Fall Fishing

5 Fall Buzzbait Tips to Catch Active Bass

There’s no better sensation in bass fishing than experiencing an explosive buzzbait strike. And there’s hardly a better time of year to use buzzbaits than during the fall cool down, where loads of active offshore bass spread out across shallow flats to feed. Join Wired2fish’s McKeon Roberts as he uses buzzbaits to quickly fish expansive flats and catch some of the biggest bass of his fishing season and this particular lake.

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Roberts’ 5 basic pointers to help you get started with fall buzzbait fishing on a lake or river near you.

  1. Replace the buzzbait skirt with a plastic trailer. Different anglers use a range of modifications to enhance bait performance. Roberts feels a plastic trailer enhances the profile and helps bass train their attention on the hook of the bait instead of attacking the blade and missing the hook on the strike.
  2. Start reeling when the bait hits the water. The immediate splash and engagement of a buzzbait blade is a powerful trigger. Accomplish this by engaging the reel as soon as the bait hits the water, then retrieve with your rod tip held high (~ 45-degree angle). The rod angle reduces line drag, which allows the blade to make maximum commotion while steering the bait through lanes in the cover.
  3. Don’t set the hook until you feel weight. As with any topwater, it’s easy to set the hook prematurely. Given the direct tight-line nature of buzzbait fishing, make sure to reel down and feel the weight of the fish before setting the hook — doing so helps ensure a deep and solid hookup.
  4. Make complete retrieves. It’s tempting to terminate your cast after bringing the bait past the best cover. Still, bass lurk in inconspicuous locations and often follow a buzzbait to the boat, with many strikes occurring boat side. Similar to other moving baits (think crankbaits), a complete retrieve will increase your catch rate.
  5. Use a heavy-power rod. So what’s the best rod setup for buzzbait fishing? Roberts advises a heavy-power rod paired with a high-speed reel spooled with a braided mainline. A powerful rod is essential for driving hooks home and fighting bass in cover, as is the braided line, while a fast reel keeps you in contact with the bait. Want a little stealth or stretch forgiveness? Add a short shank of 20-pound fluorocarbon for some forgiveness.