Editor’s Note: Strike King Pro Chad Brauer of Osage Beach, Missouri, fishes the FLW Majors Tour and the BASS Open tournaments. He and his father Strike King pro Denny Brauer of Camdenton, Mo., compete against each other every week on “Brauer’s Bass Battles” TV show on the Sportsman Channel, to see which one can catch the five-best bass.
Part 1: Chad Brauer Says to Bet on the Wild Shiner in the Clown Color in Cold Water
Question: Chad, how have you done this season?
Brauer: We’ve had two events so far on the FLW Tour Majors tournament circuit, and I’ve made a check in both of them, so I haven’t had a bad season. However, I’ve had a couple of good days and a couple of not-so-good days. I haven’t been able to pull a full tournament together. I started-off good in both events, but I haven’t had the consistency I’ve needed to win. I’m hoping to put a full tournament together in the next couple of events.
Question: What baits have produced for you so far in the tournaments you’ve fished this year?
Brauer: The first event I fished was an FLW Tour Majors tournament held at Beaver Lake in Arkansas, and the water was still extremely cold. I caught quite a few bass with the Strike King Wild Shiner and the Strike King Premier Pro-Model Jig on bluff banks. These were the only two techniques I used in this tournament.
Question: What color Wild Shiner did you use and why?
Brauer: I fished the clown color. When the water temperature’s in the low 40s, the baitfish is moving slowly, the bass are biting slowly, and you need a slow-moving bait that the bass don’t have to expend a lot of energy to eat. I worked the Wild Shiner extremely slowly. I’d jerk it down to about 4- to 5-feet below the surface and let it sit in place for as long as I could stand it. Most of the time I felt like I was letting the bait sit for 5 minutes, but in reality, I only could let it sit still for about 15 to 20 seconds. Then, when I moved it, I’d give it small twitches with my rod tip. So, I wouldn’t move it more than 5 to 6 inches at a time. Besides the clown color, I threw the chrome-with-a-blue-back Wild Shiner, and I also caught a few bass on the sexy-shad color.
Question: What pound-test line did you use with the Wild Shiner?
Brauer: I fished 12-pound-test Seaguar InvizX fluorocarbon line.
Question: What size bass did you catch with this rig?
Brauer: Beaver Lake’s not known for having a number of big bass, but I kept five bass the first day that weighed almost 14 pounds. They were all 15- to 18-inch largemouths.
Question: What type of structure did you fish over when you fished the Wild Shiner?
Brauer: I concentrated on steep and bluff-type banks and the backs of creeks. I searched for places where the bass could move-up shallow for a couple of days, if the weather was stable, and then be able to drop-down in deeper water when a cold front moved through the area.
Question: What are the bass doing on those bluff banks just before the spawn?
Brauer: They’re staging to move-up for the spawn. Most of those bluff banks are adjacent to spawning flats that the bass can move into when the water warms-up, and the spawn draws nearer. This fundamental pattern is one that many anglers use when fishing in the Ozarks during February, March and April.
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