- Denny Brauer of Camdenton, Mo., the first bass fisherman to
ever earn $1 million in a year while tournament bass fishing,
always has enjoyed flipping for bass.
Although Brauer has won numerous other tournaments using
various strategies, when I asked Brauer recently what made him one
of the best fishermen in America, he smiled his sheepish grin and
said, "Now, John, I don't know that I'm one of the best
fishermen in the country. But one of the things that I am doing
that the other anglers may not be is I really am paying attention
when I'm fishing.
"When my lure enters the water, I'm mentally trying to see
what the lure is doing under the water. I attempt to determine if
the bass has taken the lure on the fall, after I've jigged it a
couple of times, or, if the bass is taking the bait when it's
laying on the bottom. By knowing what the lure is doing when the
bass takes it, I can learn what technique produces the most
strikes and how long to leave my bait in a particular spot.
"For instance, if I notice that the bass are taking the
baits on the fall but not taking the baits when they hit the
bottom, then I know I need to fish the baits only on the fall.
When the bait reaches the bottom, I need to pick up the bait
quickly and fish it again. Or, if the bass doesn't hit the bait on
the fall but waits to take the bait until I jig the bait a time or
two up off the bottom, then I realize I need to fish more
patiently and expect the bite to come after the lure gets to the
To successfully flip and pitch, Brauer also must determine the
position of the bass in the cover. When Brauer catches a bass, he
tries to decide whether the bass is holding on the shady or the
sunny side of a bush, in the middle of the bush, on the windy side
of the bush or on the downwind side of the bush. He also wants to
know on what kind of cover the bass are holding - on rocky points,
in pockets, on a log that doesn't have any bark, on a log with
plenty of bark, in the limbs or on the stump.
"I try and find a pattern inside of a pattern,"
Brauer says. "When I determine the pattern within a pattern,
then I can let my partner make two or three flips or pitches. If
he doesn't catch a bass, I can flip to that same piece of cover my
partner has just fished. However, I'll know where the bass are
holding and catch the bass my partner has been unable to take.
"Once I fished behind an angler in a boat who hadn't had a
bite all day. But I took 10 bass myself in that same water that
the other angler already had fished. The guy looked at me and
said, 'You're the luckiest guy I've ever seen.'
"He didn't realize that I knew where the fish were and he
didn't, because I had paid attention to where my jig was in the
cover and what it was doing in the cover. My fishing buddy wasn't
To catch more bass this weekend, learn to visualize what your
lure is doing under the water, and where the fish are positioned
in the cover. Then try to duplicate that same type of cover, and
make the same presentation with your lure as before to take bass.
Don't just go fishing. Think, and observe when you're fishing
for bass. Then, like Brauer, you can catch more bass and have more