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BUZZBAIT

    Buzzbaits are not versatile lures. Most of the time, buzzbaits are not even the most logical lure to have on the end of one’s line. They can be fished at only two speeds: fast and faster. Those uninitiated in the delights of buzzin’ might wonder how a lure that is this one-dimensional cracked the top three of GRF’s Top Ten River Lures list. My only response is this: catch a couple bass on a buzzbait and you’ll understand!

    Buzzbaits simply draw the most ferocious strikes of any bass lure, and for some reason, buzzbaits seem to attract larger fish. GRF has flung buzzbaits all over the state and found them most effective in the largemouth-dominated waters of the Piedmont and Coastal Plain. Rivers in these parts of the state tend to be slow, meandering and woody- a perfect recipe for buzzin’!

    The buzzbait is a topwater lure shaped similarly to a safety-pin style spinnerbait. Most buzzbaits sink rather than float, and must be worked rapidly to keep them on the surface. Buzzbaits make a distinctive chopping clatter when retrieved, and bass seem to strike them out of pure anger. When bass are active, there is no lure that is as much fun as a buzzbait!

BEST SEASONS AND SITUATIONS

    Buzzbaits are more effective for largemouths than any other type of bass. Largemouths are less reluctant than any other type of black bass to rise all the way to the surface and smack a big, noisy lure. For this reason GRF prefers using buzzbaits in central and southern Georgia rivers rather than the spot and redeye-dominated northern streams, although smaller buzzbaits can be pretty effective up north, too. Shoal bass love topwater baits, and buzzbaits are amazingly effective lures in swift shoal water.

    Buzzbaits shine during the coolest parts of the hottest days. Early mornings and late evenings from June to September are the best times for buzzin’ river bass. During these months, temperatures in central and south Georgia rivers are normally above 80 degrees. Being cold-blooded, bass are at their most active these months, feeding often to satisfy their souped-up metabolisms. As most fishermen know, early and late are the best times to get ‘em.

    Though buzzbaits are great early and late during the dog days, there is one other situations in which buzzbaits deserve special mention. Largemouth bass spawn when the water temperature is around 70 degrees, and prespawn and spawning bass will often smack a buzzbait or any other lure if they view it as a threat. If you spot a bass guarding a nest, repeated casts with a buzzbait will often irritate it into striking. If you catch one of these bass, however, do us all a favor and release it quickly so we can catch it’s chillun’.

TIPS AND TECHNIQUES

    One reason the buzzbait is such a wonderful lure is that it is idiot-proof. There’s not a lot you can do with one other than throw it out and reel it back in across the surface. One way to improve your chances, however, is with accurate casting. Largemouth bass will normally not chase lures too far from their lair, so anglers need to stick buzzbaits as close to cover as possible. I like to cast the lure onto the bank or onto a log and maximize the time the lure is in the strike zone and minimize the splash. Buzzbait strikes almost always occur within three revolutions of the reel handle.

    Another key to buzzbait fishing is to get the lure on top immediately. I normally start reeling right before the lure hits the water. The fact that the hook rides up and the lure stays above underwater obstacles keeps hangups to a minimum. Buzzbaits, by their nature, have to be fished fairly quickly, but most anglers fish them too fast. A good rule of thumb is to keep the lure moving just fast enough to keep it on the surface.

My biggest shoalie ever captured on film. This big boy nailed a chartreuse buzzbait and nearly tore my arm off. 

    A common complaint about buzzbaits is the number of missed strikes. Part of this is unavoidable- buzzbaits move pretty fast and sometimes bass just miss them. I’d never miss a duck if I shot them on the water! Still, many missed strikes can be avoided if you wait until you actually feel the bass rather than setting the hook when you see the water explode. Some anglers use trailer hooks, but these often lead to more hang-ups, and I would rather miss a few fish than waste fishing time getting unsnagged.

    I also like to use buzzbaits as a "wild-card" lure. During a steamy summer day when bass are hitting nothing, I like to put on a buzzbait and just cruise down the river casting to likely spots. The logic here is that if the fish won’t eat what they are supposed to be eating, maybe they will get riled up and eat something they aren’t. Besides, buzzbaits allow an angler cover a heck of a lot more water than slower presentations. The more casts you make, the more likely you are to find that one bass in the river that feels like eating. Chances are good that that one bass won’t be a small one!

    Buzzbaits come in a wide variety of colors, styles, and sizes. For largemouths, 1/4 to 1/2 ounce baits are best. A few manufacturers make 1/8 ounce models, and these work well for spots, shoalies, and redeyes. Since buzzbaits draw reaction strikes, color really doesn’t matter, but I normally use chartreuse because it stands out in dingy water. Some manufacturers make buzzbaits with clackers for added noise or with holes in the blade for extra water disturbance. Some buzzbaits are made to float or have "triple-wings" that allow them to be fished slower. All of these lures catch fish- ANGRY fish!

 

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