After the longest winter on record since the Pleistocene Epoch, it seems we skipped right over spring and went straight to summer. Don’t let the heat stop you from catching fish, though. Now’s a good time to tie on a buzzbait and hit the cooler periods of dawn and dusk.

The buzzbait may be the strangest looking lure ever built. Resembling a spinnerbait but designed to plane to the surface while the blade or blades rotate, the buzzbait gurgles and creates a surface disturbance that attracts opportunistic bass even during those 100-degree days.

Key to the buzzbait’s fish-catching ability is the rotating blade. The blade may have two or three “wings” at the edges that cup inward and catch the water when retrieved, which creates the classic “buzzing” sound and propeller-like action. This sound and action may be enhanced with a clacker (a small metal blade that contacts the propeller blade on each rotation), such as the BOOYAH Buzz. The BOOYAH Counter Strike Buzz actually features two propeller blades that rotate in opposite directions, allowing anglers to get the bait to the surface quickly and fish it slower than other buzzbaits.

Bassmaster Elite Series professional angler Zell Rowland often fishes a buzzbait to locate and catch fish before and during tournaments.

“Size really matters with buzzbaits,” Rowland said, “I always start fishing with a smaller buzzbait to get bites and see what size fish are in the reservoir I’m fishing. If there are big bass, then I will switch to a bigger buzzbait to catch them.”

For example, Rowland likes a big buzzbait on Falcon Lake down in Texas.

“Falcon is full of 4-, 5- and 6-pound bass. You want a buzzbait there that has a large profile,” said Rowland. “If I’m fishing somewhere with a lot of 2-pound bass, I start with the smaller bait and may stick with it the whole time.”

Rowland also consider the species of bass most prevalent where he’s fishing. If there are lots of spots, he restrains himself and keeps the smaller bait tied on.

“Lake Lanier in Georgia is a great fishery, but the spotted bass don’t grow as big as Falcon Lake largemouth,” he said. “That’s a great lake to fish the smaller profile bait, down to ¼-ounce.”

Besides size, Rowland also likes his buzzbait to have a special squeak. One way to increase the squeaky sound is to hold the bait out of the window as you’re driving to the lake, letting the wind catch the blades and get them spinning freely. This conditioning of the bait allows the you to fish it more slowly and brings it to the top quicker after the cast.

Rowland starts buzzbait fishing after both the bass and baitfish have spawned. He keeps an eye on the shallows for schools of fry.

“Bass go shallow in search of forage and just can’t seem to resist a buzzbait going over top them,” said Rowland.  

While he normally fishes a buzzbait as is right out of the package, he wouldn’t be a pro if he didn’t modify the bait to match the conditions or mood of the fish. If the wind is blowing hard, he may pull the skirt off and fish it plain or add a small grub.

If he notices the fish want the bait moving at a slower or faster pace that he’s capable of with that bait, he doesn’t necessarily cut it off and tie on a different one. Instead, he bends the blade “wings” or “cups” that catch the water and create rotation.

“To get a buzzbait to run really slow, I put a bigger cup in the blade by bending each one forward a little more,” he said. “I’m really looking at making it so the buzzbait blades will just barely turn keeping the lure on top. If I want a buzzbait to run really fast, I just open the cup on the blade more.”