There’s something captivating about a buzzbait gurgling across the surface. Like each pitch in a World Series game, the suspense is enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. You know something exciting is about to happen; you just don’t know when. Buzzbaits don’t always work. No lure catches bass all the time. But by tweaking your buzzbaits, you can up your odds of catching bass whenever you throw one, said Curt Lytle, an FLW Tour pro from Zuni, Virginia.
“It’s my favorite topwater, no question. I use them in the spring, summer and fall and they catch some really big fish,” he said. “I can cover lots of water, which is real important in the fall.”
Add A Trailer
Buzzbaits can work just fine straight out of the package, but some anglers add a soft plastic trailer like a grub or a split-tail for added buoyancy without changing the profile of the bait. That allows them to fish the bait slower, giving the bass a little more time to consider the commotion on the surface. Lytle will add a grub, but he’ll tear the tail off to avoid short strikes, a common problem with these baits.
“I’ve also found that the curl tail will interfere with the hook point. I want to give that fish a clear shot of the hook and a soft plastic bait might get in the way,” he said. “The grub will also give the bass a softer feel if they hit the lure but miss the hook. If it feels more natural, there’s a better chance they’ll come back and hit it a second time.”
Lytle throws one of two colors: black or white. He said the bass are more concerned about the profile of the bait and the action than the specific color. For Lytle, a black buzzbait isn’t a gimmick reserved for night fishing; it’s a standard go-to color. He’ll throw a black buzzbait on overcast days most of the time, but he won’t hesitate to throw it on bright days, either.
“You never really know if something will work until you try it,” he said. “I’ve done well on white buzzbaits on cloudy days and black buzzbaits on sunny days.”
With a few exceptions, Lytle always adds a trailer hook to his buzzbaits. The second hook helps reduce missed fish that take a swipe at the back of the lure. The only time he won’t use a second hook is if he’s pulling a buzzbait across heavy cover like fallen trees and thick grass.
“I’ll trim the skirt if I’m only using a single hook. That seems to make the bass grab the bait a little higher and they tend to get the hook more often than on lures that have longer skirts,” he noted.
The two-time FLW Championship pro favors a medium-heavy, 7-foot rod with a high-speed reel loaded with 20-pound Trilene Big Game monofilament. The heavy line won’t spook the fish because the bait is moving fast and the line is up off the water.
“The high-speed reel isn’t necessarily to help me reel the bait faster. I like it to help me catch up with a fish that might be running sideways or straight at me,” he said.
Lytle will drop a soft stick bait or a floating worm into the boil of the missed strike. The idea, he said, is to simulate a stunned baitfish falling toward the bottom.
“Sometimes, they’ll come back and eat the follow-up bait and sometimes they won’t,” explained Lytle.” “I always throw something in there because you never know.”
If a second lure doesn’t work, Lytle will make a mental note of the spot, leave and then return in an hour or two. By then, he said, the bass may have forgotten about the whole incident and will be willing to take a swipe at a different bait. In that situation, he’ll throw a different topwater, a Berkley Frenzy Popper or a Zara Spook.