In this video post, Elite Series angler Stephen Browning talks about his 1996 Red Man All-American win on the Arkansas River. He looks back on the event, one that was held essentially in his backyard.
Local knowledge has a history of killing locals in big events like the Bassmaster Classic or FLW Cup. But Browning used his history with the river and knowledge of a pattern that still works at that time of year today as well as it did back then and before.
Browning knew of a creek gut that ran amongst some sand bars that had logs and other debris on the ledges. He didn’t practice in the area for fear that someone else would see him and catch on that the area held fish. The first day he was boat number five in the first flight. Still not wanting anyone to see him, he waited as all the boats from flight one left and then waited for the second flight of boats to leave.
Once the boats had cleared the area, he went over to his logs and a select washing machine that had been placed there by George Cochran in 1994 and immediately started catching fish. By the end of the day he had five good Arkansas River bass in the well that would put him in second place.
The second and last day of competition he woke up to rainy weather – not the best when you’re targeting logs that are barely visible. His first pass produced only one fish and that caused him to get a bit antsy. He made another run back through the gut and caught three more fish, including a 4-pounder he’d lost the day before. With little time left in the day, he made a run to a rip-rap bank and, well, I’ll leave that for you to see on the video.