It may be winter now, but Buzzbait season is just around the corner. Buzzbaits are designed to be fished on the surface in a straight line retrieve, leaving a trail of bubbles and froth. Letting the lure to slide under the surface or fishing it with pauses that allow it to sink is not considered to be the right way to fish it.
But while fishing buzzbaits under the surface is an unexpected , non-standard retrieve, it’s not that outlandish if you stop and think about it. The fact that the Buzzbait has a single or double propeller blade, in contrast to the underwater spinnerbait’s various blades, is no reason to keep the top half of it dry or to keep it moving the whole time.
While I use to retrieve it in a straight line, I have since found that often you can do well by using a slow underwater retrieve with pauses, just like a crankbait or spinnerbait. With each pause, the blade stops turning and the buzzbait sinks slightly, the blade turning as the bait falls, the skirt flaring and the curved tail grub curling and waving in the water. In addition to the underwater retrieve, other retrieves are possible and effective. One is a variation of the underwater retrieve: using the surface retrieve across scattered weedbeds like lily pads, slowing down the buzzbait and dropping it into holes in the weeds where bass are likely to miss the lure.
The best technique is to have the lure moving fast enough over the weeds to keep it on the surface without hanging up in pads or vegetation, but allowing it to drop into large holes in the weed cover. Now since any buzzbait dropped into a hole must be planned up to get on top again, you should pick a large enough hole because a small hole won’t allow this. Tackle and technique also are important. When working an underwater retrieve where you want to get the lure back to the surface, a long, stiff rod is a must. With the stiffer rod, rod movement will move the lure. Any extra length allows leveling the lure to the surface when holding the rod high to plane it up. Rods of about 7 feet are great. Shorter rods don’t have the length advantage to uphold the line and control the buzzbait.
The right fishing line also helps. The low stretch braided lines are ideal since any action with the rod creates an immediate reaction in the lure.
The one problem with buzzbaits is that when they’re cast, they sink immediately. To solve this problem, begin to retrieve before the buzzbait hits the water so that the lure is moving at the start of the retrieve, Using a buzzbait involves nothing more than the normal action of it across the surface of a weedbed, but using a long rod and working the lure in a zig-zag pattern back to the boat should put fish in your livewell.
Another way to put fish in your livewell is to use a standard buzzbait retrieve and run it into as much surface structure as possible. Making the buzzbait hit stumps will make bass take a look and strike, just run the bait at an angle so it will hit the structure but not hang up. When it hits the structure give it a little pause like it’s stunned by the blow. But make it a short pause because the lure will start to sink. You can use other methods to work the Buzzbait but require a slight modification to the lure. One is to bend the lower arm wire so that it is at a slight angle. This technique allows the Buzzbaits blade to churn on the surface while the body and skirt are lower in the water. This setup allows for more solid strikes, because the body and skirt are more visible in the water and are more likely to be inhaled by an ambushing bass.
When a bass strikes short when attacking the lure you’ll need a trailer hook, and trim the skirt so that it is not so long, or use a small grub as a trailer attractor or you can remove the trailer all together.