A technique that I really love in the month of August is using a buzzbait. There are lots of different buzzbaits on the market these days. In the month of August, a lot of fish are still out deep, but it's getting late into the summer and sometimes you start getting those cool nights--especially as you get into August--and a lot of those fish will actually start coming shallow. There's something that happens in August and rolls over into September wherein a lot of these fish will get up on flatter banks and feed on bluegill. It happens all day long, and you can catch them on a buzzbait.
You put that trolling motor on high 60-70 percent, chunk and wind, chunk and wind. You just cast it and reel it. It's a reaction-style bite and, man, it catches a lot of big fish. There are a couple of key things that I want to go over when it comes to buzzbait fishing because I think it'll help you get a few more bites. Those two key things are sound and profile.
Let's talk about sound first. I use two different kinds of buzzbaits. One is a non-clacker version. It doesn't have any kind of a clacker on it, so all you're going to hear when I reel this through the water is the squeal of the spinner blade hitting a rivet. It's going to be a little bit more subtle. The clacker version has a tungsten ball hanging in just the right spot so every time the spinner blade makes a rotation it hits the ball and it gives you that "clack, clack, clack, clack" sound.
Now, when would you choose one over the other? On a day when there's more commotion in the water, such as in windy or drizzly weather, I'm going to go for the spinner bait with the clacker. I want to draw those fish up out of deeper water. If I'm fishing in dirty water, or even muddy water, I'm going to go for that clacker every single time. If I'm in a clear water situation, I'm going to go with the more subtle presentation; I want the squeal instead of that knock. If you get into a really high-pressure situation where the fish have been fished a lot, or the water is super clear, or you're in a place that doesn't have a lot of big fish, drop down to a little quarter-ounce buzzbait or maybe even a little bitty eighth-ounce buzzbait. It's more subtle and will get you more bites.
There are a couple of little tweaks that I like to do with a buzzbait. Sometimes I'll take the skirt completely off and I thread on a Strike King Menace Grub. That works really well, or toads work really well. You see a lot of guys take the skirt off and run a Zoom Horny Toad up on there that also works well. I've caught a lot of big fish that way. There are two reasons why you want to do that. Number one, you can skip this bait a lot easier if you come up to a dock or a low-hanging tree. Fish also eat this type of bait a lot better. Sometimes I still use the skirt and just put a trailer up on there. So play around with that. Swim baits work really well. You can thread a swim bait up on the back of your buzzbait.
Sound and profile: get that dialed in and you'll catch a lot more fish, especially in the month of August. Good luck on the water, guys!
--Pro Angler Brandon Lester