Fishermen are starting to catch on to the importance of profile when using buzzbaits, especially in the fall when the fish are more particular. When you’re fishing a buzzbait and the fish either miss it or just swirl at it, usually it’s a speed thing or the profile in the water isn’t right. They’re keying on something, and you’ve got to figure it out. Slow down, or speed up. If there is something wrong with the profile, that can be fixed too. I remove the skirt completely and replace it with a soft plastic. It’s great for skipping under docks, but it’s not just for skipping. Depending on what I try and how the fish react, that soft plastic might be a frog-type bait such as a Gene Larew Three-Legged Frog, a crawfish or a swimbait. It changes how high or low the buzzbait sits in the water and how fast you can fish it effectively. For instance, adding a fairly large soft-plastic trailer provides some resistance to the water and lets the buzzbait’s head and hook stay down in the water a bit more. Also, a soft plastic gives the fish something to grab and hang on to.
Recently, I designed a buzzbait called The Game Changer for Accent Bait Company. It has a soft-plastic keeper, the right blade design, the right wire size and so forth. In my opinion every component of a buzzbait has to be just right. At last year’s Forrest Wood Cup, I caught all the fish that I weighed except one on this bait. I can put soft plastics on it, make a clacker out of it, or make it a squeaker or chirper – sometimes bass want one or the other, and sometimes you can’t have both in the same bait, but you can with The Game Changer.
This is the time of year when everything matters. The fish are picky. It’s hard to get a bite, and when you get one, you better have the right bait on to get a solid hookup. For me, it’s all about using the right buzzbait and being able to change the profile to match up with what the fish want that day.