What’s all the Buzz About?

by Jay Striker

Fall has descended upon us once again. As a bass angler I have to pay close attention to what Mother Nature is telling me, because if I time it just right, I can have some of the most fun on the water the year has to offer. One of my favorite things to do in the fall is to start throwing  topwater baits at the bass that are starting to school up. Let’s take a few moments and discuss using buzzbaits in the fall, covering such things as conditions, retrieves, matching the hatch, tackle and set up.
Conditions: An interesting point I often hear is you should only throw buzzbaits when it’s cloudy outside with calm still waters. However, I have found that I can catch fish on buzzbaits all year long no matter what the conditions are. You see, there is no set time for me to throw a buzzbait or topwater bait. Timing is what dictates the bait to throw. I want to be sure I have the bait in my hand and throwing it whenever the time presents its self. For me, that is first light in the morning when the sun is rising. When the sun is high, I want to throw it in the shaded areas, and when the sun sets I’ll throw it at ambush locations that are close to some type of structure or feeding areas. The crazy thing is that this bite can happen all year long, and it does.
Retrieve: Sometimes, just throwing buzzbait out and winding it back won’t draw many strikes. What is recommended is that you alter your retrieve with these baits. The number one rule when throwing a buzzbait is making it look like a fleeing or injured baitfish. This all happens through the retrieve. When retrieving the bait, it’s important to make it sound different and act different. The way you do it is with an erratic stop and go retrieve, but this can only be done by having the right set up which includes having a high speed reel.
Matching the hatch: One of the tell-tale signs in bass fishing during the fall is the abundance of baitfish boiling on the surface. When I see this “nervous water” I get really excited because I know most likely my buzzbait will produce some fish. One of the keys to fishing nervous water is that you must cast past the pod of baitfish and bring your buzzbait through it. I like to key in on what type of baitfish it is so that I can have a color on that will match the hatch. Once you get bit be sure to wait for a second to feel the fish load the rod before setting the hook, or you will miss the fish.
        Set up and Tackle to Use: One of the things I try to use is the lightest bait I can get away with. A 1/4 to 3/8 ounce Fish Head Primal Buzz is just right for me. I use a 7 foot medium heavy rod with Suffix Tri-Tritium co-polymer line in 14-pound test on a 7:1:1 reel. This way, I can make a long cast and change the retrieve as needed. Throwing buzzbaits in heavy cover sometimes calls for heavier line, even as high as braid if need be, but the size of my bait rarely changes.
When the leaves on the trees this fall start to change, take the time to tie on a buzzbait. Just remember that when throwing a buzzbait, vary the retrieve, match the hatch, have the right set-up and hang on for some of the best fishing of the year. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and at www.jaystriker.com. Let’s GO!