Think buzzbaits on grass lakes

Seigo Saito
2011 Bassmaster Classic champ Kevin VanDam

One technique that gets overlooked once the water cools down is buzzbait fishing shallow grass.

Most anglers think the water is too cold or clear for buzzbaits this time of year, but that's hardly the case. These are great late-season lures for fishing over vegetation.

The water doesn't have to be warm to make them effective, even here in the North where our water temperatures are now in the lower 50s. I've had some tremendous days fishing buzzbaits when the air temperature was in the 30s and most people thought you had to fish jigs and other slow-moving baits.

The buzzbait bite heats up as soon the water temperature drops into the low 60s and continues when lake temps fall into the lower 50s.

My favorite time to fish late fall is early morning when the lake is calm and there is a steamy fog on the water because it's warmer than the air. This is a period when you don't need wind or rain to make it good, but that can make it good, too.

This is when I prefer a big-bladed, black buzzbait because it silhouettes well that time of day. Again, most people don't throw black buzzbaits, but it's a killer for that early morning bite.

The type of lake often dictates how well the pattern works. I like those lakes where grass mats to the surface on big flats during the summer, but when water temperatures cool, it falls back and there are well-defined edges.

The fish aren't super shallow but will tend to hang along the edges of the grassbeds. They don't get on the bottom as much either, preferring to cruise around in search of forage.

Let me clarify something. I've heard anglers say that bass won't use shallow grass "when it's dying" this time of year because it depletes the oxygen. While that may be true later, it's not a hard and fast rule. Make no mistake about it; bass will use grass that has lost its green lushness. It's still cover and it attracts forage that they are there to eat.

Bluegills are their primary delicacy, even in those lakes that have an abundance of shad. If a grassy area has pods of small bluegill milling around in it, the bass will be there to feed on them.

I fish the buzzbait with a slow to medium retrieve. I also will crimp the rivet on the blade to make it squeak a little and might even put a Strike King Rage Craw on as a trailer to give it lift and allow me to slow it down more. I want something big, loud and moving slow.

Now, later in the day when the sun gets up, Strike King's lipless Red Eye Shad ripped through the grass might be a better choice. Again, if bluegill are present, I will use something in pumpkinseed or bream colors. The water is generally clear, so I want it to resemble the forage they prefer for that time of year.

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