Specific Buzzing Tactics for Successful Bass Fishing with Bassmaster Classic Champion Rick Clunn
Day 1: Bassmaster Classic Champion Rick Clunn on Buzzing for Bass Early in the Year
Editor’s Note: According to Rick Clunn of Ava, Missouri, four-time Bassmaster Classic Champion, “The big 1/4-ounce buzzbait will attract better quality bass than many other lures. I believe the bigger the bait and the more the racket it makes, the larger a bass must be to eat it. Big bass require larger bait fish for a meal than smaller fish do. And, when that buzzbait comes walking across the water, running into structure and acting dazed, a big bass is more likely to inhale it than a small bass will. However, I really don’t care why a lunker largemouth seems to prefer a buzzbait more than small bass do. I just know from experience that it does.”
I’ve also learned that big bass often will move into extremely shallow waters during the colder months of the year. So I’m able to catch a lot of big bass when other anglers feel like the season is too early to start buzzbait fishing – one of the keys to successful buzzbait fishing. I start using racket baits before other anglers show them to the fish. I think bass have wised-up to buzzbaits, and that the bait may not be as good as it once was when it first came on the market. But by beginning early in the year, you can get the jump on other anglers and catch a lot of big bass on a buzzbait before the rest of the fishermen begin to throw it.
I usually start chunking the buzzbait at the end of February and the first of March, depending on what part of the country I’m fishing. When the water temperature is in the low 50s, and there are 4 or 5 days of really warm weather, little pockets and coves will warm up. Bass will move into these shallow water areas and go on feeding sprees. This time is when the buzzbait turns on the bass. Other anglers think that the weather is still too cold to fish top-water lures. However, I’ve found just the opposite to be true. Although the buzzbait will continue to be productive through the spring and summer, you really can get a head start on everyone else by fishing for bass in February and March.
Manufacturers have begun to make buzzbaits in all sizes. But I still prefer the 1/4-ounce Lunker Lure type bait with the one big blade. I use light-colored baits on bright days and dark-colored baits on overcast days. The bass will tell you how fast or how slowly to retrieve your bait. If two of you are fishing, one needs to really burn the bait across the top of the water, while the other angler retrieves the bait much more slowly. From the first few strikes you get, you’ll be able to tell at what rate of speed the bass are most likely to take the bait. If you are fishing by yourself, make some retrieves slow, and some retrieves fast. The bass will tell you by the number of strikes you get which retrieve is best for that day.
One tactic I have found to be critical to successful buzzbait fishing is to allow the buzzbait to hit the structure. I call this action, “ticking your bait.” For instance, cast close enough to the exposed limbs of a submerged tree, so that when the buzzbait comes by the limbs on the surface, the lure will hit the limbs and stop the blade from spinning. When the lure makes contact with the structure, it sends vibrations down under the water and gets the bass’s attention. Then when the bait starts to run again, it moves erratically away from the limb like it has been hurt. Often this action will cause the bass to strike.
To learn more about bass fishing, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro,” “How to Win a Bass Tournament” and “Catch the Most and Biggest Bass in Any Lake: 18 Pro Fishermen’s Best Tactics, “Hot Weather Bass Tactics” and “How to Become A Tournament Bass Fisherman” or go to http://www.amazon.com/kindle-ebooks, type in the names of the books, and download them to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.
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About the Author
John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.