Denny Brauer on Catching Bass in Sizzling-Hot Temperatures
Brauer Bets on the Anaconda in Hot Weather
Editor’s Note: The end of July and the month of August in some areas of the country can be so hot that bacon will sizzle on the sidewalk. In some areas of the Deep South, temperatures will be more than 110 degrees with no breezes on a bright, sunny day. For most of us, this time is the worst part of the year to find and catch bass, but not for Denny Brauer of Camdenton, Missouri. A professional angler for 29 years, Brauer has won or has finished in the top 10 in 81 tournaments, has career earnings of over $2.5 million and has qualified for 18 Bassmaster Classics, bringing home first place in 1998.
Question: Denny, how do you find and catch bass at this time of year?
Brauer: Obviously, knowing the body of water that you’re fishing is the key ingredient on learning how to catch bass on that lake at any time of year. So to answer that question, let me be a little more specific. Here’s how I catch bass in July and August in the Missouri Ozark region.
I live on the Lake of the Ozarks, and I’ll be fishing deeper than normal and keying on current in hot weather. The first thing I look for is current coming through a lake. Current carries cooler and more-oxygenated water and causes the bait fish to feed and the bass to feed on the baitfish. Therefore, when you go fishing in hot weather, always look for current first. Right now, we’ve got a great situation on the Lake of the Ozarks. We’ve had a lot of rain, and Truman Reservoir, the lake above the Lake of the Ozarks, has been extremely high. Therefore Truman has had to release a lot of water out of it into the Lake of the Ozarks. Releasing that water creates current. Because of all the development on the Lake of the Ozarks, the water authority has to maintain a certain lake level, which means they have to release quite a bit of water out of the lake as more water comes into the lake from Truman Reservoir. So we’ve had 30 days of very-strong current coming through the Lake of the Ozarks. Always search for current breaks to find bass in hot weather. Points, islands and main river bends create current breaks and cause the bass to group-up and become very active.
Question: Now that we know where and how to find July and August bass, how are we going to catch them?
Brauer: The Strike King Anaconda worm has been red-hot on this lake throughout the summer months. I like the 10-inch green-pumpkin Anaconda because the water has cleared-up, and that’s the primary color that I like to use in clear water. Before the water cleared-up, the plum color was the best color to fish. The color of worm that I use is always based on water clarity. The clearer the water, the more-natural colors I use, like green pumpkin and watermelon red. The darker the water, the darker colors you should fish.
Question: How are you rigging the Anaconda, and how are you retrieving it?
Brauer: I’m rigging it Texas style with the No. 5/0 Denny Brauer Mustad hook, which is a straight-shank hook, and I’m using a 3/8-ounce Tru-Tungsten flipping weight or as much as a 1/2-ounce flipping weight, depending on how deep I need the Anaconda to go. I match the color of the weight with the color of the worm. I feel having the worm look like one continuous body is very important too, and by matching the color of the weight to the color of the worm, you can produce that effect.
Question: How are you retrieving the worm?
Brauer: I retrieve it fairly fast. I’m using 15-pound-test fluorocarbon, and I’m catching most of my fish in 8 to 20 feet of water, depending on the type of structure on which they’re holding. I use a hopping-type retrieve to bring the worm back to the boat, once it hits bottom. Now as the water continues to become clearer and warmer, the bass will move deeper, often as deep as 25 to 30 feet. That’s about where the thermocline will begin to form. When the bass are that deep, instead of hopping the worm, I’ll make long sweeps upward with my rod tip to get the worm 4-5 feet off the bottom and let it fall back – if the water clears up.
Question: What do you mean by sweep the worm?
Brauer: I’m giving the worm a more-violent action than I will give it if I’m hopping it. I’ll pop the worm up 5- or 6-feet off the bottom and then let it flutter slowly back to the bottom. I use that high jump off the bottom in really-clear water because the Anaconda has a lot of tail action, and you want that bass to see as much of that action as it can when you jerk the bait up off the bottom.
To learn more from Denny Brauer, visit www.brauerbass.com.
Tomorrow: The Sexy Spoon Catches Everything that Swims