Elite secret: The ultimate skipping buzzbait

I might get death threats from some of the other Bassmaster Elite Series pros, but I’m going to reveal a top-secret buzzbait modification anyway. A standard buzzbait is a killer lure, but it can only get into so many places.

This trick allows you to skip a buzzbait into dark shadows under docks, overhanging bushes and other cover to bass that have been conditioned to seeing jigs and Texas-rigged baits. When you run a buzzbait over their heads, they come unglued.

Not a toad

I’m not talking about threading a soft plastic toad onto a buzzbait, which has become a popular method for getting a buzzbait to skip. What I’m unveiling here is more of a finesse skipping buzzbait.

The heart of the lure is a light, compact 1/8- to 1/4-ounce buzzbait. I go with a Molix 1/4-ounce Lover Buzz SS Mini. Its in-line wire frame is much more conducive to skipping than the safety pin frame found on most other buzzbaits.

The first thing I do when I take the Molix buzzbait out of its pack is rip off that beautiful tied-on skirt and throw it in the trash. A bulky skirt impedes the skipping action.

Tubing it

The magical part is threading a 3- to 4-inch tube over the hook and the head of the buzzbait. I go with a 3 1/2-inch tube. A tube is one of the easiest lures in the world to skip. When you rig it on a finesse buzzbait, this irresistible combination skips like a stone.

When you retrieve the bait, the tube glides behind the gurgling, squeaking blade with its tentacles dancing around the hook’s point.

The tube’s nose tears when you push it over the buzzbait’s head. To prevent the tube from sliding back down the hook, I repair the tear with some type of fishing glue. When the glue dries, the tube is literally bonded to the buzzbait.

Colors and conditions

As with regular buzzbaits, I keep my color choices simple. If I’m fishing dirty water or in low light, I go with a black tube and a buzzbait that has a black blade. In clear water under bright sunlight I like a white or pearl tube with a buzzbait sporting a silver blade. I also choose this combination during a shad spawn.

If I’m skipping docks and see bluegills hanging under them, I match the hatch with a green pumpkin or watermelon tube and a gold buzzbait blade.

I don’t use a trailer hook 80% of the time because it might grab the water and impede the buzzbait’s ability to skip. Most of the time the bass attack so aggressively that the hook is far down in their throat.

When bass head-butt the bait due to being lethargic or tentative for some reason, I’ll add a small No. 1 or 1/0 trailer hook.

Skip casting

You can skip this finesse buzzbait combination with spinning or casting tackle. The skip cast requires a stiff rod with a flexible tip. I use the same casting rod I employ for pitching jigs and Texas-rigged baits. It measures 7-feet, 2-inches and has a medium-heavy action.

I prefer 17-pound Berkley Trilene Sensation monofilament when I’m skipping a buzzbait. Monofilament floats, which helps the buzzbait keep churning on the surface during the retrieve. Fluorocarbon line sinks. If I’m fishing docks that have a lot of cables, I’ll switch to 50-pound braid, which also floats, and tie a short monofilament shock leader to it.

Most people skip their baits with a sidearm wrist-roll cast. I prefer a technique I call pitch-skipping.

When I pull the buzzbait out of the water after retrieving it, I leave enough line hanging from the rod tip that I can swing the lure back and grab it with my left hand. Many anglers do this when pitching jigs and soft plastic baits. It helps you line up your target better and makes for more accurate presentations.

When I’m pitching, I hold the rod out in front of me. When I’m skip-pitching, I hold the handle hip high and point the rod to my left with the tip close to the water. Then I sweep the rod low and forward as I release the bait.

You want the bait to make its initial contact with the surface just in front of the dock or whatever it is you’re trying to skip under. The lure zips just over the surface and skips several times deep under the cover.

I lift the rod tip as the bait is skipping. When I’m skipping one of my finesse, tricked-out tube buzzbaits, I begin retrieving the instant the lure stops pulling line. You want to get it on top immediately. Most strikes happen before the buzzer ever gets out from under the cover. And, the strikes when I do this are the most vicious I’ve ever gotten.

You can learn more about how I skip buzzbaits and other techniques at www.mikeiaconelli.com or www.youtube.com/c/goingike.