Brauer Discusses Success and Stress
Editor's Note: Denny Brauer, a member of Strike King's Pro Team, has won Angler of the Year on the B.A.S.S. Circuit, the 1998 BASS Masters Classic, FLW Angler of the Year and just about every major fishing tournament in the nation. He's also the first fisherman to appear on the Wheaties Breakfast of Champions cereal box. This week we'll look at what has made Brauer so successful when bass fishing.
Question: Was 1998 your biggest and best year?
Answer: Not really. The media and public focused more on 1998 because I won the FLW Angler of the Year title, the BASS Masters Classic, three B.A.S.S. Top 150 tournaments and earned about $1 million in tournament winnings, all in a single year. However, during the 1993 season, I won the Superstars Tournament, the MegaBucks tournament and another tournament in a very short time. That year, I really should have won six tournaments, but I had bad luck. I believe I fished better and was more tuned into fishing conditions in 1993 than in 1998. During one of the big tournaments I won in 1998, I caught the last bass I needed on my last cast and barely got to the weigh-in on time.
I try to fish consistently every year. The lakes I fish, the weather conditions I fish in and the schedule I maintain all play a role in my effectiveness. Don't get me wrong, 1998 was a great year. Being on the Wheaties box and making two appearances on the "David Letterman Show" helped build my fishing career.
Question: What creates that kind of winning streak?
Answer: I believe anglers feed off success. When I win a tournament, I get a tremendous confidence boost. Often, that confidence causes me to make bold decisions and take chances I ordinarily won't take. To develop a winning streak, you need to understand the peaks and valleys in your career and how to deal with them. I think anyone can be more successful as an angler if he or she wants to be a professional fisherman. As bass fishing grows as an industry, I think those who have been successful must give back to the industry by doing seminars, promotions and TV shows. Anglers have to work with the media and the general public. I believe I must do certain things to help this industry grow.
I'd be cheating my family, the sport that has allowed me to make a living and myself if I focused only on bass fishing. I want to do other things besides fishing. I want to hunt in the wintertime instead of staying on the water. Sometimes when I'm on a winning steak, I feel like the world, the public, the sponsors and the press are pushing me so hard I just want to escape. Often, I may even hope I don't catch another fish because I don't need any more pressure. Then, a few minutes later, I realize I've got to get my fanny in gear. Fishing is what I do, and catching bass is what I'm all about.