Fishing buzzbaits just might be the most exciting style of bass fishing there is. They are one of the best topwater lures you can tie on, and any bass fisherman will agree that there is nothing like seeing a bass explode on a topwater lure. But especially a buzzbait, these are fast moving lures so the explosions tend to be bigger and more vicious.
What sets a buzzbait apart from most other topwater lures is that it sinks. To keep a buzzbait on the surface it needs to be in constant motion, meaning once the bait hits the water you need to start reeling immediately and continuously reel until the bait is back to you. They also create a unique sputtering noise that is hard for bass to ignore. In fact, a bass will often swallow one just to shut it up.
Similar to the framework of a spinnerbait, a buzzbait is a bent wire where one end is molded into a jig head. The jig head is dressed with a rubber skirt and the line is tied where the wire bends. What makes it different from a spinnerbait is that instead of a blade it has a propellor that gives the bait lift and keeps it on the surface.
As the lure is retrieved, the hook runs just below the waters surface, while the propellor cuts across the surface making a loud “buzzing” sound. Buzzbaits come in all different styles, sizes, and colors but their function is primarily the same.
This page is all about buzzbaits and how to fish them, but if you’re just looking for a well built and good performing buzzbait then check out the Megastrike Cavitron.
Types of Buzzbaits
When selecting a buzzbait the two most important factors are performance and durability. These fast moving lures take a beating from constantly bumping cover like rocks and wood, and also from the thunderous strikes bass lay on these baits. The lures frame can get bent, props can jam up, and the skirt can get shredded.
When casting in tight areas and small openings in cover, you need that lure perform perfectly so your not wasting casts when you hit these prime targets. That’s why fishing a good buzzbait made by a reputable company is key. A well-built buzzbait will perform consistently and survive the wear and tear it faces when its fished the way it should be fished.
There are three main variations of buzzbaits, and for the most part they all work the same. What makes them different is the amount of noise and surface disruption they put out. Of course a lot of that has to do with the size of the bait too, but if we’re comparing apples for apples as far as sizes, here is the difference:
Single Prop Non-Clacker
This is the original buzzbait design, which dates back to the 1970’s by Lunker Lure Company. This style of buzzbait only has a propellor that spins on the surface. The spinning action creates a “gurgling” noise and some disturbance on the water. This is the least noisy buzzbait style there is, as well as your best choice for calmer waters. Booyah Bait Company makes a great single prop non-clacker call the Pond Magic Buzz.
Single Prop Clacker
Over the years, lure designers started tweaking buzzbaits and thats when the clacker came in to play. A clacker is a small metal piece that hangs on a hinge over the propellor, so as the prop spins the clacker hits the prop making a “clacking” noise. Think of it as like putting in a baseball card in your bike tire spokes. Single prop clackers are the loudest buzzbaits but put out the same disturbance on the water as non clackers. One of the best made single prop clackers is the Booyah Buzz, also made by Booyah Bait Company.
These buzzbaits are self explained by their title, they have two propellors that run parallel along side one another. Of all the different styles of buzzbaits, these create the biggest disturbance on the waters surface. Naturally, they are also twice as loud as a single prop buzzbait. A good example of this style buzzbait is the Double Take Buzzbait made by Strike King.
Selecting The Best Buzzbait
If your just starting out, go with a single prop non-clacker. And go with a smaller size, they get hit a lot more often than larger ones. This will build your confidence in fishing buzzbaits, because at first it can seem like a hopeless effort. Lets face it, its not the most natural looking lure. In addition, its moving so fast that most novices think bass will never be able to catch it.
However, you should always carry a clacker and non-clacker if you plan to throw a buzzbait. If you start the day in flat calm water the single prop non-clacker is going to make plenty of noise for bass to hear it, but if the winds pick up you’ll need more noise to reach the fish in water with more chop on it.
Sometimes more noise in general is what it takes to get bass to strike, while other times its just too loud and they get spooked. It’s really all about trial and error when finding the right buzzbait, thats why its important to have both types.
The double prop buzzbaits are less commonly used by bass fisherman, and although they can be productive, its not imperative that every angler carries one. It’s more of a bait you can add to your arsenal once you are a buzzbait master.
Buzzbaits are mostly used for shallow water fishing, especially in and around cover. The best way to fish them is to cast as close to cover as you can, and hold your rod tip high while reeling in, keeping the lure as close to the surface as possible. Strikes are usually sudden, and explosive so you need to be ready.
A benifit to being such a fast moving lure is that you can cover a lot of water quickly. You can stop on an area and cast to just about every spot in a shorter amount of time than you would with say a rubber worm.
They are a great lure if your night fishing for bass, especially over shallow flats where they like to hunt after dark. You may not see your lure, but you’ll hear a splash, then hopefully a huge tug on your line.
As winter comes to an end the shallow water warms up first and bass will cruise the shallows searching for prey. Running a buzzbait along these structures can cause murderous strikes. In very clear water, use darker colors, and smaller sizes. In murky, or stained water, go for the brighter colors, and bump up the size a bit.
Buzzbaits are for the most part weedless so don’t be shy about tossing them in or around lily pads or other vegetation. In fact, breaks in lily pads is a prime location for a buzzbait and often where bass will explode on it. They are also great for flipping and pitching around cover.
The only downside to fishing buzzbaits is they are often missed by bass. This is common for all topwater lures but especially buzzbaits because they move so quickly and only have one hook. Its important to retrieve the lure at the minimum speed required to propel the prop, making the lure a slower target and easier to strike.
Often times a bass will not try to strike again once it has missed it the first time ,but theres a cool trick that has a high success rate. Try casting a slow moving rubber worm in the area where the lure was missed. That bass is more likely to go after the worm than after the buzzbait again. You can apply this tip to any topwater lure.
Just because the hook up ratio may be lower than other topwater lures it doesn’t mean it should be over looked. Often times bass will prefer to chase loud and fast action over a slower, easier target.