Buzzbaits are bass buzzword

OUTDOORS

January 16, 1994|By LONNY WEAVER

If you plan on roaming around BASS EXPO this afternoon at Timonium Fairgrounds or shopping at Saturday's Fisherman's Flea Market, sponsored by the Central Maryland Bassmasters from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Freedom Community Center, you might want to look for buzzbaits.

Buzzbaits are some of the most effective bass lures around.

One day last summer, when fishing a large pond near New Windsor with Keith Walters, he released a nice largemouth that had been brought to boatside with such a lure. "These lures come up fast and stay up on a slow retrieve that just about drives bass nuts, don't they?" he said.

When fishing in Ontario, I often find myself on the water at night. In the dark, the large buzz blades of the lure not only attract bass and other game fish, but they also keep me in touch with the position of my line. I only need to hear the plop, plop of the bait to know the lure is working properly and its position.

I've also had good luck calling up largemouths in the hydrilla-choked sections of the lower Potomac, as well as in clear water and at midday when a buzzer is tied to the end of my line.

Featuring a top riding blade, most buzzbaits are assembled with a pop rivet on the rear of the blade and a bead up front. This front bead helps prevent moss, algae and other scum from clogging up the blade, while the rivet on the rear keeps the blade turning smoothly against the down-turned wire.

While fishing Prettyboy last summer with local pro Duke Nohe, he showed me that by crimping the rivet a little, a squeaking sound can be produced when the tab of the blade turns against the flat surface of the rivet.

An important consideration, of course, is whether the buzzbait will hook fish effectively. Some won't. Ideally, the bait should have plenty of gap between the blade and hook point without having to resort to a trailer hook, which I have found tends to hang up a lot.

Apart from good wire design, hook and skirt, the blade is the key component. There are several kinds.

Bobby Waldon, an Eldersburg bass fan who uses buzzbaits when fishing Piney Run, believes "a three-winged blade will help the lure come up faster and stay up on a slower retrieve."

Another type features two blades on the same shaft. One turns clockwise, the other counterclockwise. Another variation is twin buzz blades mounted on separate shafts.

Whatever the design, all buzzbaits must create some sort of water churning motion on the retrieve. The bigger the blade, the more noise it makes.

But, if the blade is too big for the weight of the head, the bait will run left or right on the retrieve. This can be countered with a heavier head, but then the bait will be slow to come up and I believe it requires a faster retrieve to keep the lure on the top of the water.

One trick that will help buzzbaits stay on track is bending the top of the blade arm slightly.

This will drop the lead head down, thus offering a better balance. I've learned to do it, not only for truer running, but also because it puts the skirt down under the water a little, which I think is responsible for more hits.

Lowering the skirt, which surrounds the hook, tends to isolate it from the churning water on the surface and makes it more visible to the fish.

Reader's tip

Mark Hill of Middleburg shares this rifle shooting tip -- "One of the best ways to determine wind direction when participating in long-range shooting is to tie a feather onto your gun barrel with a short length of thread.

"The feather will detect even the slightest breezes and drafts. I've found this trick to be much better than trying to determine wind factors by wetting my finger."

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