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John's Journal... Entry 242, Day 3


Slow and Steady Wins the Race When You're Jerkbait Fishing

Editor's 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 bass fishing.

QUESTION: Most tournament fishermen believe that fishing fast, running and gunning, and covering as much water as possible is the way to win a bass tournament. But you and George Cochran both did well at Lake Guntersville by fishing the Wild Shiner extremely slow. How do you slow your fishing down when you have such a limited amount of time to try to catch a winning stringer of bass?
BRAUER: Learning to fish slow is really tough. I think the secret to learning to fish slow is to have confidence in the area you're fishing and believe that the bass are on the spot where you're casting your lure. The real challenge is when you fish a spot or a type of cover for an hour, and you don't get a bite. There's that little voice in your head that says, "You've gotta move. You've gotta change. You've gotta do something different." But what may very well be going on is that you're fishing where the bass are, but you need to slow down your fishing slow enough to make the bass bite. But I think I'm much better at slowing down my fishing and thoroughly working an area than I am speeding up my fishing, running a lot of water, making a lot of casts and hoping to get lucky.

Kevin VanDam is the master of speed fishing. He can cover a lot of water quickly and thoroughly and find and catch a lot of bass. But my strong suit seems to be when fishing is tough, and you need to work your area slower and more thoroughly to locate bass and make them bite. And these were the conditions we had at Guntersville the end of February.

QUESTION: Why do you have so much confidence in the Wild Shiner?
BRAUER: First, I know that this bait was designed by Kevin VanDam. He'd stay up nights worrying about every little aspect of the Wild Shiner jerkbait, and he wouldn't put his stamp of approval on the lure until it performed exactly the way he wanted it to perform. In my opinion, there's not a better jerkbait fisherman in America than Kevin VanDam. Kevin also knows what a jerkbait really needs to do make a bass bite. So knowing how much time Kevin spent developing the Wild Shiner for Strike King causes me to have a lot of confidence in the bait. The second reason I'm a fan of the Wild Shiner is because I've caught a truckload of bass on this bait fishing on lakes at home. I've also caught a large number of smallmouths using this jerkbait when tournaments have been in the North. Because this bait has performed so well for me for so long under pre-spawn conditions, I have confidence that if I continue to fish it during the pre-spawn, the bass will bite it.

QUESTION: Why do you like the chrome with the blue back and the clown color Wild Shiner?
BRAUER: Water color determines the lure color that I choose. For instance, for a jerkbait to perform at its best I like to fish it in really-clear water. I think the bass need to be able to see the lure for a pretty good while before they will eat it. The water clarity at Lake Guntersville the end of February was fairly clear. I could see my bait 3-feet down in the water. The clarity of the water I fished determined which color Wild Shiner I fished. If I was fishing an area that was fairly clear, I would be fishing chrome with the blue back Wild Shiner. If the water had a little stain in it, I would fish the clown color. If the day was more overcast, I would also fish the clown color. The clown color Wild Shiner throws off a little more flash and is a little easier for the bass to see when the water is stained or there's low-light conditions.




Check back each day this week for more about CHAD BRAUER - COMING OF AGE ...

Day 1 - Chad Brauer's Fishing Career
Day 2 - Brauer's Technique for Catching Big Pre-Spawn Bass
Day 3 - Slow and Steady Wins the Race When You're Jerkbait Fishing
Day 4 - Equipment for Winning with the Wild Shiner
Day 5 - Why and How to Fish a Slack line with the Wild Shiner

John's Journal