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Try a toad on a buzzbait

Luke Clausen often uses the buzzbait/ plastic combo under docks and pontoon boats and around other types of shallow cover. Photo by James Overstreet

Ever since Rick Clunn introduced the Lunker Lure to bass fishing fans nationwide 40 years ago, it has been accepted wisdom that a buzzbait consists of a wire frame with a leadhead and a delta-shaped blade to give the lure lift and noise, trailed by a skirted hook. Luke Clausen is certainly aware of that convention, but as he works down a row of overhanging trees, deftly placing his buzzbait beneath the draped canopy of cover, something seems amiss — his buzzbait has no skirt. He hasn’t forgotten it. Nor has he lost it.

"The 2006 Bassmaster Classic champion has purposely avoided using a skirt, and instead he has a softplastic buzz toad on the back of his lure. The secret is out. Two of the most productive topwater lures of all time, the toad and the buzzer, can be even better when put together.

“The combination has been around a lot longer than people realize,” he said. “In North Carolina, it has had a cult following for nearly 10 years. I rarely throw a buzzbait with a skirt anymore.”

Arkansas pro Mike McClelland is another believer in the power of the toad. More often than not these days, he strips off the skirt on his War Eagle buzzbaits and replaces it with Cabela’s buzz toad.

“What we’ve learned is that you can skip it much better,” he said. “You can put it under boat docks and tree limbs. Everyone (on tour) is real good at skipping things like jigs in those places, but if you can present them something that they’re not use to seeing, you improve your chances of getting a bite.”