How to Fish a Buzzbait for Bass

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Despite being a very effective lure, a lot of anglers seem to be forgetting about the buzzbait. The buzzbait is an old-school topwater lure that is simple to use and effective in fishing for bass. This piece covers everything you need to know about how to fish a buzzbait for bass.

How to Fish a Buzzbait for Bass

Since their frames are made of metal wire, buzzbaits are classified as wire baits. Typically, their frame is a J-shape, with the hook and lead head attached to the longer wire at the bottom and the blade attached to the shorter wire at the top. It also usually has a silicone skirt and lead keeper.

Two women fishing using a red fishing rod with a white fishing line in a lake

Recently, most anglers just replace this with a soft-plastic toad over the head. More recent buzzbaits include metal keepers that make rigging the soft plastic in this manner much simpler. It is up to personal preference which you decide to do.

Buzzbaits are not buoyant like other topwater baits. The propeller-like blade up front elevates the lure during the retrieve, providing a “buzzing” action and bubble trail that entices bass to strike. Here is a breakdown of how to choose the right setup for your buzzbait and fish bass with it effectively.

What Is the Best Size of Buzzbait for Bass Fishing?

Buzzbaits come in a variety of sizes to suit your needs. Half an ounce is the most common size, but 3/8 and 1/4 ounces are also available. However, the size of the blades and the wireframe matter more than the overall size.

Bigger blades cause more surface disturbance because of their greater size. Smaller blades are easier to skip, giving you greater control. Perforations in the buzzbait’s blade make a distinctive noise on the water’s surface and leave a bubble trail that mimics thrashing bait.

A buzzbait with a clacker on its arm will make a louder noise when submerged and will flash very dimly when exposed to sunlight.

What Is the Best Color of Buzzbait for Bass?

As is the case with most topwater baits, there are two primary color options, black and white. However, you are not restricted to just these two colors. You can use black-colored buzzbaits or other dark shades when you have overcast skies or murky waters.

If you are fishing bass in clear waters, then your best bet would be to use a white or light colored buzzbait. You can even consider using a color like green to draw in hungry bass to the surface of the water. Having a shimmering flake on the skirt of your buzzbait gives it a realistic look that makes a more convincing impression on bass.

What Is the Best Gear for Buzzbait?

In order to catch fish with buzzbaits, you’ll need a rod that can cast them effectively. In most cases, this will necessitate a heavy or medium-heavy baitcasting rod. A frog rod is another option, as it is used by some experts. However, if you only have a jig rod, you can use that.

If you are going to be fishing in an area with a lot of vegetation or other potential snares, you should use a heavier rod. You should use a shorter rod if you need increased precision. Go for a braided fishing line because of its durability and resistance to stretching. Alternatively, you can use a fluorocarbon line.

Choose a fast reel with a retrieve ratio of at least 7:1, preferably 8:1. The faster the retrieve, the quicker you can wind the buzzbait in between casts, and the easier it is to get the blade going.

A man in a yellow and green jacket holds a red fishing bait while seated on a brown wooden chair

Best Locations Where a Buzzbait Is Most Effective

Anglers typically use buzzbaits to cover a large area of water quickly. For example, the shoreline or open areas such as:

  • In the middle of reeds
  • Grass
  • Dock posts
  • Flooded bushes, and
  • Laydown timber

There are several different situations that call for the use of buzzbaits. For a long time, professionals often only used them first thing in the morning or in dim light. However, you can now use them at any time of day and any season.

In spring, the weather becomes warmer and bass start to move up. You can easily catch pre-spawn bass around this time by pitching a buzzbait around flooded vegetation. In summer, you can use the bait to fish bass hanging around in shallow waters. This is also a good strategy in fall when baitfish are abundant.

How to Fish Buzzbaits for Bass

Catching fish with a buzzbait is pretty easy. Cast it far and start retrieving it quickly. This will get the blade spinning and can help you with an efficient presentation.

You can choose to go slow or fast with your retrieve. You can even alternate between both, change your direction or make contact with cover. This will increase your chances of a bite.

Keep in mind that bass tend to swipe at buzzbaits rather than swallowing them whole. To increase your success rate, use a trailer hook, and wait for half a second after the bite to make sure the fish has the bait. If you want to catch more bass using this bait, consider the following tips:

Try Varying Speeds

A lot of anglers are quick to tie on a buzzbait, cast it a few times, and put it down. They often fail to explore varying speeds to determine what works best for them. By trying varying speeds, you can influence the vibrations and sounds that the bait makes. You can also influence how the bass views the lure.

Two tackle boxes colored white and yellow with different fishing baits were placed on a brown wooden table

Be Unpredictable

While buzzbaits are most commonly associated with fishing in shallow stained water, they can be just as productive when cast into clear water if the lure is properly dressed. You can go with a smaller version, instead of the classic huge and noisy version, to improve your results.

Buzzbaits, when chosen and fished correctly, can result in a large number of exciting topwater strikes. The water clarity and cover go a long way in determining the version you use to fish for bass and the speed you will use. Consider a smaller, single-bladed option in clear waters with high speeds.

You can easily draw in bass with fast-moving bait. The distortion the speed creates on the surface of the water catches the attention of hungry bass who think it is prey trying to escape.

Fish a Buzzbait at Night

Fishing a buzzbait for bass at night can be a lot more productive if you know your way around it. However, keep in mind that the results will vary slightly, quality instead of quantity. Fishing for bass at night will give you bigger bass over numbers.

Change the Color of Your Buzzbait

You might want to consider changing the color of your buzzbait when fishing in clear waters. The reason why the bass are not aggressively biting your bait may be because they can see it too well. Changing the color and switching up the speed can help improve your results.

Explore the Various Seasons

As stated earlier, the buzzbait can be a very versatile bait. This is because it can be used at any time of the day in any season. However, many anglers consider it only a good choice for hot weather.


Buzzbaits might be old-school, however, they are still as effective as ever when it comes to fishing bass. Apply these tips and be sure to explore different applications of the buzzbait in different scenarios to determine what works best for you. Be sure to take your time with it so that you can achieve the best results.