2011 Elite Series - Diamond Drive Arkansas River - Little Rock, AR, Jun 9 - 12, 2011

It's been a good year!

James Overstreet
Denny Brauer may not expect to win as often as he did when he was younger, but his competition never ignores him.

About the author

Denny Brauer

Denny Brauer

In the Master Series on flippin', bass fishing legend Denny Brauer shows you all you need to know to catch bass on this seminal technique.

All of this is a good feeling, needless to say. The guaranteed Bassmaster Classic spot is nice. I really appreciate it, but it’s not everything. My goal is to double-qualify so that someone else gets a chance to go. That’s really important to me.

Every Elite Series angler out there wants to go to the Classic. If I can double-qualify, that’ll help someone else. That’s what this sport is all about as far as I’m concerned. We all need to have some success if bass fishing as a whole is to be successful.

The older I get the more I appreciate things like that. I have the perspective of three decades in professional bass fishing. I know — really know — what it means to fish a Bassmaster Classic ... and to win one. It’s a powerful influence on your attitude and your career.

It seems like when I was in the prime of my career, I thought I’d win tournaments. It’s not so much that I expected to win them or that I took winning for granted, just that I thought I’d always win a few more.

But when you’re on the tail end of things, you have a different perspective. You understand in your heart that winning is hard, that it’s not going to happen every time out. In fact, you realize — or at least I did — that even being in a position to win should be cherished. It doesn’t happen that often.

I thought I could pull it out at Pickwick this year, but it didn’t work out that way. I ended up in third place. I guess that’s what I’m trying to say. It’s a tough business we’re in. I appreciate every opportunity I’m given. This one worked out. I’m thankful for that. It really is awesome.

My last win was in 2006 on Lake Champlain. That’s a while between wins.

Something else needs to be said here, too. The rule allowing every tournament winner to go to the Classic is a good one. I like it. There’s no better way to keep everyone in the game. You have some guys who are having a bad year. They haven’t cashed a check in any tournament. That’s a difficult position to be in.

But they can still make the Classic, if they can win one. That’s a real motivator. It keeps you thinking positive until the very last tournament — if you’re fishing the Opens that’s not until October on Table Rock.

We’ll see that new rule have a big effect on the fishing at Wheeler this week. A lot of the guys will be swinging for the fences. It could be an exciting tournament. Almost anyone can win if things go their way. Don’t kid yourself; almost every guy out there knows how to catch bass ... and how to win.