John's Journal...

Buzz ‘Em Up, Pop ‘Em Up and Wake ‘Em Up for Late Fall and Wintertime Bass with Denny Brauer and Mark Davis

Day 3: Why Denny Brauer Likes to Fish the Spit-N-King for Fall and Winter Bass

Editor’s Note: When we asked two of the nation’s top bass fishermen, Denny Brauer of Camdenton, Missouri, and Mark Davis of Mount Ida, Arkansas, to give our readers the best information on how to catch bass at this time of the year, they somewhat surprised us when they both named the buzzbait, a top-water lure, as their number-one choice for late fall and wintertime bass fishing, although they also selected other baits. Many people don’t realize that in the late fall and the early winter, bass still will take top-water lures. We’ve asked the pros why, what lures we should fish, and how to fish those lures. Although Denny Brauer, one of the most-successful tournament bass fishermen in the world, is now retired, his fishing prowess is renowned from fishing the Bassmaster and other tournament circuits.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewThe Strike King Spit-N-King (, another highly-productive top-water bait, especially if the water’s extremely clear, will be hard to beat for bass fishing in the fall and early winter. In clear water at this time of the year, I catch more bass on the Spit-N-King than I do on the buzzbait. In clear water, you need a bait that’s more subtle than you’ll fish if the water’s stained, and the Spit-N-King is a more-subtle bait than the buzzbait. For my retrieve, I like a three-pop cadence. I pop the bait three times, then stop the bait and give it three-more-quick pops. Sometimes the bass want the lure retrieved faster than this, so I’ll speed-up the lure and barely stop it in-between pops. Then the bait will spit all the way back to the boat. But fishing the Spit-N-King is much like fishing the buzzbait. You need to experiment with various kinds of retrieves, instead of fishing the lure one way the entire day.

One of the best tips I can give for fishing the Spit-N-King successfully at this time of year is to fish it around cover, like boat docks, stumps and logs. When the Spit-N-King reaches where you think the strike zone is located on that cover, stop the bait, and give the bass a chance to eat it. I often will stop the bait for 3 or 4 seconds, which may not seem like a long time. But if you’ll keep an eye on your watch for those 3 or 4 seconds, you’ll realize that the time that passes is much longer than most fishermen let their top-water lures sit on the water without moving them. Most of the time a really-big bass will eat the bait just as you get ready to move it.

If the bass are feeding aggressively, I’ll speed-up my retrieve. If the day is cloudy or misty, and the bass are feeding aggressively, I’ll speed-up my retrieve. If I’m fishing later in the morning or on a bright day, I may slow-down my retrieve. Don’t overlook the weather conditions when you’re trying to determine what type of retrieve to give the Spit-N-King in cool and cold weather.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewI like any of the shad-colored Spit-N-Kings, but lately, I’ve really liked the chrome-sexy-shad Spit-N-King. But gizzard-shad and sexy-shad colors also work well at this time of year. I’ll be fishing the Spit-N-King on 17-pound-test monofilament line. I almost exclusively fish that weight and type of line when I’m fishing the Spit-N-King. For this lure, I’ll shorten my rod. I love to fish the Spit-N-King and the buzzbait in cooler weather like we’re now experiencing.

To learn more about bass fishing, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks and some print books, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro,” “How to Win a Bass Tournament,” “Catch the Most and Biggest Bass in Any Lake: 18 Pro Fishermen’s Best Tactics, “Hot Weather Bass Tactics” and “How to Become A Tournament Bass Fisherman,” or go to, type in the names of the books, and download them to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.

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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Tomorrow: Mark Davis on the Wake Shad for Late Fall and Winter Bass

Check back each day this week for more about Buzz ‘Em Up, Pop ‘Em Up and Wake ‘Em Up for Late Fall and Wintertime Bass with Denny Brauer and Mark Davis"

Day 1: Denny Brauer on Why He Fishes the Buzzbait for Cool Weather Bass
Day 2: How Denny Brauer Fishes the Buzzbait for Bass in Cool Weather
Day 3: Why Denny Brauer Likes to Fish the Spit-N-King for Fall and Winter Bass
Day 4: Mark Davis on the Wake Shad for Lake Fall and Winter Bass
Day 5: What Equipment Davis Uses to Fish the Wake Shad for Late Fall Bass

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Entry 794, Day 3