By Shaun Rickard of Euro Canadian Outfitters
WEEDS AND STUCTURE
Spinnerbaits and buzzbaits are both excellent lures for fishing weedy, woody and generally snaggy areas due to their design. It is very easy to run these baits over, through and around most areas that would be impossible to fish using crankbaits or jerkbaits. When fishing areas with wood, brush and reeds etc. cast beyond these obstacles and retrieve your lure directly through them. Make the lure bounce off these obstacles and, if the water is deep enough, let it flutter down for a second or two after striking an object as this can actually cause a fish to strike. Whether this is out of reflex or anger is debatable, but either way it works.
TRAILERS AND STINGER HOOKS
My next tip to anyone who is going to use a spinnerbait or buzzbait for pike, bass or any kind of predator fishing is to add a split tail trailer to the lure as well as a stinger hook. Adding a stinger hook to the back of your lure will definitely reduce those short strikes by about 90%.
The most effective way to add the stinger hook is to take a large eyed hook such as a Siwash design just a bit smaller than the main hook. Once the plastic trailer has been slid onto the main hook, slide the stinger hook on with the point facing the same way as the main hook. Next take a small piece of silicon tube about 3mm in length and slide this over the main hook preventing the stinger hook from coming off during fishing (see the diagrams). I find this method much better than locking the stinger hook in place as the hook now has more play and fishes over structure 100% better than a rigid hook
I also cannot emphasize enough how important it is to make sure your hooks are razor sharp. Personally I won’t go fishing without a good hook file.
We’ll start with the buzzbait. I find this lure to be the most exciting one of the two, simply because I don’t think you can beat the thrill of a top water hit. It’s also the easiest one to retrieve as you simply reel it in. It’s important to remember though that once you get a comfortable retrieval speed and get that lure buzzing across the surface smoothly, you aren’t guaranteed to land most of the hits unless you follow a couple of important tips on how to set the hook.
Unlike with a spinnerbait where you generally feel the weight of the fish and then set the hook, the buzzbait is much different. The first thing you see when a fish hits a top water lure is a splash or a swirl, and this is where most anglers make the fatal mistake of setting the hook too early, hence pulling the lure away from the fish. You must wait until you feel the weight of the fish before you heave back on your rod. It’s a hard one to master, but until you do so expect to lose a few fish.
With spinnerbaits there are quite a few variations on how you can retrieve them; it’s not always a case of throwing the lure out there and reeling it in, although this can work. Here are a few tips that can put the odds of catching in your favour.
When you know that the fish are active try using a fast retrieve just under the surface. This is referred to as burning the spinnerbait, and it allows you to cover a lot of water quickly. If your lure starts to roll at high speed try twisting a piece of lead wire around the shaft of the main hook near the head. This extra weight allows the bait to be retrieved faster.
On colder days such as when a front may have come through your region, try slowing your retrieve way down, virtually crawling the bait along the bottom. Reel the lure up and then let it flutter down. Try speeding it up for a second and then slowing it down as all of these things can trigger a strike from an otherwise lethargic fish.
When fishing over weeds don’t be afraid to throw your bait right up in the thickest of foliage and rip it back when you feel it getting hung up, This is an unbelievable way of getting a fish to strike.
Also, try reeling it across large weed flats letting the lure flutter down into any holes or openings you might see as you never know what might be hiding down there, Remember, fish relate to any kind of structure.
When fishing fallen wood and stumps etc., again throw the lure up in there and bounce it over and through the obstacles causing the blades to bang and ding off of things - this will generally encourage a hit.
When fishing any kind of lure such as these I feel that it is imperative to have a good pair of polarized sunglasses. Without them you just wouldn’t believe how many fish have followed your bait to the boat or bank without you ever seeing them.
If you do see a fish follow up to the boat or shore don’t make the mistake so many anglers do and stop reeling. This will usually result in the fish turning away. The idea is to do completely the opposite and actually speed up your retrieve. This seems to anger the fish into striking.
If you’re in a boat or have deep enough water near the shore and the fish is very close, stick your rod in the water and make a figure eight continuous motion in the water, keeping about 12 inches of line between your rod tip and your lure. You would not believe how many big pike and muskie have been caught this way so close to the boat or shore. Just remember not to have your clutch / drag set too tight!
Another thing that I truly believe is that adding some kind of attractant to your lure will tremendously improve your chances of hooking a fish. Giving your bait a squirt of some kind of baitfish scent will not only be more appealing to the fish following it, but they will also hang on to it longer giving you a few more seconds to set the hook. Sometimes that’s all you need to change a bad day into a memorable one.
TUNING YOUR SPINNERBAIT OR BUZZBAIT
After hooking a few big fish your bait may get a bit bent out of shape. However, it’s important to keep your lure running true. To assure that happens check that your bait is lined up by holding the head and looking straight down at it. If the wire looks twisted in any way simply bend it back into position to avoid it rolling on the retrieve.
I hope that these tips help to improve your fishing skills and wish you luck on the water with our products.
Shaun Rickard, Euro Canadian Outfitters