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When Strike King Saved the Day

Chad BrauerEditor's Note: Chad Brauer of Osage Beach, Missouri, son of famed fishing pro Denny Brauer, has grown up in a fishing family. Brauer can't remember a time when he hasn't fished for bass and hardly recalls a time when he hasn't fished competitively. Brauer, a Strike King pro for the past six years, has made a name for himself on the professional bass-fishing circuit.

Question: So, Chad, tell me about a day of fishing where using Strike King bait saved the day for you.

Answer: I was fishing a bayou of tidal water similar to the Potomac River that was filled with milfoil in North Carolina. When I had practiced-fished there, I'd caught bass on white 1/4-ounce spinner bait. However, when the tournament began, a strong wind hit the lake, causing the water in the bayou to recede drastically. The high tide during the tournament was at the same level the low tide had been at during the practice.

The milfoil I was fishing over was matted on the surface, which killed my spinner bait pattern. Although I tried flipping a Strike King jig, I couldn't get any bites. Around 1:00 p.m., I dug through my tackle box and found a white Strike King Pop'N-Grass Frog. I started popping that frog across the top of the milfoil, stopping it in the holes, giving the bait two, quick pops and waiting on the strike.

Strike King SpinnerbaitUp until the time I started fishing the frog I only had one bass in the boat. By 2:00 p.m., after fishing the frog for only an hour, I'd caught a limit of bass and culled two bass. On that day, although I was totally out of the money at 1:00 p.m., by 2:00 p.m. I was in the top 20 and finished the tournament in 15th place, receiving a nice-sized check. If I hadn't had the white Strike King Pop'N-Grass Frog in the boat with me, I'm convinced I wouldn't have placed in the tournament.

Question: Why did you choose to fish the white frog?

Answer: I liked the white frog because the water was fairly clear, and the bass had been biting a white spinner bait in practice. By force of habit, I always carried a white frog, a chartreuse frog and a black frog with me wherever I went.I cast the frog out on 25-pound-test line and made really long casts. By using the white frog, I could see it from a long distance.

The real key to fishing frogs or rats successfully on matted vegetation is making sure the fish gets the bait before you set the hook. When I see a bass start to bite a frog, I'll fight the urge to set the hook. Here's why. When a bass starts to bite at the frog, if the bass doesn't get the bait, the bass will usually circle it and take it the second time.

Chad BrauerSo don't set the hook until you feel the fish on the line. However, in that tournament the bass were biting the frog hard enough to set the hooks themselves. The biggest mistake that most fishermen make when frog fishing is setting the hook when they see the bass bite down on the bait. Generally all you're doing is pulling the bait away from the fish.


When Color Counts

Chad BrauerEditor's Note: Chad Brauer of Osage Beach, Missouri, son of famed fishing pro Denny Brauer, has grown up in a fishing family. Brauer can't remember a time when he hasn't fished for bass and hardly recalls a time when he hasn't fished competitively. Brauer, a Strike King pro for the past six years, has made a name for himself on the professional bass-fishing circuit.

Question: Tell me about a time when you learned that color counted in fishing.

Answer: I was fishing a tournament on the North Carolina/Virginia border. While practicing for the tournament, I was pitching a green/pumpkin Strike King Elite Jig and a black-and-blue Strike King Elite Jig around the docks. I was trying both a 1/2-ounce and a 3/8-ounce jig, depending on whether the day was cloudy or sunny. I was doing fairly well on these jigs during practice, but then when the tournament started, the days were extremely cloudy.

Chad BrauerSince the lake wasn't a really big lake, the docks received a lot of fishing pressure, not only from the other contestants but also from local fishermen. For fun during the tournament, my dad and I were both trying to determine how we could fish behind other fishermen and catch bass they weren't catching. We both decided to try the Strike King Electric Blue Jig because this was the first year that Strike King had produced the Electric Blue Jig, and we knew that very few anglers had one.

Every day we fished the weather was cloudy or rainy, and the water was extremely clear. We did really well in the tournament, using the electric-blue color. I finished near the top during this tournament, and I think it was the Strike King Electric Blue Jig that saved my season.

Question: What made you know that it was the color that saved the day?

Chad BrauerAnswer: I had two really bad tournaments before going to this lake. I'd learned on cloudy, rainy, overcast days on clear-water lakes with lots of fishing pressure that the Electric Blue Strike King Premier Elite Jig paid off. Now that I've seen the advantages, you won't catch me going to any tournament without one of the jigs this color.


When Nothing Else Will Work, Try the Flip-N-Spin

Chad BrauerEditor's Note: Chad Brauer of Osage Beach, Missouri, son of famed fishing pro Denny Brauer, has grown up in a fishing family. Brauer can't remember a time when he hasn't fished for bass and hardly recalls a time when he hasn't fished competitively. Brauer, a Strike King pro for the past six years, has made a name for himself on the professional bass-fishing circuit.

Question: Ok, so tell me about this Flip-N-Spin.

Answer: My dad helped design the Flip-N-Spin for Strike King. Rather than have the line tie on the head of the jig where you normally will find it, Dad developed a spinner bait arm coming off the head of the jig. He added a single Colorado blade to the spinner bait arm. Dad designed this bait to be fished in areas like the Potomac River where you would need to fish a spinner bait through heavy cover, but most spinner baits would get hung up.

He wanted to develop baits that you could flip like a jig but would fall like spinner bait. This way you could fish areas where most anglers flipped jigs, but instead you would be flipping a jig/spinner bait combination. This combination gave the fish a different-looking bait and allowed us to catch bass in high-pressure areas where most people were flipping a jig and were unsuccessful.

Chad BrauerQuestion: Was there a particular time in your fishing career when using the Flip-N-Spin saved your day?

Answer: When my dad and I arrived at Beaver Lake on the F.L.W. Tour, the lake was high and flooded, and the water was up in the willow trees. We fished a creek arm that had a lot of willow trees in it. I caught three or four different bass, fishing the Strike King Pro-Model Jig through the willows. But I noticed most of my bites were coming when the jig fell down through the willow bushes.

Once I decided the bass were probably suspended in those bushes, I decided to switch to a Strike King spinner bait and started catching a few little bass on the spinner bait. Because I wasn't satisfied with the size or numbers of fish I was catching, I opened my tackle box and began to study my lures.

When I spotted the Flip-N-Spin in my box, I remembered these were the kind of conditions this bait was designed to produce. The area I was fishing was only about 50 acres. Seven or eight other boats were fishing in this area. Most of those fishermen where flipping jigs. I decided to try the Flip-N-Spin.

Chad BrauerI pitched the Flip-N-Spin in the middle of those thick willow bushes and let it fall on a slack line down through the bush. When the bait would get 3 to 4 feet deep in the bush, I'd see my line jump violently, which was a dream bite for an angler who liked to flip. I ended up getting 30 bites on that Flip-N-Spin, and most of the bass were good solid keepers.

The first day of the tournament the area had a huge rainstorm with lots of red mud rolling through the area. I stuck with the Flip-N-Spin pattern and tried to fish wherever I could find clear water. Although I caught only one bass, the fish weighed 5 pounds, usually what a limit would weigh on Beaver Lake. Dad caught only a couple of bass on the first day. Therefore he and I both decided to commit the tournament to the area we'd fished in practice and use the Flip-N-Spin.

The Flip-N-Spin paid off for me, and I finished 20th in the tournament. Dad caught a big stringer of bass that day and finished in the top five in the tournament. We both learned that the Flip-N-Spin allowed us to fish water the other fishermen had already fished and catch bass the other fishermen couldn't take.

Question: What made the Flip-N-Spin work so well, and does color count with the Flip-N-Spin as well?

Chad BrauerAnswer: We learned that you can pitch the Flip-N-Spin in an area where you would normally flip a jig and in a region where you'd like to flip a spinner bait, but you know it would get hung up so much the bass wouldn't bite it. This bait gave the fish a different look than the jig offered and triggered strikes you wouldn't get if you were flipping the jig.

In this tournament, I was flipping the white Flip-N-Spin. Since that tournament, I've caught bass on the black-and-blue Flip-N-Spin and the chartreuse Flip-N-Spin. In clear water, I use white. If the water stains up, I'll use chartreuse and white. If the water is stained heavily, I'll use black.


Tube the Tough Weeds

Chad BrauerEditor's Note: Chad Brauer of Osage Beach, Missouri, son of famed fishing pro Denny Brauer, has grown up in a fishing family. Brauer can't remember a time when he hasn't fished for bass and hardly recalls a time when he hasn't fished competitively. Brauer, a Strike King pro for the past six years, has made a name for himself on the professional bass-fishing circuit.

Question: Tell me about a time that the flipping tube saved your day of fishing.

Answer: I was fishing a tournament in Florida on Lake Toho-Kissimmee in the grass, which is brown grass that sticks out of the water about a foot or so and looks like a hay field. I was fishing the edge of this grass, catching bass on a jerk bait and a small Strike King spinner bait. This tournament was in the early spring, and the bass hadn't moved up to the shallow water yet to spawn. I'd caught a few fish but not the kind and the size of bass I needed to do well in the tournament.

Strike King Pro-Model Flip-N-TubeI decided the biggest bass had probably moved to the thickest part of the grass where very few anglers could reach them. I tried flipping worms and jigs, but I wasn't having very much luck. So, I decided to try Strike King's white Flip-N-Tube with a 1/8-ounce lead on the front. I was fishing with 20-pound-test line and casting the tube to the back of the weeds. I worked the tube back across the top of the grass, much like you would fish a Johnson spoon.

The reason I put the weight on the tube was to get the tube down in the grass just a little. I wanted the bait to be able to move along the surface, so that when I dropped my rod tip the tube would fall about 6 inches. Then when I popped it up, the tube would come back to the surface. By working the bait really erratically, I caught three or four keeper bass but didn't develop a real strong pattern using the tube in practice.

Strike King Pro-Model Flip-N-TubeOn the first day of the tournament, I went downriver and started flipping a jig but only caught one keeper bass. I thought about the tube pattern and remembered I'd caught several keeper bass using this technique on Lake Toho where the launch site was. I immediately went right back through the lock and back to the grassy area where I'd previously fished the tube. I only had 45 minutes left to fish on the first day of the tournament. Once again I started fishing the tube through grass and caught a limit of bass that weighed 13 pounds, putting me in the top 20 of the tournament.

The following day of the tournament I decided to stick with the swimming-tube tactic. I not only finished the previous day with a limit of bass but also caught the biggest bass of the day, which weighed 8 pounds. That fish along with the others I caught weighed a total of 20 pounds, and I moved up to second place in the tournament.

Two other tournament anglers were fishing the same stretch of grass, one flipping a jig and one fishing a spinner bait. However, neither one had caught many bass. I believe the bass in this area of the lake had never seen the swimming-tube tactic, which was why they were biting so aggressively.

Chad BrauerQuestion: Tell me about the tube you were using.

Answer: I was fishing with a 4 1/2-inch-long Strike King Flip-N-Tube on a No. 4/0 Mustad Tube Hook with a 1/8-ounce screw-type bullet weight. When you fish dense grass where most anglers fish floating worms, flip a jig, or use a spinner bait, why don't you try swimming the Strike King Flipping Tube? You'll be giving the bass different-looking baits than they're accustomed to seeing and often catch the fish other anglers aren't catching. Also, in any areas where you can fish a spoon, try the Strike King Flipping Tube.


Overlooked Bait That Wins Tournaments