When it comes to fall bassin’ Jason Kincy, Booyah brand ambassador and editor of the informative Kayak Fishing Focus website, says there’s one lure that stands above anything else. “This time of year, my arms get sore from throwing a buzzbait.”
The noisy metal lures are certainly among the high-action baits that can excite and entice aggressive late-season largemouths, and the clacker mechanism built into Kincy’s favorite lure—the Booyah Buzz—makes it exceptionally loud. The drawback with any buzzbait, however, is that they can be tricky to fish from a perch so near the water’s surface.
“The problem is leverage,” said Kincy, “or really, the lack of it. Because the rodtip is held so high during the retrieve, it’s not uncommon to miss a strike or lose a fish when setting the hook from that angle. And when you’re fishing from a kayak, it’s just more challenging because you have even less leverage on the hookset.”
Here’s what the angler does to tip the odds more in his favor:
1. Stay Focused “Always be mentally prepared for a strike,” he said, “and think about how you will react to it. You’d be surprised at how much your mental attitude can increase your hook-up rate.”
2. Use A Trailer “With one exception, I always attach a trailer hook to my buzzbaits. It doubles the chances for a hook-up, and often hooks a bass that would have missed the bait entirely.” The exception, he explained, is when he threads on a soft plastic trailer. “If I think there are shad in the area, I’ll tip the main hook with a YUM Pulse. The larger profile usually means I’ll get fewer strikes, but the fish that do hit the bait are typically bigger than average.”
3. Sharpen The Hooks “This is essential,” he said. “I sharpen the hook points often; again, because the strikes are aggressive and chaotic a bass can easily miss the lure, or the angler can miss the hookset. Razor sharp hooks provide some forgiveness for those mistakes.”
4. Know When To Be Subtle While a buzzbait is designed to be raucous and rowdy, there are times when it pays to dial down the approach, the angler advised. “When the wind blows and the water’s choppy, I want a buzzbait that makes noise and causes a lot of disturbance,” he said. “In calm water, I take it down a notch.”
Kincy has removed the clacker from somewhere between one-third and one-half of the Booyah Buzz lures he owns. “I stick with the 3/8- or ½-ounce versions, and fish either a black lure or a white one, depending on water color. Once in a while, if the water’s not too clear or too dirty, I’ll use chartreuse, but for the most part black or white works best.
“I’ve removed the clacker from a number of my lures, though, because when the wind is still and the water calm, the extra noise can be just too much. The sputtering blade is all that’s needed.”
5. Make It Squeal Clacker or not, Kincy likes his buzzbait to produce that classic squeaking sound as it swims across the surface. Many lures develop this characteristic with time and use, but to achieve it from the get-go, the angler breaks out his needle-nosed pliers.
“I just crimp the metal that revolves around the blade shaft ever so slightly,” he explained. “Just enough to make it produce the squeak, while the blade still turns freely.”
Whether your boat relies on paddle power or horsepower, these buzzbait tips are worthy of heeding. Embrace them before your next late-season trip and see what happens.