It has been quite some time since I have thrown a buzzbait. Years ago, I used to use them quite extensively — but ever since I discovered swimbaits, I have somewhat neglected the buzzbait. That may have been a mistake.
There is one thing about a buzzbait that you just can’t deny: It makes a heckuva commotion as it is worked back to the boat. Depending on the particular buzzbait you are using, these things can make more noise on the surface of the water than most hard topwaters. So when I found myself fishing last weekend in rainy conditions, I decided to pull the old buzzer out of the tackle storage box and give it a go.
Buzzbaits are a bit like spinnerbaits. The lower part is usually a rubber-skirted jig, and the jig is connected by a wire frame to a blade above it. But while spinnerbait blades are designed to flash and thump underwater, a buzzbait blade is meant to make a racket at the surface of the water.
Like spinnerbaits, buzzbaits come in so many different shapes, sizes, blade configurations and trailing options that it can be difficult to determine which one will work the best for your fishing needs. I have many different options. I have the single buzzer in both two- and three-blade versions. I have the double buzzer, which has two buzzers side by side. And for trailers, I have the standard skirts as well as a frog body on a long extended shaft behind the buzzer blade.
My favorite tends to be the long-shafted model with two blades on the buzzer and a frog in tow. As much as I love using the swimbait in the lily pads, that buzzbait makes a tremendous amount of noise at the surface. In heavier weather, bass can really home on the sound. This past weekend I raised six bass on the buzzbait compared to two on the swimbait. However, I only managed to catch two of the bass on the buzzer and none on the swimbait.
Conditions were rainy and overcast all day long. I thought the buzzbait would work better due to the rain we were experiencing. The noise from the blades would give the bass something to find, while the swimbait was hidden due to the dark conditions and the fact it makes very little noise, even though I use Gambler swimbait hooks with spinner blades.
The one drawback I found using the buzzbait in that cover was that when the pads got heavy, it would have a tendency to hang up occasionally, but by using it on braided line I was able to get the bait back if that happened. The braided line also allowed me to raise my rod tip to keep the bait up on the surface with a slower retrieve. The slower I moved the bait in that cover, the more strikes it drew.
Due to the cover, though, the strikes were mostly short — almost like the bass were trying to kill the buzzbait rather than eat it. The two bass I managed to catch on the buzzbait hit solid and had the hook firmly lodged in the upper jaw. With the missed strikes, I could literally see the buzz bait being knocked in the air or the water right behind it blowing up.
Using the frog body as a trailer, I did not have the luxury of using a stinger hook that trailed behind the bait. So if the bass missed, there was nothing for them to get hooked by. When I use the skirt as a trailer, I choose a longer one and always use a weedless stinger hook.
The buzzbait can really do damage, especially later in the summer and into and through the fall months. Running that bait around standing cover can lead to some very exciting fishing. This is not the best time of year for a buzzbait, but due to the conditions, I felt like it was a better option than a noiseless surface lure.
If you don’t have any buzzbaits but would like to try them out, I would start out with the two-bladed buzzer with the frog trailer body. Get them with both a silver and a gold blade, and make sure you get frog bodies in both black and white. Those contrasting colors seem to work best with the buzzbait. If your original frog wears out, Zoom makes a great frog body that works exceptionally well. But stick to the black and white colors. They have the best catch rate of all of them.
Don’t be afraid to give this bait a try. Definitely use it on braided line so you can pull it out of the weeds, and keep that bait moving just so it stays up on the surface. If you have never used one before, I can promise you that a buzzbait will provide you some serious entertainment once you get a feel for it.
Greg Bartz is a tournament bass fisherman based in Lakeland. Greg fishes lakes throughout Florida’s Heartland and enjoys RV travel around the Southeast with his wife and tournament partner, Missy. Contact him at Greg.Bartz@SummitHoldings.com.