Brauer's creature feature

We've all been there. The most cooperative bass seem to be holding in one area and all of your friends and neighbors have also discovered them. So you're faced with getting in line and rotating through the same area.

In those situations, conventional wisdom recommends downsizing your lures and switching to light line. But Denny Brauer often takes an entirely different approach.

For years, he has countered this challenging situation by breaking out the biggest, ugliest soft plastic creation ever to swim in freshwater. In fact, he calls it his "monster creature."

Brauer begins with a 5-inch Strike King Wild Thang creature bait. Then he inserts an 8- or 9-inch ripple tail-type plastic worm into its tube-like body. The result is a creature that's extra bulky and about 11 or 12 inches in length.

"It was something that I just kind of stumbled on by accident," he explained. "Strike King had the Wild Thing that was designed as a creature bait. It's a good bait just fished the way it was designed to be fished. But I got to thinking one day that I'd like to have even more action in it.

"So I started taking a big action tail-type worm and actually shoving it up inside it. And it almost looked like a monster lizard in the water. I caught good fish on it. I caught quality fish."

Brauer's creation earned him a Top 10 finish during a fall CITGO Bassmaster Open on his home lake of Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

"In certain parts of the country, especially in the fall of the year, it seems like a big bulky bait generates more strikes," he said. "It's almost the reverse of finesse fishing. A lot of these fish are so conditioned to traditional size baits that you can catch them better on something big.

"Let's say somebody goes down a line of boat docks fishing a jig or a tube bait. You can come along behind him with one of these monster creature baits and get strikes just because it's so different."

By matching the color of the worm and creature bait, the modified soft plastic looks like it was manufactured that way. His most productive color has been black neon.

"You don't have to glue it in place because the hook holds the bait after you rig it up," Brauer noted. "You're actually hooking through the tube body of the creature and through the worm before 'skin hooking' it on top."

For best results, Brauer recommends using a 4/0 or 5/0 Mustad tube hook, 20-pound-test monofilament and a 5/16-ounce sinker.

"I fish it just like you would a jig," he added. "In that [Lake of the Ozarks] tournament, I was catching them off boat docks and bluffs — just pitching it against the bluff, letting it free fall to the bottom, giving it a couple of pumps and swimming it back in. Most of the strikes occur on the drop, and I think that's because of all of the action it has."

Brauer's latest option is Strike King's new 10-inch 3X Iguana when he wants to go even bigger.