How to Fish a Buzzbait (2022)

A person fishing next to the water.
Table of Contents

    Fishing a buzzbait can be a surprisingly successful way to catch prize-winning bass if you select this bait in the right conditions. It’s quite strange looking compared to most other largemouth bass baits, but this design has proven itself worthy of your tackle box. Using a buzzbait to catch bass doesn’t always work out, but when the fish are biting then this fantastic design might guarantee you a winner. We’ve created this article to tell you more about the fascinating buzzbait and explain how you can use this tool on your next fishing trip. 

    The singular buzzing action of this bait is amazing at attracting bass, so long as you have the technique down. It’s a versatile and useful item for anglers to utilize in many different situations, whether you’re fishing through vegetation, or need to cover large sections of the lake quickly. There’s a lot more to buzzers than meets the eye, and using one can make your fishing trip quite the excitement. 


    A person holding a fish on a boat.

    A buzzbait could be the perfect thing to take your bass fishing game from good to great.


    What is a buzzbait? 

    A buzzbait is a type of wire bait, where all the elements are connected to a thin J-shaped wire. This semi-flexible metal wire allows for small movements and vibrations as you pull the bait through the water, rather than the bait being completely solid. On a typical J-shape wireframe, the longer side of wire features the hook, while the blades (which produce the “buzzing” action) are attached to the shorter part. A small bend in the middle leaves room for you to tie on your line, and be the anchor for movement. 

    Most buzzbaits come with a silicone skirt around the hook, which acts as the lure and also helps the bait be more weedless. You can also attach a trailer here to make your bait even more enticing to bass. Some anglers remove the skirt completely, and replace it with a soft plastic toad or another soft lure, it all depends on your personal style. There are plenty of different variations in tackle you can use when fishing a buzzbait, so mix them around and experiment on your next bass fishing trip. 

    As you know, fishing baits come in different weights and sizes, which makes it easier to tailor your tackle to better attract your target fish. In this case, most anglers use buzzbaits to fish for bass, so you can select the size according to the fish you’re trying to catch.

    The most popular size of buzzbait to fish is half an ounce, however smaller ⅜ and ¼ ounce buzzers are also available. However, when choosing a bait, the size of the blades and wire frame has more of an impact than the weight, so prioritize these aspects. Larger blades make more of a commotion in the water, so they’re more likely to attract attention. On the other hand, smaller tackle is easier to skip across the water and has more of a finesse presentation. 


    What makes Buzzbaits so successful? 

    There are several different elements that lead to buzzbaits earning their place in your fishing gear collection, buzzers can definitely live up to the hype. The design of a buzzbait means it’s efficient and effective, disturbing the water and mimicking a tasty snack for large fish like bass. The movement and presentation of buzzbaits can make them effective in different conditions, so you can fish subtler tackle in calm weather, and buzzers with more aggressive movements work in wind and rain. 


    • Action: When you retrieve after a cast, your buzzbait picks up into action. As you pull your line through the water, the buzzbait blade should chop along the surface, with the skirt or trailer following beneath the surface. This disturbance in the water is the first element which lends buzzbaits their success, so it’s imperative that your bait is “in tune”. A bent wire can stop your buzzbaits streamlined motion and prevent your retrieval from being smooth and straight, so if you notice your bait pulling off to the side, try bending the wire a bit before your next cast. 


    • Sound: On retrieval, the blade of your buzzbait spins rapidly around the wire, creating a squeaking or squealing noise. This commotion in combination with the movement action is bound to attract some bites. Some buzzbaits have “clackers” instead, featuring a small bead or additional wire which hits against the main wire frame to create more noise. Bass in your favorite fishing lakes get used to the usual sounds of baits and lures and can become conditioned and therefore less likely to bite a regular bait. However, the unique noise that buzzerbaits produce is unlike that of any other topwater lure, giving them a distinct edge in attracting otherwise uninterested fish. 


    • Efficiency: If you need to cover a large body of water in a short amount of time, buzzbaits can be the perfect tool to use. You can cast and retrieve this topwater lure to figure out where bass are hiding. You may not get a bite, but the disturbances in the water will let you know where you have the best chance for a bite. 


    Bass anglers talk a lot about reaction strikes, where they try to coax a natural reaction out of the fish. When bass see what they think is escaping prey (your buzzbait) they automatically try to bite, even if they’re not hungry. The buzzbait plays to the bass fish’s predatory instinct, and this can land you some big bites no matter the season. 


    A person fishing from a boat on the water.

    Reaction strikes are one of the most effective ways to catch big bass.


    How to fish a buzzbait like a pro 

    Fishing with a buzzbait needs a fairly simple technique, you can pick it up easily with a little practice. Cast out with confidence, and start a speedy retrieve as soon as your buzzbait hits the water. The more efficiently you can complete these movements, the faster the blade on your buzzer will begin turning, and the quicker your presentation is ready for action. 

    Once the primary setup is completed and the blades of your buzzer are spinning, you can reduce the speed of your retrieve to a steadier pace. However, mixing up the speed and direction of your retrieve to include more variety is the best technique for catching bass, as it could be a different movement or subtle change in direction that finally tempts a bite. Don’t be surprised if you see some action but don’t get a bite straight away; bass are known for swiping at buzzbaits without fully biting on, so once you’ve located the fish, persevere with your method. 

    Many anglers use a trailer hook with their buzzbait to make the chances of a catch more likely, but we’ll explain all the different variations you might want to use in detail in a later section. One technique you may want to try out is leaving the hook suspended after a potential strike for just a split second, which gives your tackle more change of hooking in properly. It’s an easy mistake for anglers to make, especially beginners. All the excitement of seeing a potential catch make disturbances in the water can cause you to preemptively set your hook, but a few extra seconds of patience will give you much higher bite rates. 

    One huge reason why buzzbaits are so popular is their uncanny ability to temp a bite out of even the most disinterested bass. Persevere when casting to spots you’ve determined are likely to be hiding fish, rather than giving up after a few failures. The largest bass in your lake might ignore a few drive-bys of your buzzbait, but sooner or later they’ll get curious about your lure, and that’s your opportunity to hook a winner. 


    Where to fish buzzbaits

    When temperatures surpass 60 degrees Fahrenheit in spring, until fall once the water is cooler than 50 degrees, buzzbaits can be used to great success. But which parts of your pond should you target using a buzzer? Buzzbaits aren’t the most weedless, however, easy modifications can be made to your lure to allow fishing this bait through cover.

    As we know, buzzbaits are best known for their ability to cover large areas quickly, but their once limited usage now covers a wide range of conditions and situations. Of course, every lake is different, but regardless of your location, these are some excellent places to star when fishing a buzzbait. 


    • Rocky cover: Bass always love to hide around any rocky structure, and this is the perfect place to target your new buzzer. Long casts parallel to your target structure are key, in these situations buzzbaits can be much more effective than other topwater lures. Look out for bridges, marinas, dams, and posts, big bass often suspend lazily around these spots, where a buzzer may be the perfect thing to tempt a strike. 


    • Submerged grass: Any grassy areas near to the water are prime locations for buzzbait fishing; the cover isn’t too dense so your hook won’t get caught. The opposite can also be true, where a gap between the grass line and the lake bank is a sign of possible bass hangout spots. Sunny summer days can attract lots of bass to areas like these, but using your buzzbait can help tempt the biggest out of the shadows. 


    • Flooded brush and vegetation: Anywhere where the waterline has risen to envelop vegetation is an ideal place to cast your buzzbait. Whether it’s sunken brush, or flooded pockets outside of the lake’s normal circumference, big bass love to hide out in these areas. In spring, this is an excellent place to target large pre-spawn bass


    • Isolated cover: Bass love to congregate around isolated cover, and locating one of these spots can lead to a very successful day of fishing. Whether its an old tree stump or a standing boat, any cover separated from the rest of the lake can be very productive for buzzbait anglers. Because of the likely lack of cover in the surrounding waters to your target spot, buzzers are even more ideal as you can do repeated drive-bys with ease. 


    • Docks: Docks are always a popular bass fishing spot, however many anglers fail to utilize their buzzbaits when fishing this area. One successful technique requires you to cast your bait against dock posts, the impact will attract the attention of the biggest bass around the area, and hopefully, trigger a reaction strike. 


    Boat docked near the water.

    Docks and other cover are always a successful spot to use your buzzbait.


    Different types and variations of the buzzbait

    The baits and lures you might find in a fisherman’s tackle box have huge variation, from spinnerbaits to crankbaits, jigs to swimbaits, all of these lures have prime use in different situations. However, did you know that even within the buzzbait category, there are a lot of changes you can make to tailor your lure perfectly. Firstly, there are three different categories of buzzbait you’ll see when perusing your local fishing supply store:


    • Inline buzzers: These regular buzzbaits have a slightly more subtle presentation, and are ideal for use when you’re worried about tangling in cover. The sound of inline buzzbaits is a subtle whirring, so these aren’t the noisiest option.


    • Clackers: We’ve already mentioned this type of buzzer, featuring a metal bead that produces the clacking sound they emit. These buzzers are a great choice when fishing in choppy conditions, as the clacking sound can be heard by bass over the noise of wind breaking the water. Thicker vegetation is also a great place to target with clackers, and you should employ a faster retrieve to fully utilize this bait. 


    • Squealers: These buzzers produce a squeal or squeak noise, but they’re actually ideal for stealthier presentation. You can retrieve a squealer more slowly than other buzzers, these elements make them very effective against inactive bass. 


    The variation of buzzbait isn’t the only option you have when making your selection, as anglers are divided on the use of trailer hooks too. On the one hand, a larger hook addition can leave your bait more prone to tangles and hang-ups, where you might even be threatened with having to sever your line.

    However, the advantage of adding a trailer hook is huge, as this larger target for bass makes a hookup much more likely. We’d recommend making use of trailer hooks with your buzzbait whenever the cover allows, as the additional possibility of a bite is just too easy to pass up. 

    Color is a factor you can’t ignore when picking up a new buzzbait, as the different shades affect your presentation. The color of the blade should be tailored to the conditions you’re fishing in, according to the likely prey of the bass you’re targeting. Use this guide to make the best color selection:


    • White and silver: If you see shad in your lake, or know that it’s prime time for bass to target them, then using a white or silver blade is the best choice. Bass love to target shad at any time of year, so using a buzzbait that emulates their presentation can be very beneficial.


    • Black and white: While largemouth bass prefer other colors, species such as smallmouth or spotted bass tend to prefer black and white baits. 


    • Gold and black: When the weather is overcast or you’re fishing in low-light conditions, gold and black colored buzzer blades are easiest for the bass to spot. This applies to nighttime fishing as well, when your bait needs to be more visually stimulating. 


    The type of line to be used in conjunction with a buzzbait is also a source of division amongst anglers. Most use either a braided line or monofilament line for topwater lures, but copolymer can also be a valid choice. The reason you might make this selection over more popular choices is the slight stretch to the line, as this can help solve the common problem of big bass not fully hooking on straight away. The elasticity of the line can help counteract preemptive hookups, a common issue when fishing with buzzbaits. 

    It’s worth noting that using a buzzer in thick cover often requires a heavier duty line, so braided lines with no stretch are more appropriate here. You may have to wrestle a bit to get large bass from thick cover, so the additional strength of a braided line is necessary. 


    A person fishing by a river in the mountains.

    Cover can sometimes threaten your buzzbait with tangles, but making weedless modifications to your bait means you can still catch bass in vegetation.


    Final Verdict:

    Buzzbaits come in all shapes and sizes, so try a few different variations until you see what fits. Adding a few different buzzbaits to your tackle box can be incredibly beneficial to your angling game, as you never know when the bass might bite. The nature of buzzbaits means sometimes they don’t work at all, and sometimes you’ll get bite after bite. Just keep them on hand when you need to trawl some cover or fish a large area quickly, and this valuable bait will catch you some big bass. 


    Bonus tip: Check out this video for a handy buzzbait fishing tip!



    Riley Draper

    Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.