John's Journal...

Denny Brauer – Preparing the Tournament

How Will You Find the Big Bass?

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: If Denny Brauer of Camdenton, Missouri, was a chess master, he’d be one of the best in the world. Tournament bass fishing is much like a game of chess in that you have to lay out a battle strategy first with plenty of options, so that you can react and move properly, depending on your opponent’s plan. Over the years, Brauer has proved he knows how to play the game. In mid-July 2006, Denny Brauer passed the $2 million mark in earnings for tournament fishing on the Bassmaster’s tournament circuit. The only other angler to achieve this goal is Kevin VanDam, who’s also a Strike King pro. No one ever can doubt that these two anglers know how to find and catch bass anywhere in the country, under any water and weather conditions and against the toughest competition in the nation. As most athletic coaches know, preparation is the key to winning. Click to enlargeThis week, we’ll talk with Brauer about how he prepares to fish the Lake Champlain tournament, and what he does to win.

Question: Denny, what baits will you use to locate those concentrations of largemouth bass on Lake Champlain?
Brauer: I know that the largemouth bass will be relating to heavy cover. On a lake like Champlain at this time of year, they’ll be holding in vegetation. The smallmouth bass will be holding on the outer edges of vegetation and on points. The bigger largemouths will be holding deep in the vegetation. I believe that any type of flipping presentation will be better than fishing moving bait. Therefore, my No. 1 choice of lures will be the 1/2-ounce Strike King Flip-N-Jig. My second choice will be the Strike King Flip-N-Tube. I plan to rotate between those two lures and flip a lot of vegetation. I’ll also be flipping willow trees and matted, chewed-up vegetation that gets blown into any type of area that collects vegetation. I love to fish under shallow grass mats becauseClick to enlarge they can be good places to locate good largemouth bass. If I find stained water, I may be able to catch some bass on a spinner bait by fishing it through the milfoil. I also can catch bass on top-water lures like the Strike King Frog and the Spit-N-King.

Question: Denny, what type of water are you expecting to find on Lake Champlain – clear or stained?Click to enlarge
Brauer: In some places, the water’s so clear, you can see down 15 feet. In other areas, you may only be able to see down 1 or 2 feet. I know that there’s been plenty of rain in this region before the tournament. I also know that some of the creeks are running with extremely-muddy water that’s so dirty it’s not fishable. Today was our first practice day, and the lake was windy. The wind was sweeping around a lot of clay points, which dirtied-up many regions. Fishing up here is a day-to-day game of strategy. If I were to fish for smallmouth bass, I’d stay out on the big lake where the water’s clear.

Tomorrow: What Type of Lures Will You Use to Catch Largemouths and Smallmouths?


Check back each day this week for more about "Denny Brauer – Preparing the Tournament "

Day 1: Before I Get to the Lake
Day 2: How Will You Find the Big Bass?
Day 3: What Type of Lures Are You Going to Use to Catch Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass?
Day 4: Managing Your Bass and Dealing with the Weather
Day 5: Pattern Fishing vs. Small Fishing


Entry 362, Day 2