I see 200.
    I kid you not 200 cigarette boats coming at me this way.
    Dude, it was, it was terrifying.
    We looked at it.
    We went all slow all around the bank because they are just ripping by.
    It’s unbelievable.
    Oh, and six foot swells that you everywhere.
  • Yeah, that’s miserable.
  • Hey, we’re getting chopped around to my dad’s looking
    across the lake, he goes, why don’t we go fish over there?
    I’m like, dad, I’m not cutting between these boats.
    Like we’re done.
    That’s it.
  • That’s it.
    You launched the boat and that was it.
    But I had some good stuff there.
    And so one of your favorite techniques that I know,
    actually one of the videos I saw on your Facebook page,
    you call it a huge bass on this technique.
    It’s the flipping and the pitching of the jig.
    Do you know what video I’m hitting at there?
    It was a recent post of you.
    It was like you were ranked number one.
  • Oh, oh, it’s the same take, same take, Cooper.
    Yeah, I was actually, I was throwing a woolly bug,
    but I mean, I was still flipping.
    Yeah, I’m a, I think Oklahoma,
    I think that’s, that, it looks like
    that’s all we know how to do in Oklahoma.
    Everybody that comes out here,
    you got Biffle, Christie, Edwin,
    you know, everybody’s kind of come out of here is
    like shallow water, you know.
    And that’s what I’ve grown up doing.
    So getting to do something like a San C, what I did
    was unbelievably fun.
    You know, I mean, whenever you’re just
    jacked out of your gourd the whole time you’re doing it
    ’cause you don’t know what’s gonna happen
    if it’s a two pound or a four pounder
    or a nine pounder like that one was.
    It was, that was, what was really cool about that though,
    is I had just caught like a seven and a half
    and the camera boat pulls up on me
    and which I had a camera with me, but I had bad service
    and that little section that I was catching them out of
    was terrible signals terrible.
    And I was just, I was thrashing man.
    It was like every other tree,
    there’d be two or three on each tree.
    And the camera butt pulled up on me and there’s Kyle,
    Jesse, one of the good buddies
    and he’s a photographer for bassist.
    Man, you just missed it.
    I just caught a seven and a half.
    He’s like, gosh, they will catch a 9 or a 10.
    I was like, in a boat ran by a little section of trees
    I thought like a six or seven in practice and I said, and he went by and I was like,
    that was lucky. I didn’t expect to go over there and he’s like 20 foot from me. I’m talking to him
    and I catch that giant and I pulled it around there on the side of the boat and it just worked
    out and I was able to hold it up to him and he got a two-page cover in Bassmaster with that picture.
    So that was like the icing on the cake for me when your good buddy gets it and like gets it,
    you know, all of it goes together. It was, it was unbelievable, you know, and get to do it.
    I got to crack them with a pack and rod that I’ve grown up fishing with and get to hit them.
    And it was, it was, it was perfect. It had been more perfect by the caught 35 the next day in
    one tournament. But you know, if I can, if I can get in the top five in the tournament,
    again, see these guys anytime I’m tickled to death.
    It’s awesome. And I love the story behind the background of that catch, because a lot of the
    of the time, so you know, fishing people or people that are in the fishing content, they’ll see
    something like that and be like, they don’t understand the entire scope of everything to happen. It’s
    cool that you all you laid it out perfectly there. I will link that video will be linked at the
    bottom here too for all the listeners that want to go check out that that catch. It’s an awesome
    catch to highly recommend it’s the number one on the video. So I’ll link that here at the bottom
    to this podcast.
    Yeah, I don’t think I’m gonna get that fish any hard,
    either. Yeah, I
    craned. I craned.
    You smoked that rod was was bending me and we held up.
    I think it was fun. You know, everybody, everybody expects
    you’d be flipping with 25 30 40 pound braid. I actually caught
    her on 18 pound test. And I hit her that hard. So, you know,
    sunlight diff like the sunlight guy text me was like, Hey, did
    really catch her on 18 or you just said, “Now listen.” He said, “I want to ease up one of
    us as well. If I had to worry about my line break now, I’m in the wrong business.” So,
    Sunline’s definitely props to them. Shout out to Sunline, man. That’s awesome. I love it. Little
    plug the heck. Let’s shift gears a little bit and talk a little bit about what you do behind the
    scenes of fishing and a little bit of your life. So, what I understand is that you work on your dad’s
    farm and you guys also have a couple other stuff going on.
    So why don’t you just fill the listeners in kind of what your day to day looks like, like here?
    Yeah, I mean, it, we’re from a small town.
    Obviously, you know, there’s less than like 3,500 people here.
    And we’ve had a hardware store in the family for ever.
    It seems like, you know, I think it’s in the 40s from when we had the store.
    So it’s just made my dad, my uncle now in the store.
    And obviously we have our hands at workforce and stuff.
    You’re looking to background,
    that’s where I’m at right now.
    We get off work here, we work,
    we open the doors at eight,
    but you don’t get here at eight.
    You know, it’s a seven, seven, 15 every morning.
    And we close at five, get off at 5.36,
    and then get out of here.
    And I don’t live just a couple miles from my dad.
    And so when I’m home, my butt’s down there helping him.
    You know, whether if it’s, you know,
    they were not, when now we’re feeding cattle
    till seven, seven, 38 o’clock at night,
    And then on the weekends, I don’t fish much during the weekends because, or you know, during the winter, I try to go a little bit if we have some good weather.
    But it’s normally fixing fence, but not more hay, working on stuff, you know, typical county or farm. deal.
    I do get to hunt a little bit.
    It’s, I almost kind of feel bad to be going and hunting
    because I’m a quarter half mile from dad’s house.
    And I’m thinking all the things I should be doing
    since I’m off, off work,
    ’cause essentially it’s daylight’s dark this time of year.
    You know, it gets daylight at 637,
    it gets dark at six, you know.
    So it’s the only time I see daylights
    when I go out to lunch right now, you know.
    So it makes for interesting day.
    But that’s what I have to do to survive on the leads.
    At extra pocket cash makes a big difference.
    I’m gonna sponsor help out tremendously.
    But this is something that it would be hard for me
    to let it go.
    I know dad and him need to retire and go enjoy life
    ’cause they’ve been here for 38 and 40 years.
    So I don’t know, it’s one of the deals.
    I’d hate to see it go, but the special deal
    started to get a lot of fun.
    might be stressful, but it’s a
    good family connection. I t
    a genuine guy and you know,
    thing to so I mean if it w
    wasn’t for them, I mean, t
    one. I mean this is, you kn
    don’t bite the hand and fe
    I had an opportunity in 15
    going to fish and opens ag
    some things happen around
    and things happened around the store.
    And I said, I’m not gonna leave the store.
    You know, we’re gonna be short handed
    if I went and done those tournaments.
    I know it was only three,
    but they were kind of, you know,
    we’re in March, April, May, June, we’re really busy.
    You know, everybody’s getting out doing yard work
    and lawn mowers and stuff.
    So, and I couldn’t do that to us.
    And of course, we hired a hand or two right after
    the cutoff or getting in the open.
    But like I said,
    If I couldn’t fish all three, I wouldn’t want to just go fish, you know, and I wish I would have just been more of experience. But, you know, it was good for me because I’ve been a ABA that year, you know, and everything snowballed into where it’s supposed to. So I’m not going to complain at all about it.
    Everything happens for a reason. That’s that’s something I’ve always lived by and everyone kind of around me lives by too. So there’s always a reason for everything.
    No, sir.
    So, do you have quick questions here?
    I’d just like to get general general thoughts here.
    What’s your PB Bass, either in a tournament or just fishing in fun?
    What’s, uh, what’s the biggest advantage to on?
    The biggest large mouth is, uh, it was 11 and three quarters.
    Uh, my caught it back in high school, actually.
    Uh, small mouth.
    I’ve had some in between the six and a half to almost seven pound range.
    So that, it’s hard to say, I know I’ve thought a six and a half pound small
    meth isn’t a tournament because they waited for a big pass and it wasn’t big
    pass. So, but six and a half to seven pounds right in there for the small
    leaves. And heck, that was an Oklahoma. You know, I didn’t even catch it up
    north. So yeah, we got some jobs around here. I mean, I think the state record
    in Oklahoma is like eight and a half, something like that. Maybe it may be a
    little bigger than that. So we got some gorillas, but you don’t catch
    just many of them, you know, obviously, but you find them.
    They’re fun.
    Yeah, that’s that’s an insane small mouth. I wouldn’t even like, I
    wouldn’t even know what to do with it. Like a football.
    I think the initial when the guy broke the record Oklahoma, the
    first time, he caught like an eight one and eight three or an eight
    two and eight three in the same day in the tournament. Yeah,
    that’s what I just did to God been like, well, I’m ready to go.
    That’s what I said.
    That’s about it. Oh, you.
    He had big bass.
    I mean, and I think I think he had like 24 pounds and four fish.
    So, I mean, but when you have two eights, that really doesn’t take near as much to get to 20.
    But it had like three small mouth and a little low, two pound large mouth.
    They had like eight, eight and six and then a two pound large mouth or something.
    That’s been it.
    That’s before a rigs are even going.
    So that tells you how long ago it was.
    Yeah, well, I mean, that’s, um, that’s a crazy bag for sure.
    Oh, eight, eight, six, and two.
    That’s fine.
    Good stuff.
    Um, cool, man.
    Um, I appreciate it talk to you, Luke.
    And it’s one of the things I always like do at the end of these podcasts to kind of give you the platform to be able to shout out anything that you kind of are working on now.
    So why don’t you tell our listeners, um, you know, your social media channels and then plug anything that you kind of want to plug here?
    Hey, no, I mean, obviously I’ve got, you know, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. That’s all under Luke Palmer fishing.
    That’s kind of getting going. And I’ve got a little something to work coming up. I’m actually going to get a YouTube started.
    That’s going to, I mean, my guy, he’s getting it going now and he’s actually traveling with me. Good buddy Aaron.
    And it’s going to be a lot of fun because me and him click really well, he actually has come up and
    They have their own hunting show, breaking point TV.
    So he comes down, he actually shot a deer a couple weeks ago
    down here.
    So it was cool.
    I got being on the tracking and helping him out.
    So that’s a lot of fun.
    So I think it’ll be interesting.
    You’ll get to see the–
    a lot of people know the hardware life, Luke,
    but they don’t know what all it takes in the fishing industry.
    I do the camping deal.
    So you’ll get to see start to finish in our 30-hour drive
    where we go, it seems like.
    So it’ll be interesting, we’ll be a lot of fun.
    I’m excited about it.
    I mean, I never ever thought about doing a YouTube deal,
    but he’s been on my butt about it.
    So we’re gonna see how it goes.
    And it’ll be fun ’cause he puts out some good content.
  • That’s awesome.
    And I will definitely link that into the description here
    so people can go check you out right when they see this video.
    And Luke, I appreciate it again.
    And, you know, great insight that you gave to us today
    about, you know, catching fish and kind of behind the scenes,
    about your life too, about God, about family,
    all that stuff. So it’s great talking to you and you know, hopefully down the road we can kind of
    catch up and film another one of these. Sounds good, but I sure appreciate you.
    You just listened to the Fishing Fanatics Podcast with your host, Eric Stewart.
    Feel free to check out our other podcast and our other interviews on our channel,
    Spotify, YouTube and much more. Check out our Instagram page, TikTok and Facebook as well.
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