In comparison to the previously discussed chatterbait, the buzzbait is nowhere near as versatile. With this in mind, when the buzzbait does work, it really works. In the right circumstances the buzzbait can easily blow any other type of bait right out of the water and it’s an important part of any angler’s repertoire.
How to fish a buzzbait?
Due to its lack of versatility, it is incredibly important to really understand when and where to use a buzzbait and when not to. To understand this, I believe before we can discuss how to fish a buzzbait it is important to understand how one works.
Unlike many other kinds of bait, the buzzbait is only really used within shallow regions of water and should remain on the top of the water while being retrieved. While other lures use shiny reflective surfaces or different colors and rely on the fish’s sense of sight, the buzzbait works almost entirely by creating massive vibrations and disturbances in the water. The fish detect this though a special sense organ called the lateral line system. This allows fish to kind of use the water as an extension of their nervous system and feel, through the water, at a distance.
(Learn more about how the buzzbait was created in this previous post: Best Bass Lures Of All Time)
How to catch more bass with a buzzbait?
Now let’s talk about the buzzbait itself. You’ll want to add a trailer to it. There’s not really a bad trailer, almost any trailer is a plus with buzzbait. Your trailer should match the color and the size of the bait fish in the water, if you’re fishing near shad use a white or Chartreuse trailer for example.
Another really important thing when fishing with buzzbait is to add a trailer hook. Because the buzzbait often moves pretty quick you’re going to get a lot of bites that may just miss the main bait. Add a trailer hook onto your rig and you’ll really cut down on missed opportunities. Something in the region of 2 or 3/0 will be a great match.
Choosing a buzzbait isn’t too hard, I’d pick up a white and a black War Eagle Buzzbait. For just under 5 bucks a pop you’ll really be getting your money’s worth here. I suggest using the black one by default as it will out-perform the white 9 times out of 10.
However, when the shad go on bite you’ll definitely want to switch right on over to that white one. The black is great because it keeps a nice small profile in the water and really invites the bass to bite. You’re going to be catching most of your fish on the black ones.
When to throw a buzzbait?
Buzzbaits are a topwater lure. When fishing with a buzzbait you want to throw it whenever you would throw a topwater lure. Primarily when bass are in shallow water and when they are actively feeding. Frogs work well when fishing heavy cover.
Because of the vibrations that Buzzbaits give off when being retrieved makes them especially well at night. Bass feel more comfortable at night and will travel further to eat a buzzbait. Because these lures work so well and due to the fact bass feel more comfortable you will get catch bigger bass at night.
During summer the best times to use it are either very early on in the morning before the sun rises or late in the afternoon, as it’s setting. This is the time of day that the water starts to cool down and the bass will move from the deeper waters to feed in the shallows.
During the fall the bass will spend a lot more of the time, almost the entire day, in more shallow parts of the water and because of this you can use the buzzbait throughout the day. The buzzbait is especially great during fall because there will be a lot of activity from bait fish swimming along the top of the water column and jumping up into the air, the buzzbait is amazing at imitating bait fish and you’ll be getting plenty of strikes during this period.
How to make a buzzbait work for you.
Now that you know how it works, let’s learn about how to fish a buzzbait.
Buzzbait will get caught up in weeds and tangle, this will absolutely destroy the action of the bait for that cast. Fortunately for us this shouldn’t happen all too often as the bait should be running smoothly over the top of the water.
Cast out far and try to get the line cast out parallel to the shore in water that’s below 5’. As soon as your bait hits the water you need to start cranking. This is where you’ll get a lot of your strikes, right after the bait hits the water, so you’ll want to hit it moving. In fact, many of the best anglers swear by starting the retrieve before the bait even hits the water.
Now, there are two competing beliefs on how fast you want to retrieve the lure.
Some people believe that you want to be winding as slow as you can while still keeping it on top of the water and others think that you should burn it and make the retrieve as fast as possible.
I personally like to start off slow and work my way, cast by cast, up to burning the bait, doing this until I find a speed that they seem to be biting at. This is another case where you need to be wary of what’s happening around you, if it’s cold and the fish are less active go a bit slower. If it’s warm and the fish are nice and lively, maybe burning the bait right away is your best bet.
Let’s talk about equipment..
For buzzbait you need to be able to keep that bait running through the water at a speed fast enough to keep it on the top. So, I recommend going with a pretty high-speed reel. Something like a Lew’s Tournament MG Speed Spoolis absolutely perfect. If you’re not going to go for this reel, you’ll need another fast reel with at least a 6:8 gear ratio.
Picking a rod to work well with this lure is also really important. You want something that’s got a tough enough backbone to really take control of bigger fish but something that’s got a soft enough tip to cast far and allow you to sink that lure right in. 7’ is about just about right for a rod like this, any smaller and you won’t be casting far enough, any larger and you won’t be casting accurately.
When it comes to fishing with buzzbaits one thing is certain. Buzzbaits catch bass, big bass. So get out there put to practice what you have learned here and catch some big fish.