By Shaye Baker
A buzzbait is one of the best topwater lures of all time for both beginners and seasoned pros alike. For the angler just getting into bass fishing, a buzzbait is an easy lure to use that catches lots of fish and big ones. Simply reel this bait across the top of the water, where any error in technique is evident. If the bait dips down below the surface, speed up the retrieve. If the prop gets a little trash on it and stops spinning, reel it in and clean it up.
For the angler who has been around awhile, this bait can be used in a wide variety of ways. You can remove the skirt and replace it with a soft plastic lure to help the bait skip under cover. And the savvy fisherman knows, this is one of the first topwater baits you can use to get a bite as the waters start to warm.
One of the best characteristics of a buzzbait is that it’s fairly weedless. But we’re actually going to forgo this feature today to offer up a tip for open water buzzbait fishing that will help you put more fish in the boat and haul big bass to the bank. We’re going to add a treble hook to the mix.
Technique one: trailer treble -
There are two ways to use a treble hook with a buzzbait. The first is by simply adding a treble hook as a trailer hook. Single trailer hooks can greatly increase the hookup ratio on short-striking buzzbait biters. But adding a three prong treble hook as a trailer hook makes a buzzbait even stickier, for cover and bass alike. So this decreases the bait’s weedlessness.
Since this will make a buzzbait more prone to hang cover, using treble hook trailers is mainly beneficial around sparse cover and in open water. In the spring, summer and fall you can take a buzzbait and just cover water, going down grass lines, hard banks and fishing around docks. In all these situations, a treble trailer hook works well and gives you the best chance of catching bass that eat a buzzbait and those that just swipe at one as well.
Most treble hooks have fairly large eyes which can easily slip over the main hook of a buzzbait. The only problem, it can slip off easily as well. To prevent this, you can cover the eye of the treble with rubber hosing before adding it to your buzzbait, but even with this in place the hook could potentially be pulled off. Using the clicker end of a ziptie as a trailer hook keeper is one of the best ways to keep a treble hook from sliding off the main hook during a fight.
Technique two: replace the main hook -
Technique two is a little more in-depth, but creates a compact and extremely effective open water buzzbait. This one will be a little more sketchy though, and requires some patience. You’ll start by cutting the hook point off of your buzzbait, and then slowly bending the hook shaft to make an eye. If you do this too quickly, the shaft will likely break. And if you don’t cut the hook point off and the shaft breaks, you can hurt yourself in a hurry.
Before completely closing the eye, you’ll want to slip a large split ring onto the shaft. Then as you close the eye, it’s best to slightly offset the shaft so that the end slides past the bottom of the led head. This will make it less likely that the split ring will be pulled off the buzzbait on the fight. You can further secure the hook by using a touch of J-B Weld or other compound to close the eye off completely.
Once the shaft has been bent to form and eye, you can use a pair of split-ring pliers to add a treble hook to your bait. Now you have a compact buzzbait with a whole lot of sting snuck right into the middle of the skirt.
Final thoughts -
Whichever way you choose to add a treble hook to your bait, it’s important to pay attention to the orientation of the hook points. A treble hook can be mounted to where one of the three hooks is either pointed straight down or straight up. If one point is down, this bait is much more likely to hang. With one hook point up, the otter two sit flat and the bait is far more weedless.
The hook size you use should vary with the size of the buzzbait. Use smaller trebles with 1/4- ounce baits and larger ones with 3/8- and 1/2- ounce buzzbaits. The bolder and larger the hook, the heavier it will be. This means you’ll have to reel the bait faster to keep it on top. So sometimes, in the fall for instance, it’s a good idea to go with a little bit lighter presentation, with a small treble on a 1/4- ounce bait. And in the summer when a buzzbait can be fished faster, beef up the presentation with a 1/2- ounce lure and larger treble.
Pairing a treble hook with a buzzbait is a great way to catch more fish with a lure that sometimes only draws a swipe form a reluctant bass. And for those that eat the bait well, a treble hook almost always ensures the bass will make it to the boat. Try these tips on your local fisheries and see for yourself.