John's Journal...

Winning Bass Tournaments Denny Brauer on Decision Making

How to Close the Deal

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: To compete and win in the BASS Elite Series, win a Bassmaster Classic or earn the title of Angler of the Year, you must be able to determine the most-productive fishing tactic to use every day you fish. This week, Professional Bass Fishing Hall of Fame member Denny Brauer of Camdenton, Missouri, the BASS Angler of the year in 1987, the winner of the Bassmaster Classic in 1998, and the FLW Angler of the year in 1998, will tell us how he makes the difficult decisions on the water every day that helps him win at bass fishing and earn almost $2-1/2-million winning tournaClick to enlargements.

Question: Denny, one of the toughest times to make decisions in any tournament is when you’re leading the tournament on the last day. How do you make the difficult decisions to maintain your lead on the last day of a tournament?
Brauer: This may be one of the toughest situations for a tournament angler. If you’re leading in a tournament, you’ll have a ton of media attention spotlighting you and a number of spectators following you. You’ll have 10-times more distractions than the guy in 20th place. Many anglers start focusing on the prizes and the amount of money they’ll win. They’re busy focusing on financial issues, like winning enough money to pay their house, car, family and professional-fishing expenses for the season, rather than concentrating on winning. These distractions often cause first-time leaders not to fish as well as they can.

The more times you’ve been in the lead on the last day, the better you learn how to handle the pClick to enlargeressure and the distractions of the last tournament day. There’s a lot to be learned by leading on the last day and having that lead taken away from you. Maybe there’s more to be learned by losing on that last day than there is to be learned by winning.

I’ve learned that nothing really matters on that last day of the tournament except the next bite. I try and stay focused on every cast, retrieve, cover and bite. I can’t consider everything going on around me or what may or may not happen, because if I concentrate on these factors, I’m not focused on my fishing. NASCAR races aren’t won on the last lap. They’re won on every lap. Each lap in a race is just as Click to enlargeimportant as the last lap. To win, a racecar driver has to focus on the road in front of him.

If I’m in the lead on the last day, I’m not focused on being in the lead, the fishermen behind me, or what I’ll do with the money if I win. The only decision I have to make is where I’ll cast my lure next, what type of retrieve I’ll make, what action my lure in the water will make and when to set the hook to land the bass. Those are the only elements of the day I can truly control and change. So, on the last day of the tournament, if I’m in the lead, I decide that nothing really matters except the next cast.

The tournament isn’t between me and the other competitors. It’s not about the money or the glory. It’s about my ability to catch a fish on the next cast. I’ve learned that if I’m concerned about the tournament, it never goes the way I hoped. I’m extremely confident in my ability to make decisions on that last day. The quickest way to lose a tournament if you’re in the lead is to start second-guessing your decisions and being uncertain of what you need to do to win. If you start second-guessing your decisions on the last day, the odds are extremely high that you won’t be standing on the stage receiving the winner’s check.

Check back each day this week for more about "Winning Bass Tournaments Denny Brauer on Decision Making"

Day 1: The Magic Spot
Day 2: Lures – When to Change ‘Em
Day 3: Why You Don’t Win Tournaments
Day 4: Bad Weather? No Problem.
Day 5: How to Close the Deal


Entry 484, Day 5