Put a buzz in their ears this fall

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Kevin VanDam

Kevin VanDam

In the world of professional bass fishing, Kevin VanDam is at the pinnacle and arguably the best in the world.

The leaves are changing rapidly here in Michigan and the nights are drawing cooler. That gets me revved up for buzzbait fishing.

There’s nothing more exciting than having a big bass blow up on a buzzbait and now is when it can happen a lot. The bass are moving into the shallows to feed up and that will continue into late fall.

The buzzbait fits my style because it’s a bait that covers a lot of water. Bass often are scattered over flats in the fall, so you need to keep moving until you find them. It’s also a bait that draws active fish from a long ways.

The lure gets stereotyped as being primarily effective over shallow grass, logs or stumps and stained water, but I’ve found it to be far more versatile than that. Some of my best days with a buzzbait have come when I was going down a bank casting the lure at no specific target.

You don’t want a bait that is too visible for the situation. You want fish to see it but you don’t want them to get a good look at it.

Blade color and skirts can make a difference. If you have a little chop on the water, it doesn’t matter as much. The perfect day would be one in which it was cloudy, misting rain and breezy.

However, for low light conditions, I like black with a gold blade. If the water is clear, I like the bluegill-colored skirt that Strike King offers, with either a silver or gold blade. I like shad-colored skirts when fishing around shad and white or white/chartreuse in stained water. Generally, I prefer gold blades for low light days.

If I’m around a lot of big fish, I will go with the 3/8 ounce and a bigger blade. If it’s tougher conditions and calmer water, I’ll use the 1/4 ounce so that the sound and action is a little subdued. And if it’s real slick and sunny but the fish are still chasing shad, I will go to a 1/8 ounce.

Speed is critical. To be honest, most people fish a buzzbait too fast; you should fish it just fast enough to keep it on top of the water. I always add a trailer hook for short strikes, but if the bass are still hitting and missing the bait, slow it down even more.

To increase noise and slow the bait down, crimp the rivet behind the blade so it can’t spin on the shaft. That allows the blade to squeak against the rivet and that drives bass crazy.

I also like to pull about 1/3 of the strands out of the skirt to reduce bulk and enable the head to ride a little deeper in the water. That also will get you more hookups.

Throw it on monofilament, not fluorocarbon, because it helps keep the bait on top.

While the buzzbait catches all sizes of fish, it’s the big ones that can’t resist it. And nothing gets an angler’s motor running faster than a big bass smashing a buzzbait!

Remember, it’s all about the attitude!

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