Some folks are just good folks. I put Shirley and Denny Brauer at the top of that list. They are people good people gravitate towards. They are in a class by themselves, and simply said, just plain good folks. They have a great family, are wonderful grandparents, and to me, define what hard work, dedication and effort can produce.
This past week, I took Denny and Shirley up on an opportunity to come to their home for a visit. They had been after me for years to make the sojourn to Camdenton and spend a day or two. After every telephone call, Denny would say, “When are you coming down and going fishing with me?” I finally took him up on it.
Denny and Shirley epitomize the American Dream to me. They are much more than husband and wife, grandma and grandpa or mom and dad. They are best friends. Denny is always on top of his game from a “jab-before-you-get-jabbed” perspective, and Shirley aptly puts him in his place when he needs it.
To most of us as anglers, Denny is a hero. To me, he is a loyal friend I can count on to stand up for me, recommended me at times and who I have looked up to for years. I like the way he handles himself, and the way he fishes. I love how Shirley handles Denny and how much she cares for her family. It runs much deeper than that though. They are like peanut butter and jelly, like ice cream and cake, two peas in a pod. They should have been on a Norman Rockwell painting.
Enjoying their company and talking about the outdoors with them is why I got into this business. They love fishing, and they love the outdoors. Their passion runs deep, and it’s contagious. Being around them gets me fired up to do my job better. It’s not about trophies to them, it’s about lifestyle and doing things right the first time. Even when they are busy, they always have time for fans and the sport, and we all need to take a lesson from them. They are very special folks.
I have spent time on the water with Denny before, but this trip was special. It was just he and I, and his time was my time. I got to ask the details, the nitty gritty, the things that I really wanted to know to help me and my fishing. Everything from launching his Ranger Boat to why he rigs a bait the way he does. He answered every one of my questions.
Denny is an expert at patterning fish, and that day he did it after a single dock. The third dock of the day, he caught a 12-incher, and it clued him to where the fish were holding, what depth, what side of what dock. He knew every dock that would hold a fish. He changed up a lot during the day with bait selection but utilized baits the fish told him he should be throwing.
Denny is Strike King through and through, and he exudes confidence with their products. He flipped a Denny Brauer jig teamed with a Rage Tail Craw trailer and also flipped a Rodent Perfect Plastic creature bait. He talked about rate of fall and line selection. He talked about tungsten versus lead. He also showed me how to use the Ardent F700 Denny Brauer Signature Series reel and what makes it better. He picked every dock apart and he never missed a lick. If a bass sniffed on his selection they got a boat ride. A sweet time that there isn’t enough money to pay for.
The beauty in this trip is I filmed it all, and readers of Wired2Fish will get to ride along with us. Every detail, every bait selection and every fish, all caught on video. In upcoming days, we will begin the journey of a day on Denny’s lake, Lake of the Ozarks, and you get to ride along with us. No fish were staged, and everything is spelled out. We hope you will enjoy these segments as much as I enjoyed my day with Denny.
Denny and Shirley, you have a fan for life. Thanks for being friends of Wired2Fish and friends of this industry. You are why I am here.