Professional bass angler Chad Brauer grew up fishing under the tutelage of his father, Denny Brauer, one of the most accomplished bass pros of all time. Given his dad's success with a flippin' rod, it's no surprise that Chad's strong suits are flippin' and pitchin'. The Brauer family motto should be President Theodore Roosevelt's diplomatic strategy: Speak softly and carry a big stick.
When Brauer was 12, his parents bought him an aluminum bass boat and parked it at the family dock behind their house on the bank of Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks. Brauer was often out in the boat before and after school. His favorite targets were the lake's many boat docks. He soon learned that these man-made bass hideouts produce fish throughout the year, and he continues to refine tactics for plucking bass from docks in any season.
Brauer's dock fishing skills have helped him in his professional angling career; he pocketed a nice chunk of change at Lake Guntersville, Ala., during a Bassmaster Tour event held in February 2004. The water temperature was a frigid 45 degrees, and the bass were sluggish. Though the bite was slow, Brauer coaxed lunker largemouth from docks with a suspending jerkbait.
His most productive docks were at the mouths of creeks and big coves, and they had 10 to 26 feet of water beneath them. Most of the docks were supported by pilings, but he also caught bass from floating docks in a marina. He would cast or pitch the jerkbait parallel to the side of a dock, work it down 5 feet or more and let it suspend for up to a minute at the outer edge of the dock.