Buzzbaits are a topwater lure commonly used for bass fishing. These lures are great, and should be used more often than they usually are. Hopefully my experiences will get your buzzbait back in the water a little more.
For a quick review, topwater bass fishing is best in warm, shallow water in the mornings and evenings – when fish are most active. There are many kinds of topwaters, some subtle, some not so subtle. Buzzbaits are on the liberal side of the spectrum, used more for active fish. Topwater fishing is my favorite way to fish for bass, but if not executed correctly it can be a miserable failure. I suggest studying up on the fishing reports for the particular lake to see how the fish are “feeling”. If fishing is slow, I’d suggest not using topwater baits. If fishing is marginal to good, topwater baits will work just fine. On sunny days, topwaters are only good in the morning and evenings (the sun makes fish go deeper). If there are clouds out and it is still warm, fish usually stay in the shallows or roam all day making topwaters a great choice!
The Reaction Strike
Buzzbaits are reserved for very active fish who are willing to chase down big, noisy baits. However, the way I use a buzzbait often gets me reactions strikes as soon as the bait hits the water. A reaction strike is a bass hitting the lure without even thinking, a knee-jerk reaction. I will often toss a buzzbait in shallow, tightly packed structure and get hit as soon as the bait touches the surface. Think of a buzzbait like a pitching jig, but topwater style. In the shallows the difference between a jig and a buzzbait becomes fairly small, because the depth is only 2-4′ anyways.
Over the years, bass learn. They learn what is fake and what is real. They become more discriminating. This fish evolution generally does not bode well for fishing, but fishermen always keep changing their presentations to be on top of the game. Buzzbaits are a way to combat this hesitant, discriminating fish because you don’t give the bass time to think. Sure, many fish have seen buzzbaits and probably been caught on them. But a big, noisy buzzbait practically landing on a fish’s head is going to get a thoughtless, evolved, knee-jerk, reaction strike. Bass have evolved to sometimes strike before all other thoughts, and buzzbaits can capitalize on this built-in evolutionary response. In essence, the buzzbait as it churns water on the surface doesn’t give the bass a good look at it–and by default, the fish strikes.
Many experienced fishermen have a “search bait” that they fan-cast and use to find active fish. My “search bait” is the buzzbait, this uncanny lure is very diverse. I pitch it, I fan-cast, I’ll let it dive a little, the possibilities are endless. Staying ahead of the fish is the key to good fishing. Maybe an uncanny buzzbait presentation is the winning ticket, for me it certainly has been.
This buzzbait technique is just one of dozens of weird/wacky presentations that work. Have any other off-the-wall techniques that work well for bass? I’d love to hear them, write them below in the comments!
Photo: © iStockphoto.com/Mark Herreid