There are a handful of baits regarded by professional bass anglers as big bass baits. In most cases their top three are, in no particular order: the swim bait, a jig, and a buzz bait. It takes special locations and water conditions to fish swim baits, so it’s not very popular among the everyday angler. A jig is basic and fished a variety of ways. Although, for some reason a jig intimidates anglers and they shy away from them. Buzz baits, though, are simply cast and retrieve. However, just like any bass fishing bait, the sales market has made the buzz bait confusing with an overwhelming amount of options. To get started fishing buzz baits there are only three decisions to make, what size, what color, and retrieve speed.
I like to cover water with buzz baits. Any time a buzz bait is on the surface it’s liable to be crushed by a big bass. To improve the number of strikes, use long casts and contact as many objects on the surface of the water as possible in a single retrieve. Using a 3/8 ounce buzz bait, I’ll make long casts along vegetation, around boat docks, or through standing timber. When the wind gets high, or wave action is strong, I will tie on a ½ ounce version to help with casting distance and control.
I use three different color baits exclusively; white, chartreuse, and purple. Water clarity will determine which color I throw: white in clear water, chartreuse in stained water, purple in muddy water. Occasionally I will consider predominant forage in my color choice. If the shad are spawning, I will stick with white; if the water is extremely muddy, then I’ll use a chartreuse version. When I believe bluegill are the primary forage, I’ll use purple, even in clear water.
Retrieve buzz baits as slow as possible and still maintain the bait on the surface making noise. Things like wind, wave action, and thickness of vegetation can require a faster retrieve to maintain surface commotion. There are times when an angler needs to speed up the retrieve in order to generate a reflex strike. I’ve found a faster retrieve can be more effective during high-pressure periods after a weather front. Bass don’t feed well in these conditions, but will strike a buzz bait because they don’t have time to think about it.
Tricks to Success:
– Just like with any surface lure, wait until you feel the bass before setting the hook. After a missed strike, keep the retrieve steady; many times if a bass misses on the first strike they will try again. Don’t jerk the bait away from the bass until you’re certain he has the buzz bait.
– Be the first angler of the season to start fishing buzz baits. When the water temp is on a steady climb above 55 degrees, a buzz bait is a serious contender.
– Cast past a likely target and give the rod tip a snap as the bait contacts the target, this will generate a reaction strike.
– When the bite slows down, speed up the retrieve, sometimes moving a bait faster will generate reaction strikes.
– Let the buzz bait flutter/fall after contacting cover. This falling action imitates injured bait fish.
Keep it simple! With the variety of different buzz baits on the market, an angler can get caught up in all the neat fish “catching” features manufacturers have added to buzz baits. Anglers can find double-bladed, colored blades, counter-rotating blades, and even clacker versions when looking at down the buzz bait isle of a tackle store. I have caught more bass on a white 3/8 ounce single blade buzz bait than I have all other versions put together. If you want to set a new personal record this bass season, spend some time casting a buzz bait.