On the Warpath

Buzzbaits are phenomenal summertime search tools, but with the right equipment and a daring attitude, they are also very effective in and around haunting cover. Precise casting accuracy and untraditional locations can take this technique to an entirely different level. Once understood, buzzbaits encompass a superb power of drawing quality fish over a quantity of fish.

Ask any accomplished angler about their favorite topwater and they will name a buzzbait more often than not. Maybe their success is due to pure luck, or maybe their success continues to grow because these anglers understand the power behind a bait with noise, vibration and an unlimited amount of customization options.

There are many styles of buzzbaits, such as single and double-bladed models. Many topwater enthusiasts rarely keep them in stock condition though. Anglers switch out aluminum parts for steel, apply unique layers of paint and even replace buzzbait skirts with soft plastics. You can quickly see that the buzzbait’s identity can be changed in an instant, but one thing remains the same no matter the canvas - bass simply crush the lure with punishment.

If you want to reach new heights in the topwater arena, fishing buzzbaits in and around cover such as docks, trees and vegetation lines can help separate you from the nearest competitor. In sparse mats and lily pad fields, the buzzbait can remain a competitor in your box with a few adjustments. Retrieve speed, color choice and preparing yourself to fish the bait slowly can make all the difference. For co-anglers and open water anglers, the amount of water you can cover makes this a perfect choice for summer. While you can cover large amounts of water, make each cast count and allow nearby fish a shot at striking your bait. All too often, anglers miss fish because they spot a new target or are too impatient and fail to effectively cover the water in front of the boat. Slowing down can pay big dividends.

The big question is how fast should I retrieve the bait? For this big questions and for big fish, I say slow. Our northern strain largemouth in the Pacific Northwest have taught me one thing about the way they like their meals. As boring as it may sound, slow is not slow enough.

I aim for a blade that barely rotates in the water. Noise is important, but so is speed. Warrior Baits’ Warpath Buzzbait is one of the reasons I have become confident with the technique and it excites me to share the reason why. While I cannot take credit for the design, I will take credit for finally finding a buzzbait that can do it all from the fishing side of things. The strength comes from its planar head design that helps the buzzbait surface quickly, allowing the angler to cast at individual targets without having to “over shoot” them.  

When I hit the water with a buzzbait, wasting eight feet of water waiting for the bait to surface can be the difference between catching your personal best, or going home with quantity instead of quality.

Casting accuracy plays a huge role in success because much like other techniques, hitting one piece of cover from multiple angles is often more rewarded than not. Overhand, sidehand and underhand roll casts all have their time and place. Master your cast and the buzzbait can deliver some serious results.

Strategic points of interest begin with low light conditions. Buzzbaits truly excel during these times. Early morning, late evening and any shady portion of the lake during the day, but do not overlook stretches of shoreline that are home to boulders, shallow points and shallow cuts. If you can find the ambush spots, only to deliver a topwater meal, chances are your odds will increase dramatically. With big fish spots in mind and a big fish bait in hand, the quality of your fish will surge.

Anglers often throw around gear-related terms to match certain presentations, but the buzzbait is one lure that can be fished on a multitude of tackle. From ¼ ounce models on spinning gear to ½ ounce models on casting gear, anglers should try and achieve the greatest casting distance possible, while learning to be pinpoint accurate with casts. Personally, I have found 7’6” casting rods to be a great fit, with a high gear-ratio reel at 7.1:1, such as the Team Lew’s Pro Speed Spool. Braid, fluorocarbon and monofilament are all able to get the job done, but causing chaos around cover calls for braided line. Recently, I added Sufix 832 Superline in 65 pound test and have been completely satisfied with its casting performance. The line is smooth, holds up well against wood cover and it gives you the strength you need when going with heavier gear.

Regardless of what store you shop at, or which body of water you call home, buzzbaits continue to make their presence known in the retail market, in tournament organizations and for recreational anglers across the globe. A simple design in a complex world of tackle comes down to the angler’s ability to use this presentation without overthinking the situation. When summer temperatures are at their highest, grab yourself a Warpath and create some chaos of your own.