Browning in Bally Bet AOY Mix By Fishing His Strengths - Major League Fishing
Browning in Bally Bet AOY Mix By Fishing His Strengths
4m • Tyler Brinks • Bass Pro Tour
ANTHONY GAGLIARDI: Scale Your Fall Offerings to the Size of the Baitfish
3d • Anthony Gagliardi • Angler Columns
RANDY HOWELL: The Small Details That Will Help You Land More Topwater Bites
5d • Randy Howell • Bass Pro Tour
VanDam Goes to NASCAR’s Victory Lane
1w • Alan McGuckin • Angler News
Who’s In & Who’s Out? Heavy Hitters Field Set for 2023
1w • Mason Prince • Bass Pro Tour
MLF Unveils Schedule, Details for 2023 Bass Pro Tour
1w • MLF • Bass Pro Tour
PATTERN INSIDE THE PATTERN: Connell Strategized, Studied His Way to Win on Mille Lacs
1w • Dave Landahl • Bass Pro Tour
Elam’s Knack for Mille Lacs Pays Off in Third Top Five in Three Tournaments
1w • Luke Stoner • Bass Pro Tour
TOP 10 BAITS & PATTERNS: How the Best Caught ‘em at Mille Lacs Lake Bass Pro Tour Finale
1w • Tyler Brinks • Bass Pro Tour
MY BEST BAIT: Randy Howell’s Best All-Purpose Bait is the Yamamoto Senko
1w • Bass Pro Tour
With 2022 Bass Pro Tour Season in the Rearview, VanDam Looks Back on “Extreme” Conditions
2w • Luke Stoner • Bass Pro Tour
2w • Bass Pro Tour
MLF Issues Updated Statement on Minnesota DNR Violations at Stage Seven on Mille Lacs Lake
2w • MLF • Bass Pro Tour
Dustin Connell Earns his Third 2022 Bass Pro Tour Win
2w • Bass Pro Tour
Connell Goes Back-to-Back on Mille Lacs, Clinches Third Win in 2022
2w • Mason Prince • Bass Pro Tour

Browning in Bally Bet AOY Mix By Fishing His Strengths

Image for Browning in Bally Bet AOY Mix By Fishing His Strengths
Mercury pro Stephen Browning has built his Bass Pro Tour résumé by sticking to the things he knows best. Photo by Josh Gassmann. Angler: Stephen Browning.
May 23, 2022 • Tyler Brinks • Bass Pro Tour

Now in the fourth season of the Bass Pro Tour and its “every scorable fish counts” format, there have been more than enough tournaments to analyze which anglers have made the smoothest transition from a five-biggest-fish format. There have been a handful of standouts with multiple wins (hello, Jacob Wheeler, Ott DeFoe and Jordan Lee), but there are also several anglers who remain steady with quality finishes more times than not.

One angler who has clearly hit his stride is Arkansas pro Stephen Browning.

Browning finished 22nd in Angler of the Year points in 2019 and 34th in 2020 – qualifying for the first two REDCREST events – and then jumped to sixth in AOY in 2021, earning Top 10s at Lake Travis and Lake Chickamauga. The Mercury pro currently sits ninth in the 2022 Bally Bet AOY race, is fresh off a fourth-place finish at Lake of the Ozarks and a Top 10 showing at Heavy Hitters at Lake Palestine, and is the proud owner of the 2022 Patriot Cup trophy.

He’s done at all sticking to a very basic philosophy – fish your strengths.

In Browning’s case, that means fishing shallow with a Z-Man Evergreen Jack Hammer ChatterBait, a strategy that he adheres to just about everywhere he goes, no matter the fishery or time of year.

Shallow-Water Comfort Zone

Browning readily admits that he prefers to fish shallow. It’s a zone that he settled comfortably into while growing up in Arkansas, and he’s maintained the same mindset throughout his career, always seeking out places that fit his style.

“I started out fishing the lower Arkansas River and it’s usually always shallow; river systems, in general, will be shallower fishing than reservoirs no matter where you live,” Browning said. “That’s why I still run upriver a lot of the time and try to get off the beaten path. My comfort zone is up a river and in shallow water, and I’ve learned that these areas will always hold some residential fish.”

When he arrives at a fishery for a Bass Pro Tour event, Browning has already scoped out several areas he plans to explore, with locations, depths, and cover that suit him.

“When I back my boat in the water, I’ll already have a half-dozen places in mind with areas that fit what I like to do,” he said. “Most of it will be areas where I can throw a ChatterBait in the grass, fish a shallow crankbait around wood, or pitch a tube or Z-Man ZinkerZ. When tournaments are tough from fishing pressure, I believe that it always pays to fish your strengths and lures that you have confidence in. I’m a big believer in grinding it out to get bites.”

Find Your Style

Not everyone will stay shallow all day long everywhere they go, and that’s OK. The biggest piece of advice that Browning offers inexperienced tournament anglers is to find what works best for them.

“You have to be comfortable on the water and find what you like doing,” he said. “It may be fishing out deep and you’d rather use a Carolina rig instead of a crankbait because you can feel the bottom better. You don’t have to listen to the ‘dock talk’ and try to fish what’s working for everyone else.”

Browning believes confidence stems from comfort, and it also improves efficiency.

“If you’re not catching them right away, you’re going to change baits more frequently and you could miss out on the bite,” he said. “I learned a long time ago that having fewer rods on the deck is what works for me. I stick with what I know and how I like to fish.”