Buzzbaits 101: Session #1 of
By: Dennis Bryant "Fishing-Professor"
WHAT they are: Buzzbaits are those darned,
fast moving, noisy, surface splashing, peace disturbing, squeaky,
fish attracting, sputtery, antagonizing, clicky-clacky, nightmarish,
(did I say fish catching yet?) pieces of wire, aluminum, plastic,
and steel; that bring huge fish from 50 yards away, right up
close, to see just what the heck's going on in their own living-room!
Buzzbaits have got to be considered as, and
have got to be fished the same way as Topwater Baits! A
buzzbait is a true top-water lure! It is designed to ride at
the water's surface (or just beneath it), and make as much noise,
and to kick up as much water as is possible. Buzzbaits draw
a reflex strike from Bass, as well as other predatory fish.
Most anglers new to fishing top-water
lures; have a natural 'knee-jerk' reaction to their first top-water
strike. Set the hook immediately! Don't do it! Just like
every other top-water lure that you would normally use, never
attempt to set the hook on a buzzbait (or on any top-water lure)
until you actually feel the weight of the fish on the end of the
line. A sure-fire way to miss that 'fish of a lifetime' is to
pull the lure away from it when you see the strike coming (and,
believe me, most of the time, you will!). Let the fish itself
determine when to set the hook. You'll loose far fewer that way!
Buzzbaits have got to be one of the
worst of baits, and still be one of the best fishing lures, readily
available to the fishing-public today. In the hands of an individual
that is an inexperienced, or first-time user; who is totally unaware
of the 'horrific', 'mind-blowing', arm breaking, surface erupting,
and still, totally beautiful strikes, that these lures draw; using
a buzzbait could mean an almost certain heart attack! I don't
think I've ever seen a single other lure in my lifetime; that
caused such a "love/hate" relationship with so many different
anglers! I also don't know of a single other lure that is used
in the pursuit of Bass today; that has LOST more possible
trophy fish for an angler, than a buzzbait! I include myself in
this number as well!
Time-Out, ----- Flashback!!
I was fishing an individual-draw cash-tournament in North-Central
Indiana about ten years ago this August. It was mid-morning (about
8 AM). The haze on the water had just lifted. And, it looked like
it was going to be another beautiful late-summer day. I'd picked
up on a near-shore weed-pattern earlier in the week; and it looked
like it was going to pay off today as well. My drawn boat-partner
and I, both had a couple of 'decent fish' in our 'live-wells'
already; and the tournament was only an hour old! We'd just finished
fishing a weed-bed that was situated on a short rocky point, when
I noticed a small, shallow, weed-choked cove just around the corner
from the point. The cove couldn't have been more than 50 yards
across, and about another 50 yards to the back of it. Maybe 3
feet deep, with 'wall-to-wall weeds'. The only visible structure
there, were two old, dilapidated, and long unused boathouses situated
on the closer shore. They were separated by what must have been
an old wooden break-wall that the years had not been very kind
to. I just had to wake up the neighborhood! I made a LONG cast
to the closest boathouse, and landed my buzzbait just inside of
the open door, right at the edge of the shadow! I don't think
that I had turned the reel handle a complete revolution on the
retrieve, before the water literally exploded! That bass knocked
my buzzbait four feet straight up in the air - out of the water!
But, it never felt the hook! I couldn't believe that it didn't
take the lure and run with it! All it did was throw it out of
his living room because it aggravated him! For a half hour, we
both went after that fish with everything on board but the kitchen
sink; but couldn't get it to respond again. Whew! Glad that
Flashback is over! Back To The Subject!
That day I learned the true meaning
of a love/hate relationship! You know; even though I've been fishing
for more than a half century now, I'll never forget that single
event in my life! Would you like to know the color or kind of
the weeds in that cove? Or which of the boards were missing from
the wooden break-wall between the boathouses? How about the color
& size of the buzzbait? Or where the sun was, as it shone through
the willows at the edge of that boathouse? I can tell you the
answer to each of those questions. But, why the fish wasn't hooked?
That, I couldn't even begin to explain! There was just never a
weight at the end of the line to set the hook on! I can't say
why! I can tell you what I used as a follow-up lure, when I quickly
dropped that rod after that Bass missed the lure. I can tell you
all about the other three fish we pulled out of that cove (all
on buzzbaits). I can tell you that my boat placed the #1 & #2
money-spots for that day's tournament. But, I sure can't tell
you why I didn't weigh in that one BIG FISH that day! But, that's
the nature of the beast!
TYPES OF BUZZBAITS
Now we get to the most confusing
part of this article: Lure description. A buzzbait is a buzzbait,
is a buzzbait! How's that? That's actually a pretty honest conception
of them! Buzzbaits are divided into two classes; Inline & Weight-Below.
The classifications only describe the relation of the weight &
hook, to the blade. There are so many possible variations on those
two classifications, that it would make your head swim!
INLINE BUZZBAITS - There are
jointed, raised, dropped, and rotating styles of inline buzzbaits
currently in vogue, and available for purchase by the general
public. And, as with every lure design on the market today; some
work, and, some don't Inline buzzbaits were initially designed
to go places that a weight-below buzzbait couldn't, and still
catch fish! A well-designed inline buzzbait can be fished in as
little as a couple of inches of water. (Half of the depth of the
blade, minimum.) The drawback? Keeping the hook in a vertical
position for the hook-set! Most inline buzzbaits can't do that
because there is nothing to act as a stabilizer. Especially if/when
they touch weeds or grasses. They lean. Then they snag. Then the
angler gets mad. Then the lure goes into the bottom of the tackle-box,
and it's never used again. And, that's a real crime!
They ARE an extremely effective bait,
IF, they're designed right, and IF, they're fished
in the manner that they were designed to be fished. (Long-distance
cast. Begin the retrieve before the lure touches the water.
Retrieve at a speed ONLY fast enough for the blade to keep churning
up the surface. And, Keep The Rod-Tip High During The Entire
Retrieve!) Follow those instructions, and even a poorly made
inline buzzbait can produce fish for you regularly.
WEIGHT-BELOW BUZZBAITS - This
is the most common style of buzzbait currently in use today! During
my bait-store visits, and catalog browsing this year; I've counted
twenty-four 'weight-below' variations that are available to the
general public, and two more new styles limited to 'PRO Clients'.
Most are from 1/8 oz. to 1/2 oz. in weight.
There are twin-arm baits, with counter-rotating
blades. (These actually run in a straight line during a retrieve.
The ONLY buzzbait that does!) Long-arm/high riser baits, with
BIG blades (designed to be retrieved at a slower rate of speed).
Short-arm/short riser baits, with
very small blades (designed to be 'ripped' across the surface.
Usually available only in a small 1/8 oz. size.) Baits with 'clacker-blades'
on the riser that hit the main blade to make even more noise.
Baits with more that one blade (front-to-back, or, one blade inside
another, or even two-piece blades).
Baits with Brass blades, or Aluminum
blades, or Plastic Blades, all with 2-3-or-4 edges to the blades,
colored blades, colored wires, rattles added, etc., etc., etc.
You get the idea.
Most lure-makers offer one or maybe
even two styles of weight-below buzzbaits; and then throw in a
few variations in colors, skirts, weights, and blade types to
Next Session, Buzzbaits 101:
Session #2 of 2 We'll cover the WHERE, WHEN, & HOW, TO FISH A
Dennis Bryant- Contact me with your
questions or comments at TheFishingProfessor@bassonhook.com