How to Fish a Buzzbait for Bass: Expert Tips & Techniques

Renowned as one of the most unique topwater baits in the sport of bass fishing, the buzzbait is a proven killer when it comes to drawing bass to the surface. In this article, we delve deep into the buzzbait and provide tips on how to fish this topwater weapon.

buzzbait fishing

What is a Buzzbait?

The buzzbait is a topwater wirebait that creates a lot of commotion on the surface with its free-spinning blade, while the skirted hook, often fished with a soft plastic trailer, sits just below. The blade spins as the lure is retrieved steadily, moving water on the surface and creating noise that’s hard to miss for any nearby bass.

The buzzbait is considered a really solid search bait and can cover loads of water in ideal conditions. Warmer water conditions (60 degrees+) will suit the buzzbait best, and this is a key factor to consider when fishing it, just like any other topwater technique.

The buzzbait is a pretty powerful topwater bait as it can imitate a large array of forage located near the surface. The angler decides this based on how they prepare the skirt and the hook. They can look to imitate fleeing baitfish on the surface, as well as other forage such as a frog cruising for cover.

Key Takeaways

  • Like spinnerbaits and chatterbaits, the buzzbait is a wirebait. Unlike the others, the buzzbait is a topwater lure.
  • Buzzbaits are a unique topwater lure that can be an effective search bait for shallow-water bass, however, it does require ideal conditions such as warmer water temperatures.
  • Can imitate a wide array of forage, such as baitfish fleeing on the surface, or a frog moving toward cover. Trailer and skirt selection is key when deciding what forage you’re trying to imitate.

Choosing the Right Buzzbait

There are numerous factors to consider when selecting a buzzbait, as well as ways in which you can modify your buzzbait. Here are the key things to note:

Size and Weight

The average, most versatile size for a buzzbait is 3/8oz. This is a good starting point for those that are mew to the buzzbait. One can look to a 1/4oz for more pressured fish, and a bigger 1/2oz in conditions where there’s more chop on the water from wind — a bigger profile will make your bait more visible in rougher conditions.

Color Selection

Choosing the color of your buzzbait, or the trailer color, should be based on water clarity. For clearer water, you’ll want to go with natural colors such as a green pumpkin. For more stained water, select a buzzbait or trailer with darker tones, or a shock color such as chartreuse.

Modifying your Buzzbait

The buzzbait is a wirebait that bass anglers will often modify when it comes to its features. A common action is to remove the skirt, while adding a soft plastic that imitates the forage in the system you’re fishing. Removing the skirt can often create a more lifelike presentation on the surface. The horny toad by Strike King is an ever-popular option for this modification, but as mentioned, you can look to apply any soft plastic that imitates the forage within the system you’re fishing.

How to Fish a Buzzbait for Bass: Zones, Retrieval, Times

While buzzbaits have the potential to be lethal topwater baits, understanding how to fish them will determine how successful you’ll be with them. We’ll cover where to throw them, when to throw them, as well as the necessary retrieval. 

Where to Throw a Buzzbait

Like other topwater baits, you’ll want to focus on shallow cover zones with the buzzbait. It has major potential to draw fish up from the bottom, especially when fished on the edges of vegetation such as:

  • Lily pads
  • Brush piles
  • Flooded grass
  • Logs

One thing to consider with the buzzbait is that is not weedless like other topwater baits such as the hollow-body frog. For this reason, it’s not a bait that you’ll want to throw directly into vegetation like you would with a frog. Be mindful of the cast you’re making and try to stay on the outskirts of threatening cover/vegetation.

When to Throw a Buzzbait: Temperature & Time

As mentioned earlier, the buzzbait is a bait that will always get more bites with warmer temperatures. Ideally, you’ll want to see water temperatures of 60 degrees and above before throwing the buzzbait consistently.

In terms of time of day, lower light conditions will see more action on the buzzbait, purely because of the noise and commotion it creates. This means that early mornings and early evenings are going to be the high percentage times of day for the buzzbait.

Retrieval & Cadence

A steady retrieval that initiates the consistent spinning of the blade is necessary for the buzzbait. The speed of the retrieval should be based on the conditions you’re fishing.

Clearer water conditions can actually promote a faster retrieval as bass will have less time to view their potential meal. More stained conditions should result in a slower retrieval, ideally with a bigger buzzbait.

Warm, ideal water temperatures (60-70 degrees) can see a relatively fast retrieval as these are optimal feeding conditions for bass. As you get warmer, or colder, bass become more lethargic and a slower retrieval will work best.

Seasonal Considerations for Bass Fishing with Buzzbait

When it comes to seasons, the buzzbait isn’t necessarily an all-season bait. It definitely performs better in the warmer parts of the year and can be a powerful weapon to cover water around banks during the favorable months.

Warm Seasons Are Best

With warmer water comes more actively feeding bass, and bass that are more willing to eat off the surface. Summer, spring, and fall are the months to dial in your buzzbait fishing,


Summer sees bass move deeper in the heat of the day while moving shallower in the early hours of the morning and evening. These are going to be your best times to fish a buzzbait in summer, so get out early and fish late.


As bass spawn during spring, the buzzbait can be a surprisingly effective weapon at drawing females off their beds. Dialing in on areas that fit a bass’s spawn is key for buzzbait fishing during the spring. Once again — the early hours of the day and late afternoons are your best option.


The fall presents arguably some of the best conditions for topwater fishing as bass will generally migrate and remain around shallower areas. With the cooler temperatures, you can look to throw topwater baits for longer periods and throughout the day.


Fishing the buzzbait can result in some of the most aggressive topwater bites in bass fishing because of the baits loud, annoying and somewhat realistic presence. It’s a technique that requires optimal conditions, but if these conditions are in your favor, this is a crazy fun bait to throw.

Guest post by Steve Raath, Co-Founder of TackleLab

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