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Written by Dan O’Sullivan   
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 04:44
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Legends of the Sport: Denny Brauer
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The Beginnings
His storied career began in Seward, Neb. As he was one of the founding members of the Blue Valley Bass Club, a club that still exists some 33 years later. “I’m really proud to have been there at the beginning of the Blue Valley Club,” said Brauer. “They won a BASS club of the Year award a few years ago which is a testament to how that club works. They are very active in the community, and with education; it’s where I got my start.”

After competing in the West Valley Club out of a 12-foot aluminum boat with only an electric motor for power, Brauer made the big leap to a 17 foot glass Ranger with 115 horsepower Evinrude in 1978. “Before I got that boat, the club used to let me trailer my little aluminum to different parts of the lake to fish,” said the 16 time BASS winner. “With only an electric motor to motor the boat with I couldn’t go very far, but it’s how I got started. Stepping up into that 17 footer was huge.”


Although he is extremely versatile, Brauer is primarily known for his prowess with a flipping rod in his hands. While he spent much of his early fishing years as a spinnerbait angler, it was a 1975 article with the Godfather of Flipping, Dee Thomas that made him rethink his strategy.

“That one article made me realize that I had to really get into the thick stuff to catch the biggest bass,” he said remembering his past. “So, realizing that Dee was on to something, and was winning everywhere he went by doing it, I set out to learn flipping.”

The story of his practicing the flipping technique in his living room while on winter layoff from his job as a mason is humorous. “I think Shirley was questioning my sanity the whole time,” said Brauer of his wife’s feelings on his practicing indoors. “I would set up one of her plants in the corner of the room and practice flipping with a jig; by the end of the winter, the plant had no foliage left and the wall had no paint left.”

That is the Brauer way: all in, no holding back. It was the same when it came to the application of the technique on the water. “A buddy of mine and I went out on Pawnee Lake in Lincoln, Neb. to learn about flipping in his bass boat,” Brauer said they chose his friend’s boat because it was more stable than his aluminum john boat. “We took off from the ramp and drove into the middle of the first bunch of willow bushes we could find. We caught four bass that day, all of them in the two pound class; I was hooked on flipping immediately.”

For a man who has had lucrative endorsement deals with major multinational firms and manufacturers, his first flipping stick is one that he treasures, and still owns to this day; it has seen the battles and has the scars to prove it. “My first flipping rod was a Bass Pro Shops Dabbler, if I remember correctly,” he said that a friend help him keep that rod in working order. “I broke that thing so many times, and a friend of mine would epoxy other rod tubes inside of it so I could keep using it. It was basically a solid bottom end by the time I retired it, but it’s where I got my start.”

Brauer is largely responsible for the evolution if flipping into pitching, and like so many innovations, was one of necessity. “We moved to Missouri, where I started fishing Table Rock and other clear water lakes, and you couldn’t get close enough to the boat houses and trees to flip, so I had to adjust,” he said he’s used it ever since. “I rarely ever flip in the purest sense of the word anymore, it’s usually a pitch, or some sort of hybrid flip / pitch, but I’ve been doing it for more than 20 years.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 May 2011 05:18

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