I know, I know, you’re on edge. Everybody wants your time and all you want to do is spend your time on the water. I guess the person that invented day jobs, honey-do’s, homework, soccer games, T-Ball and dance recitals never cared much for spring time bass fishing. I’m sure a winter full of fishing in the freezing cold rain and catching fish on 2-inch worms in depths greater than 50 feet may have caused a little burnout, too. It’s time to relax, put all the stresses of your daily life behind you and get ready for some of the best fishing (and fun) of the year.
If you haven’t looked around lately, there are “buds on the bush” and bass on the beds. The days are getting longer and the lakes are getting warmer. Most importantly, it’s time to put away the “sissy-sticks,” get out the heavy artillery and get ready for a boatload of top-water thrills.
For the next many months, just about anything in the old and dusty tackle box will catch a bunch of fish but, there are only a few that will increase your odds in catching a really big one … and lots of them.
The Buzzbait has long been one of Americas best selling and consistent big bass catching lures since its introduction back in ... aw, who the heck am I kidding, I have no idea when it was invented and frankly, I don’t care. Some people like to study roots and others just learn to collect the fruit. In other words, you don’t need to know how they work and why, their success has been proven time and time again. There is not a right and wrong technique only our own lack of persistence. Okay, enough of the history lesson, let’s get back to buzz baits.
When you walk into your local tackle shop there are loads of buzz baits to choose from. A buzzbait is a buzzbait, right? Wrong. A big wrong, if you listen to California’s leading money winner Gary Dobyns, and his theory as to what makes a regular buzzbait into a great one. “Most buzzbaits look just like the next one but, I started using Revenge Baits a few years ago and there is not a better built bait, period. They have the best body, paint and components on the market. Their durability is second to none.”
For Gary, bait selection is kept really simple. “For Spotted Bass, a white buzz bait is all I need. I’ll always add a trailer hook and rarely use a clacker. For Largemouth, it’s just the opposite. I like a black bait with a clacker and almost never use a trailer hook. I think the colors should be kept simple. It’s the components that make a huge difference.”
The hook is obviously important and Revenge uses a 5/O round bend Mustad Ultra Point hook and light gauge high quality spring temper stainless steel wire that allows the bait to collapse in the fish’s mouth for a better hookset. Spinnerbaits have used light gauge wire in an effort to increase the vibration but many have strayed away from using them on buzzbaits for fear of the bait breaking and losing the fish. Don’t worry about it,” explained Dobyns. “I’ve been swinging 5-pounders over the side of the boat and haven’t broken one yet.”
Okay, by now you’ve already committed to checking out a few Revenge Baits but what about all the really secret tactics? What makes the buzzbait so productive for the top Pro’s but just so-so for the average angler?
Gary says it’s simple, “You’ve just got to throw it! Most anglers will throw a buzzbait for the first 30-60 minutes of the early morning and then put it down. They also have a predetermined notion that buzz baits will only work in June, July and August. Most of the big fish I have caught that really helped me win a tournament came during a time of day or time of year when I was just about the only one throwing it. You’ve just got to use it and don’t put it down. Forget about right and wrong, you have to make it happen!”
There are a few little tricks to customize a buzzbait but many will argue that “tinkering” with them does more to change the bait in the mind of the angler more so than changing the appearance of the bait to the fish. Still, there are those of us that have to customize them by drilling holes in the blade, pinching the rivets down to the wire to hold them still, change the blade angle to allow faster or slower retrieve speeds, custom paint, new skirts, spray scents, front runners, etc. The list is seemingly endless. The best way to use them is simply to not get caught up in “re-inventing the wheel” but using these baits to make you a better buzzbait fisherman.
Speaking of re-inventions how about the new line of baits from Reaction Innovations? How does a soft plastic buzzbait sound? It might throw you off at first but trust me, this new bait from Reaction Innovations and FLW/BASS Tour pro Andre Moore is more than worthy of your attention.
Enter: the Trixie Shad. The Trixie Shad is a bait that, upon first glance, might remind you of a soft plastic twitch or jerk bait. While it can be used as a swimming bait, look a little closer at the tail, that’s a buzzbait blade. Well, kind of.
Better yet, get yourself a 5/O or a 6/O extra wide gap hook, rigged weightless, Texas style, and give it a throw for your self. This bait is an ultra-stealth buzzbait and the strikes it will draw will leave you feeling like you did when you had your very first top-water bite.
“I designed this bait out of frustration,” said Moore. When I finally decided to go back East and chase the Tour(s), it took me a while to get used to all the grass. I was really frustrated at a few events where I was faced with dense vegetation and really calm conditions. It was a situation where I just knew there were fish that would eat a topwater bait but, I just couldn’t find one that would stay on top, remain weedless and have a stealth mode for the slick conditions.” A few months later, the Trixie Shad was born.
The Trixie Shad is not for the faint of heart nor is it for those who can’t control their reflexes. This bait will get strikes when others won’t but, you have to fish it like a frog. You can only set the hook when you feel the fish swimming with the bait and have to force yourself to remain calm and patient when you first see the strike. Another great feature is built into this bait. Because it’s shaped much like a Zoom Super Fluke, it doubles as a great follow-up bait, the greatest difference being that you now have your primary and secondary cast all wrapped up in one bait and can be offered to the fish on the same cast.
Too often anglers get too comfortable in our old ways and miss out on some of the best things life has to offer. I know there are probably a few anglers who refuse to throw certain baits due to lack of confidence or “know-how” but step outside the box a little and live on the edge. Try something new. If it doesn’t work, figure out how to make it work and perfect your skills from there.
Now get out there and start fishing. You can’t catch fish reading this article. Good luck!