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Denny Brauer – Preparing the Tournament

What Type of Lures Are You Going to Use to Catch Largemouth and Smallmouth 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. This week, we’ll talk with Brauer about how he prepares to fish the Lake Champlain tournament, and what he does to win.

Question: Denny, how will you find largemouth bass? Will you look for stained water and vegetation? Or, will you try to catch those largemouths in clear water?
Brauer: I know that to catch largemouth, I have to locate colored water. However, from past experience of fishing up here in New York, I know a few clear-water areas that tend to have largemouth bass in them. But those regions traditionally don’t hold them. I may only get one or two bass out of those places. The famous areas up here for largemouth are at opposite ends of the lake, either the far northernmost or the southernmost spots. These two ends of the lake are where thClick to enlargee majority of the largemouths are found.

Question: Idealistically, you’ll be looking for stained water with vegetation, right?
Brauer: Right. I don’t want the water to be overly stained. I just want it to be colored. The heavier the vegetation is, the better my odds will be for pinpointing and catching largemouth bass.

Question: Will you still be flipping if you find the largemouths?
Brauer: Yes, that’s the way the majority of largemouth are caught on this lake, and that’s the tactic I’ll be using.

Question: What color jig and tube will you be fishing? What pound-test line will you use? How will you fish those baits?
Brauer: My line of choice is Mustad 25-pound-test Thor Line for my jig. When I’m fishing a tube, I’ll be using a No. 4/0 Mustad tube hook with a 3/8-ounce Tungsten weight up the line. I’ll be using either a black-and-blue or a black neon Strike King Flip-N-Tube.

Question: What color jig will you use?
Brauer: The Texas Craw with a bit of chartreuse on it makes my bait look like a bluegill or a perch, especiaClick to enlargelly when I put a green pumpkin Strike King Chunk behind it, which is what a lot of bass feed on that hold in the grass. I’ll be more or less trying to match the hatch. Of course, I’ll also have a rod rigged with my standard black-and-blue jig.

Question: If you fail to get the largemouth bass to bite, what will you do to catch the smallmouth bass?
Brauer: The good news about the smallmouth is that you can catch them in a variety of ways. Obviously, you can move out to deep structure on reefs where smallmouth concentrate. I’ll fish the Strike King KVD Pro-Model Tube, which is smaller than the Flip-N-Tube. I’ll fish chartreuse it on a jighead with an open hook. I’ll be using either Mustad 8- or 10-pound-test Thor Line. I’ll be fishing 15 to 23 feet in that clear water. That’s one way to catch them. Another way to catch them is with a football head jig while trying to do the same thing. Alternatively, you can get on the rocky points in shallow water and burn a Premier Elite spinner bait through the water. I’d be fishing chartreuse-and-white possibly with chartreuse blades on a spinner bait. You also can catch those smallmouth bass using top-water bait like the Spit-N-King if you want to fish top water. You have to let the water and weather conditions dictate the bait and the way you fish it each day. Right now, in July 2006, this lake is extremely high. Therefore, those structures and spots will have more water over them. That high may push those smallmouths that have been holding on structure closer to the bank. Click to enlarge

Question: Denny, when you’re fishing that spinner bait for smallmouths, what kind of trailer will you use?
Brauer: I’ll be fishing the Strike King Premier Pro-Model with the Perfect Skirt and the trailer already attached. Remember that the Perfect Skirt has a built-in trailer because of some of the strands of the skirt being longer than other strands. That trailer also causes the bait to pulsate. Therefore, my days of using a trailer on a spinner bait are over as long as I can fish a Perfect Skirt.

Question: Do you think the Perfect Skirt is more effective than a trailer?
Brauer: Oh yes, the Perfect Skirt makes the bait cast better, move through the water better and has a better action than a spinner bait with a trailer. I know that the Perfect Skirt and the trailer hook both allow the fish to get hooked better.

Tomorrow: Managing Your Bass and Dealing with the Weather


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 3