Bass Pros Denny Brauer and Larry Nixon on Catching Bass
Editor’s Note: Denny Brauer has fished professionally for 31 years, making $2.7 million in tournament winnings. Larry Nixon of Bee Branch, Arkansas, won the Bass Masters Classic in 1983 and has earned about $2 million fishing for bass.
Denny Brauer says, “To catch a big bass, I’ve got to get my boat into an area where no one else will consider putting his boat. I must cast my lure into a spot that only a nut will try and fish, because those are the regions where you’ll locate big bass. I’ve jumped beaver dams with my boat before to get into protected water where no one else can fish. I’ve run my boat across sandbars at the mouths of creeks where the sheer force of the motor has pushed the boat across what’s almost dry land. If you can reach a region that no one else can fish, you may discover that big bass of a lifetime. And, don’t be afraid to lose some baits. The type of cover you must work a lure through to take big bass may cause you to lose lures. To catch a lunker, a trophy angler must outfish all of the other fishermen who are trying to take that same bass.”
Although most anglers agree that big bass are often in out-of-the-way, hard-to-get-to places, unlikely spots such as swimming areas also may hold big bass. Because there is so much splashing and carrying-on in a swimming area, most fishermen never cast their lures around beaches or roped-off swimming sites when they’re not in use by bathers. So, often this is an overlooked but productive region to find big bass.
Some bass anglers have been successful fishing around boat ramps, because just about every major lake in the nation has a tournament on it each weekend. The big bass that are caught from the lake and brought into the weigh-in site are usually released at the boat ramp and nearby boat docks. For instance, at the 1984 Bassmaster Classic on the Arkansas River, Rick Clunn caught a huge stringer of bass, weighing 75 pounds, 9 ounces, that he found on a small, obscure ledge not far from the boat ramp where the anglers put in their boats. George Cochran, of Hot Springs, Arkansas, during the 1987 Bassmaster Classic on the Ohio River at Louisville, Kentucky, caught his winning stringer of bass close to the put in place. Most other anglers who had participated were traveling a couple of hundred miles per day to reach prime fishing areas and spent only 2 or 3 hours fishing each day. Another place to look for big bass is in ponds that nobody fishes. Once, I caught an 8-pound largemouth out of a gravel pit right next to a major highway that thousands of anglers passed each day, while traveling to a nearby lake. A big bass may be in a location so public that no one thinks to fish for it there, including golf course ponds, which receive little or no fishing pressure.
Now that I had narrowed down my search pattern as to where a big bass should be, like any investigator, I next needed to know how to confront or capture one. Larry Nixon of Bee Branch Arkansas, won the Bass Masters Classic in 1983 and has earned about $2 million fishing for bass. Larry Nixon’s considered one of the best anglers in the nation on determining what will make a big bass bite. “Two of the reasons why more fishermen don’t catch more trophy bass are that they either fish too fast or don’t fish with large enough lures,” Nixon explains. “A trophy bass fisherman must be willing to not catch a bass at all in a day, because he’s using tactics and baits to take only big bass. Big bass like large lures presented slowly. And, those big baits cull the large numbers of fun-catching, smaller-size fish. Slow, deliberate angling for the biggest bass in any lake isn’t as exciting to most anglers as fishing fast and covering lots of water.”
After developing a system to search-for and possibly take the biggest bass in any lake, I’ve realized that to implement the system, I’ll have to forfeit some of the sheer fun that bass fishing for all sizes of bass provides. However, if catching a trophy bass is your goal, you now know how to find and catch it – by slowly fishing large lures in hard-to-fish places, or by fishing the spots where no one believes bass live. Often, these anglers are the ones who will go home with their catches of a lifetime.
This is the final part of a series by John Phillips on bass fishing. To go back to part four, click here.