Calmer conditions and sparser cover call for a less aggressive approach. This is where Schultz reaches for a Yamamoto buzzbait. It has a rivet that emits a high-pitched squeak and can be retrieved very slowly, which is what you want in calmer weather.
When you know bass are holding in grass that is crowning at the surface, attack it from the top. Though buzzbaits are fairly weedless, these special mats require a special bait. Hildebrandt's Gold Wing fills the order well. Schultz says the Gold Wing's design is inherently weedless, but to keeps snags at an absolute minimum, it has a weedguard.
These three types of buzzbait — while different — have a common thread: plated blades.
"Regular aluminum or brass blades sound muted underwater. You need a blade that's plated in either chrome or gold to really resonate the sound underwater," he says. "Also, I like to have a trailer hook on my buzzbaits when possible, and the HeadBanger comes with one right out of the box. You'll lose a lot fewer fish with that trailer hook."
As cliché as it sounds, Schultz lets the fish tell him how they want a buzzbait presented.
"Though you do need to experiment with retrieves, there are a few guidelines. Clacker-style baits like the HeadBanger typically do better with a faster retrieve, while squealer-style buzzbaits are best when fished slow enough to keep them just on the surface," he says.
Schultz says the No. 1 problem he sees from novice buzzbaiters is their lack of dedication.
A buzzbait is something that you need to work at. A lot of guys will throw it a few times, and if they don't get a hit, they'll put it down," he says. "Though you've probably got the right bait, you may not be in the right area. Take some time to figure out where they're holding."
Originally published August 2009