Buzzbait Smallmouth in Rivers
In my opinion, buzzbait smallmouth fishing in rivers is a different animal compared to lakes. Most articles you read discuss that buzzbaits are best fished early in the morning or late in the day or when bass are shallow.
I took my daughter fishing today in a small river near my house. We got there at 11:30 am, in mid July, with a partly sunny sky.
The only thing the smallies wanted today was the buzzbait. They were hitting it in riffle areas as well as at the head of pools. Over the past month, I have used the buzzbait as a search bait all day long to find active smallmouths.
Once I have fished out the area with the buzzbait, I would fish the same areas with a grub, tube or fluke style bait and picked up a few stragglers.
I have had success during the day in summer with the buzzbait on frequent occasions and I love it.
I thought I’d provide some buzzbait tips when fishing for smallies in rivers to help you find active fish.
Buzzbait smallmouth in rivers
Buzzbaits are the ultimate river reaction bait for smallmouth. That’s a lesson I learned from Kevin Turner, owner of River Pro Boats, a fine line of jet boats. Until meeting Turner a few years ago, I rarely used a buzzer on the river.
Turner fishes a buzzbait all summer on the upper Mississippi River, where he fishes frequently. He instructs anglers to make long casts, “peel” the lure back at 90 degrees to the river’s flow, and use 40-pound braided line to ensure positive hook-ups in strong currents. Bouncing his bait off a craggy shore, he drags it into the water, churning it past protruding rocks in fast water, and burns it across swirling current seams. This high-speed, unorthodox approach attracts crushing strikes in just inches of water.
A buzzbait is now my first choice for rushing water when there’s only time for one quick cast to a current break before the boat is swept past. Smallmouths, however, have even less time to decide whether or not to strike the passing bait. Hungry or not, they react!
Casting distance with a buzzbait can be increased substantially by removing the silicone skirt and replacing it with an aerodynamic soft plastic body, such as a YUM Houdini Shad or Berkley PowerBait Jerk Shad. Or leave the hook bare, as Turner sometimes does. Source
Get that buzzbait on a plane fast!
As Blaine explains, make sure you gt the bait moving as soon as it hits the water to maximize your retrieve.
Next time you get out on the river, try a buzzbait first when you are searching for smallmouth bass. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.