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Fishing for Bass with Spinner Baits and Buzz Baits  Rating:  Rating
 Posted: Tue Sep 1st, 2009 08:35 am
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Cpt. Hook

Joined: Mon Feb 9th, 2009
Location: Durban, South Africa
Posts: 3360
Equipment: More rods than she has shoes
Best Catch: Several good catches, love them all
Favorite Fishing Spot: Canyons
Boat: Fat Girl - Silverton 10.4m Sport Fisher
Spinner Baits and Buzz Baits are one of the traditional methods of catching Bass, and even today they remain a very effective and popular way of fishing for Bass. I have seen many an angler fishing with spinner baits, and in most cases they simply cast out and bring it back with a moderate and even retrieve, and so in this article I will try and give a few hints and tips to using these baits in a few different ways so you can become more effective when using these baits.


Spinner Baits and Buzz Baits are a very effective search patterns and you can cover a lot of water in a short space of time, they will cause a reaction bite and are relatively easy to fish and reasonably snag free.


The rod required would be a soft/slow action rod to allow the rod to bend a little when a fish takes your bait and allow him time to swallow your bait, and whilst longer rods will give you more distance, shorter rods will give you more accuracy and so I am more in favour of a shorter rod around 6’6”. The only reel to consider here will be a low profile bait caster with a gear ratio of around 6:1. A bait caster will allow you to follow down when lifting over structure. You could use flouro carbon line, but I prefer using a mono filament line due to the amount of stretch it has and this will help with snags and when moving around structure, 12lb – 16lb will do the job, I personally use Suffix 12lb to do this job with a Shimano 6’8” rod.


When casting with spinner baits it is better to use an underhand cast as opposed to an overhand cast, and if you practice this you will learn to deliver your spinner bait into the water with only a little plop and not a big splash, this is important when casting onto structure as a big splash could scare any Bass that are around and they will leave the area making your efforts futile.


When fishing in shallow water you should switch of your sounder and ease upon using your sneaker motor, do not make bangs or noises on the boat, speak softly and wear darker colour clothes.


Spinner baits come in a variety of colours and there are also a variety of blades and blade combinations, trailer hooks, trailer baits, rattles and skirts and the correct use of these can also assist you into being more effective. You can also tune your spinner bait for the speed of the retrieve.

There are also the blade only type spinners which are also extremely effective and produce awesome takes, but these are for faster fishing and snag easily so you need to get your casting skills right before you start to use these.


In almost all circumstances I prefer to bulk up my spinner bait and add a trailer hook and nice fat trailer bait that has a lot of movement on it. Only in very heavy cover will I leave a trailer hook off.


When you get onto the water do not make the mistake of just casting out and starting to retrieve, rather spend a few moments checking out the area and planning your casts, style and which spinner bait you will require for these casts. Then you can set your rig up and most importantly position your boat in the right place to make the cast. In many places you only get to make one effective cast and so you need to make it count.


Fishing amongst structure is one of my favourite ways to target Bass with spinner baits, and this kind of structure works well with a slow roll retrieve and a Spinner Bait that has a combination of Willow blade and a Colorado blade. As you are retrieving with this slow roll your spinner bait will knock into structure, and this is the key to catching Bass in these areas. As your spinner bait bumps into structure you lift it, speed up the retrieve and then stop retrieving and let it fall whilst following it down with your rod and ensuring that you keep a light tension on your line whilst the spinner bait is falling, it is on the fall or when you start retrieving again after the fall that you will usually get your take, and bumping the spinner bait into the structure alerts the fish and he will then see it lift, the skirt will flare and excite the Bass and he will take the bait on the fall, or when you lift it from the fall. Watch your line on the fall and if it moves sideways strike it is a fish, if the line suddenly goes slack reel up fast (the reason for a fast retrieve reel) and strike, it is a fish, it is not always going to be a solid pull when the fish takes and so you need to watch for these subtle takes and you will stop missing 75% of your takes as approximately only 25% are going to be positive solid pulls and therefore turn more casts into takes, and more takes into fish on the boat. The softer rod and mono filament line is also going to act as a shock absorber and increase the chances of the hook setting and reduce the spinner bait getting ripped out of the fishes mouth before the hook gets a chance to penetrate. When fishing Spinner Baits this way I usually will add a trailer hook, a long trailer bait and I also like to add a rattle. I like the skirts to be of the double strip type that have the elastic band holding the strips together, rather that a moulded one with a single row of strips.

For this slow roll type fishing with spinner baits you will tune them for a slower retrieve by opening the blade arm towards a 90 degree angle to the jig head.


Jerk and Drop is a newer way to fish spinnerbaits which I learnt about from watching a Kevin Van Dam video, and is extremely effective, you have to try it; it is the ultimate way to get a reaction bite on a spinner bait. Here you have a spinner bait set up with a single willow and a shorter blade arm than the usual doubles. Here you will cast out with the underhand cast which is very important as you need to deliver your bait as quietly as possible without a splash and as accurately as possible. The main idea with jerk and drop is to cover as much ground as possible with the blade falling and then rising again.

You cast out to a structure, and try to deliver your spinner right in front or next to it depending on what kind of structure, and then keeping contact with your line allow your spinner to fall, as it hits the bottom, you jerk it up hard like you would when striking with soft plastics, and then again keeping contact with your line, let it fall again, you carry on in this way until you are at least half way back to the boat. If you feel your spinner bump into structure along the way, let it fall, always keeping contact with your line.


Other ways to fish spinner baits is in grass with a double willow blade set up, using the slow roll in deeper grass and in shallow grass tune your blade arm back and burn it, or even burn and pause, it is extremely effective to pause when you bump structure. It is also extremely effective to fish parallel to structure or channels and here you can use the slow roll or jerk and drop retrieves and again if you feel your spinner bump structure let it fall keeping contact with your line and always watch if your line moves sideways or suddenly goes slack as these are takes.


In clear water I prefer to use spinners with silver blades, and more natural colours, darker colours and black, and in stained water I prefer to use gold colour or even bright painted blades with white and bright colour spinners like fruit salad or chartreuse. Also effective in lower light conditions will be spinners with 2 tone colours like yellow or red on top with a black bottom.


Buzz baits are basically the top water version of spinnerbaits and are best fished early morning, late afternoon or in stained water and also in heavy cover, thick weed beds, lily pads and grass, very similar to frogging.


With buzz baits you use a longer rod like a 7’2” or even a 7’6” to get leverage and a fast ratio bait caster with a 7:1 ration with a heavy flouro carbon line of around 20lb, or even in some circumstances 30lb. The rod must also be a medium action rod to allow the fish to swallow, but it must have a serious back bone for fighting the fish, and so a medium/heavy or a heavy rod is required. The thickness or colour of you line is not important as if fished properly your line will not be in the water. Here you will cast into the structure and then retrieve over the grass, lilies or weeds. You need the fast ratio reel to reel in your slack line as fast as possible after the cast to prevent the buzz bait from sinking and to allow for as much top water time as possible. I usually start retrieving before my buzz bait hits the water to get the maximum top water time. It is essential to hold your rod tip high and to retrieve moderate to fast and keep your buzz bait on the top where it was designed to be effective. You will also need the heavy line to horse your bass out of the cover and so I keep my drag locked tight so when I get the strike I can put immediate pressure on the fish and prevent him going deep and I force him out the structure. In some conditions I even have my sneaker ready to reverse the boat away from the structure so I can get my bass into open water to get him to the boat.


Buzz baits is an exhilarating way to get bass, and usually the take is an explosion on the water surface followed by your line going instantly tight and you rod tip bent almost double, the fight is usually short and hard, leaving you satisfied and the bass frustrated.


There are various types of buzz baits around, single propeller, twin propeller and even dual in line propellers. With buzz baits it is all about noise on the water surface, and if you can get your propellers to squeak even better. Tie your buzz baits on the roof rack of your car so when your drive the propellers can spin and wear in on the shafts to get the squeaking happening. In water conditions with less cover you can add trailers, but I prefer to fish without trailers.


Bright colours and white are popular colours for stained water, but I like to fish an all black squeaky buzz bait which is my personal favourite and my go to buzz bait. Two tones colours like black/purple, black/yellow and black/red are also extremely effective in low light conditions.


Spinner Baits and Buzz Baits are not complicated to use and you can very quickly learn how to use them, especially for children. They are a good search pattern and get a reaction bite. They are relatively snag free and if looked after last long. They work all year round and can be used from a boat, from the side, or in rivers and ponds.

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