CHAD BRAUER - COMING OF AGE
Brauer's Technique for Catching Big Pre-Spawn Bass
Note: Years of patience and perseverance have paid off for Chad Brauer
this year. At the halfway point of 2004, Brauer leads the race for Angler
of the Year and took third place at the Lake Guntersville BASS tournament
at the end of February, 2004. With Brauer having the chance of winning
this prestigious award, Strike King wanted to learn from Brauer how he's
doing so well and how the tactics and techniques he's using can help your
QUESTION: Chad, you really did well at Lake Guntersville
on the Tennessee River in north Alabama in February, 2004. How were you
finding and catching those bass?
Guntersville is a fabulous fishery, and in my opinion, it's one of the
top one or two big bass lakes in the nation. When you go to a lake and
you average catching five bass per day that weigh 21 pounds and do that
for four days, and you're not even close to winning, you know you're fishing
one of the best lakes in the nation. I've fished three tournaments at
Guntersville, and at all three tournaments, the fishing has been awesome.
Guntersville is such a great bass-fishing lake because you can fish several
different patterns and have a chance to win. The lake has bass, bluffs,
rocks, wood and plenty of structure to fish. Another advantage to fishing
at Guntersville is that you can actually pattern the bass on the lake
and then fish that pattern and catch them. That's the way I like to fish.
I like to decide what pattern bass are holding on and then run to several
different spots and try to duplicate that pattern and catch some bass.
And you can fish this way at Guntersville.
What was the hottest pattern on Lake Guntersville at the end of February?
BRAUER: I was fishing a basic winter pattern that I use a lot on Lake
of the Ozarks at home. I was fishing for suspended bass around boat docks.
When the water temperature is from the low to upper 40s, bass will be
around boat docks in 10 to 20 feet of water. The bass will suspend under
these docks and feed on dying baitfish that pass by the dock and schools
of baitfish that are feeding slowly. I target these fish with a Strike
King Wild Shiner jerkbait. I like the suspending version. I work the jerkbait
really slow. My favorite color of Wild Shiner at this time of the year
is the chrome with a blue back and the clown color, which is chrome with
a yellow back and a red nose. I jerk the bait when it's 3 to 5 feet under
the surface. Then I twitch it three times and let it sit absolutely still
in the water. I'll let it sit for 3 or 4 seconds without moving it, next
I'll twitch it two or three times moving the bait about 6 or 8 inches
and then let it sit motionless for another 3 or 4 seconds. I'm trying
to keep that Wild Shiner in the bass' strike zone as long as possible,
because the bass aren't going to travel a long way to chase a bait at
this time of the year. Most of the bass I caught would take the Wild Shiner
when it was sitting dead still in the water. All I would see when I got
a strike was my bait jump in the water. George Cochran, one of my Strike
King Pro Team members, won the tournament using this same technique over
grass. On that last day, George caught 11 bass that weighed 5 pounds or
more on the Strike King Wild Shiner. He was actually culling 5-pound bass
on his last day. Stacey King, who also finished in the top 5 was using
this same technique fishing on rock banks. Regardless of the habitat you
wanted to fish, fishing jerkbaits very slow was the pattern that the bass
were being caught on at the Guntersville tournament.
TOMORROW: SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE WHEN YOU'RE JERKBAIT