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The little white wonder

Jimmy M.

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I have fished an 1/8 white buzz bait for river smallies for 20 years now and have found some little tweaks that will make this bait more effective than typical "off the shelf" baits and thought I might pass them along.

Most of the buzzers you can purchase off the shelf are scaled down versions of larger more popular versions of established baits and may or may not work as well as you may want.

The first thing is the size of the wire form used, typically .035 wire which makes them more durable, but impedes the free spinning action of smaller blades causing the angler to retrieve faster to make the bait work.

Try this:

Remove the blade from the bait, insert the tip of a knife ( I use an old pocket knife) and enlarge the holes at the front and the rear slightly ( I also recommend the blades with the holes in the center line of the blade ). Do this from the front side on both ends ( this is important and will explain a little later.

Take a small fine file or rough grit sand paper and scuff up the rounded face of the rivet and the excess material from the back part of the blade you have just reamed.

The reason for this is that it creates a rough surface at the point were these 2 components meet on the retrieve causing them to "squeak".

I do not use a bead on the rear of the blade, nor do i bend the wire over when putting the bait back together to keep the rivet from slipping off, simply reassemble the components,take a hammer and flatten the wire and rivet collar as far back on the wire as possible, it will stand up to hours of fishing just fine, and lets it free spin. This little trick adds a little different noise to the bait and allows the blade to spin effortlessly at slow speed retrieval.

I skipped ahead just a bit.(sorry).

Before you reinstall the blade and rivet back on the bait put the SMALLEST bead that will fit over the wire on first. This keeps the blade from getting stuck on the leading bend of the blade arm. It also helps to bend this, "bend" in the wire on a slightly sharper angle.

The next tweak revolves around the skirt. I use Lumiflex skirts because they flow and ripple on retrieve much better than any other material available on the market, I also trim them back to about 1/4 inch past the bend in the hook and pull out a few of the strands. This gives the bait a smaller profile and also increase the "feel" of the bait as it travels threw the water, and doesn't make it fell so much like there is a blob of moss on it.

Note: most skirts are designed for larger baits, so when you remove strains of material, the collar wants to slip down, and these skirt collars also deteriorate after use. The solution is to tweak the skirt to your liking, push it up over the keeper, tie it down with small diameter wire, then remove the collar and save it for a later step.

The next 2 tweaks are for the times when a smallie boils on the bait and misses.

I am not a big fan of using curly tailed grubs as trailers per say, they make this smaller sized bait feel awkward and reduce the action of this bait (in my opinion).

How ever, as we all know, a bass doesn't "grab" these types of reaction bait, they suck it in. Well if there isn't some sort of "mass" for the suction to "pull" against, they don't get a good pull when they woof at it. To solve this problem I take a 2" grub and cut the curly tail of and thread it on to the hook with the "pointy end' forward.(make sure to get it on straight and dead on threw the middle of the bait or it will ride up on its side. The small grub adds mass which will improve hook ups and aid a bit when casting this tiny offering.

Mustad makes a short shank trailer hook (made famous by Kevin Van Dam) that is ideal for this bait, and being a short shank makes it a bit more snag free than the normal longer style. Remember the skirt collar you removed? Cut it in half. Puncture one piece on the main hook, add the trailer hook, and then puncture the second half to hold it in place and allow it to move freely.

My final tip in this long winded dissertation is about line. Do not use flourcarbon line, it sinks. Larger diameter supple line ( I use Stren clear blue in 12#) it keeps the bait up and allows it to work it magic. Note: I slip the river when using this bait, hitting as many pockets from as many angles, as I go by, so I use a bait caster with a 6' limber rod, Short accurate cast. If your bait lands a foot from shore, most times you have wasted it.

I hope this helps a bit with buzzin up samllies for those of you who use this'Little White Wonder"

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rich me,

I do not concentrate on water temp, but rather seasonal condition when I decide to pick up a buzzbait for the first time each season.

My best guess is that water temps around the 52/53 degree temp will produce "some" strikes with this bait ( I don't pay much attention to water temp after the spawning ritual, so an exact starting temp is a little hard to pin point).

Consider this:

Any fish that will swat at a buzzer, do so out of a triggered reaction, much like when the doctor tells you to cross your legs then hits you bellow the knee with that little rubber hammer. You can,t keep your leg from jumping out there.

I have heard other fishermen claim that if you throw into a spot enough times you PO a bass into striking. I don't really think that fish feel emotions so I have dismissed that little theory, and feel that multiple casts that result in a strike are generated by the specific set of circumstances required to trigger that particular fish.

If you have Lilac bushes in your area, wait till they are in full bloom, then give my little bait a try.

Also, in my experience, the whole "low light" conditions are the best for this bait (morning, cloudy days etc.) is not exactly the most accurate of assumptions.

Through the summer time when fish are spread out ,and then in the Fall when they start the fall feed, sunny days have proved time after time to be the ticket for me. The only real exception is the summer time night bite, if you haven't done this you are missing out on the big fish bite.

Originally I posted this topic in an effort to pass along specific "tweaking" techniques for a buzzbait. The best time or way to fish this bait may differ for you or others that fish it. My ramblings about specifics conditions are not gospel per say, just my opinions, so experiment away and good luck.

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Gegg S,

As for taking a few pic's and posting them.

It's pretty flattering that you consider this important enough to share it in the news letter, there is a small problem.

I haven't got a clue on what pics to add or even how to go about it.

For instance, what resolution will enable the "file" size to be emailed or posted....yadda yadda yadda.

If you can email me some specifics on how to got about this process I would be more than happy to share what I can.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Excellent write up. I use 1/4 oz counter rotating blades over single blade, modifying the holes so the blades barely nick each other. Good tips all on the filing and tinkering.


Good tip about thinning the skirt. I usually do that, it helps in getting more distance in the cast. Now adding the grub, I've done - I'll try more this year to see if the rear end wait hooks more fish.


A couple ways for more hook ups are building on longer shaft buzzbait (blade chop obscures the skirt) and bending a kind of sleek _/- to put the skirt an inch or so further beneath the surface. Trailer hook.


One thing I somewhat disagree about, is making short casts.


The key for me to most topwaters is allowing the fish to react to the bait and not your noise afoot or spooked fish stampeding upstream away from you. Long, accurate casts get more bites for me. That's why I've gone away from 1/8th ozers towards 1/4 counter rotators. They can be reeled slow or fast to get strikes and don't flop on their sides at all. Thinned skirts also help with cast distance.

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