Here are some of the buzzbaits above I recently got in the mail from a buddy. They are 1/4 oz and 3/8th's oz counter- rotating long shaft buzzers with a clacker. Sexy. I have always been a fan of buzzbaits that make a 'clacking' metallic sound. These baits are promising for the noise and long shaft that hopefully will hold the minnow 2-3" below the turbulence cause by the blades. More visible to the bass- I have high hopes for this bait and initial tests have been excellent: http://anthraxinyoursoup.blogspot.com/2008/06/51008-post-spawn-madness.html.
I'll be reporting this year on these new baits.
Enter the 'Wolkabuzz':
The Wolkabuzz has been the gold standard for me the last 4 years for smallmouth bass topwater. 1/4 oz counter rotating blades, that cast well, nearly impossible to snag, and easily adjustable by bending the top frame or front blade. The WBZ has caught so many fish for me. It is a great search bait, and pulls fish out of wood better than any bait I know. Downside, some days hookup percent is less than 50% even with a 1/0 Gamakatsu trailer hook. Other days, fish are actually spooked by buzzbaits.
In my mind, these types of baits can be one of the best consistent producers of both sizable smallmouth bass and numbers of smallmouth bass in rivers and streams here in Indiana. Something about the clacking of a buzzbait infuriates smallies, they just have to smash them.
Look for excellent castability in a buzzbait. You want to cast the bait beyond your noise and shadow as not to spook any fish (including rough fish). Start the retrieve before the bait hits your target. Casting long helps here. Anything from a quick to slow to sputtering rhythm will draw strikes. Buzzbaiting is a tight line technique, do not allow slack in your line. Use a loose drag to prevent sudden break offs as some strikes can be vicious!
Do not react at the splash from the fish or you will pull the bait away from the fish and prevent follow up strikes. 'Feel' the fish on the bait before tightening up or setting the hook. Braided lines can help with hook setting percentage because they have no stretch. The bass often hook themselves.
Toss the buzzbait into the thickest cover and carefully weave in and out of branches and limbs. Don't be afraid to drag it over logs and cover. This will often draw the most strikes. Run it down parallel to logs and cover as opposed to perpendicular when you can. Make lots of casts, run and gun. When smallies will hit a buzzbait (clear stable conditions), many will usually do so. By moving you will find more large fish.
Sometimes it seems fish will turn off to a buzzbait after dark. You can often get them to strike at night by going super slow, allowing the Buzz to 'bubble'. This also works in the day when fish don't want it fast. If the Buzzbait bite stops, do not assume topwater has stopped. Try a different topwater lure. Maybe fish are turned off to the noise or profile. They will strike some kind of topwater all day long most summer and fall days.
Experiment and find what works each day. Another reason to use a snap or carry an extra rigged rod. Buzzbaits can be the most effective and fun bait out there. Give them a try!