Can't buy a summer bite? Bernie Schultz says a buzzbait may cure what ails you.
Though a lot of anglers don't take them out until fall, buzzbaits can be just what you need to get a summer bite going. However, Bernie says they really shine on dull days.
"When you've got low skies, low light, and a slightly cooler day than you've been having, the topwater bite turns on. Typically this happens right before or after a thunderstorm, but the common denominator is low light.
"The further north you go, the less limiting this factor is; you can fish them under less restrictive circumstances," he says.
These conditions position fish around cover typically associated with spring. The best choice is grass, be it submergent, emergent or flooded terrestrial grass. Schultz has found that irregularities — an indentation, an isolated patch, or areas with two or more types of grass mixed — often hold more bass than a solid mat.
If your lake is devoid of grass, he says to work laydowns, stumps, docks, bushes and flooded areas if you're on a tidal river. Points are another important structure that is easily overlooked.
Schultz bases his casting outfit around the heavy line he uses with buzzbaits. He uses a 7-foot, medium-heavy Shimano rod with a 7:1 Shimano reel spooled with either Sufix braid or Sufix Tritanium monofilament. He likes the distance and hook setting power a 7-foot rod offers.
"I use braid when I'm fishing around really thick grass, cypress trees, or docks on tidal rivers that have barnacles," he says. "Otherwise, I'm using 17- to 20-pound-test monofilament. It's really limp for how strong it is, which is crucial for casting into the wind."
Wind happens to be one of the main determinants for Schultz's buzzbaiting. If there is a light chop, he likes a clacker-style buzzbait. Under calmer conditions, he throws a squealer, and when the grass is just touching the surface, he throws an in-line buzzbait.
"The Hildebrandt HeadBanger is my choice for windy conditions that put light chop on the water or when the fish aren't actively feeding. The way the blade bangs the tin head gets the fish irritated which can prompt a strike," he says. "I'll throw this over emergent and submerged vegetation, flooded timber, or when other buzzbaits aren't working."