John's Journal...

Specific Buzzing Tactics for Successful Bass Fishing with Bassmaster Classic Champion Rick Clunn

Day 5: Catching Lunker Bass in the Timber with Buzzbaits with Bassmaster Classic Champion Rick Clunn

Editor’s Note: According to Rick Clunn of Ava, Missouri, four-time Bassmaster Classic Champion, “The big 1/4-ounce buzzbait will attract better quality bass than many other lures. I believe the bigger the bait and the more the racket it makes, the larger a bass must be to eat it. Big bass require larger bait fish for a meal than smaller fish do. And, when that buzzbait comes walking across the water, running into structure and acting dazed, a big bass is more likely to inhale it than a small bass will. However, I really don’t care why a lunker largemouth seems to prefer a buzzbait more than small bass do. I just know from experience that it does.”

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewThere are basically two types of visible logs in the water – the ones that stand straight up (standing timber) and the ones that lie flat on the water or at an angle to the water (fallen structure). I catch more bass on fallen timber than I do standing timber. Once again, I believe it’s because the bass favor structure horizontal to the bottom rather than vertical to the bottom.

My favorite way to work a Lunker Lure on fallen structure is to have it running parallel to a log in the water. Every few feet I want the blade to hit the log, and the bait to appear stunned. If there is a bass lying up against the log, the fish will hit the bait instinctively. I like to throw past the tree in standing timber, bring the bait to the tree and have it hit the structure above the water line. Next, I cast to the opposite side of the tree and then in front of the tree. If the bass fails to hit the bait right after it collides with the structure, the fish usually will strike within 2-feet away from the tree. Timber, stumps and brush are second only to grass beds as my favorite spots for buzzing bass.

Some anglers have started to use trailer hooks, because they sometime miss bass when fishing buzzbaits. I’ve found that the trailer hook is more of a hindrance than a help to me. Although the trailer hook may enable you to hang bass that miss the bait, you’re giving up a lot when you add the extra hook to the back of the lure. The trailer hook doesn’t allow you to throw as close to a structure as I believe you need to fish. If you do go ahead and throw close to the structure, the extra hook generally will cause you to get hung in the structure twice as much as you will if you don’t have it.

More Tactics, Gimmicks and Gadgets for Buzzbaits:

If bass are missing your bait, slow your retrieve down, or else feed the bait to the bass when it strikes. One of the hardest tendencies to overcome when fishing a buzzbait is overreacting to the strike, especially when your strikes are far apart. Feel the fish on the line before you set the hook. Many times a bass will blow up out of the water and come down on the buzzbait. If you try to set the hook as soon as you see the bass break the surface, you will miss him, because the fish doesn’t have the lure in its mouth.

I try to wait to feel the fish before I set the hook. By doing that, I land more of the bass that strike at my lure, than I did before I learned to wait. Sometimes I even will give the bass a little bit of slack to make sure the fish has the bait in its mouth before I set the hook. This waiting is hard to learn and requires a lot of mental discipline.

Click for Larger ViewClick for Larger ViewThere’s been a lot of discussion about the length of the skirt and the amount of fluff that the skirt has when you are discussing buzzbaits for catching bass. I’ve found that the size of the blade and the tone of the lure (the sound it makes) are far more critical to the bait’s ability to call bass than are the length or the size of the skirt. For instance, the bass in Florida seem to prefer a much-softer gurgle and a much-quieter buzzbait than bass in other parts of the country. I don’t have any scientific research to back this finding up. I just know from experience that often a generic buzzbait with less sound and smaller blades catches more bass for me in Florida than a bait like a Lunker Lure does. The best suggestion I can make is that if bass seem to prefer one particular type of buzzbait over another one, try to give them the bait they want. You can find this out by testing several different varieties of buzzbaits in your region.

The buzzbait is an effective, deadly lure on big bass. You can throw it out, retrieve it and catch some fish, or you can tick it off the cover, learn to fish patterns within patterns and experiment with different types of buzzbaits to take more bass.

To learn more about bass fishing, get John E. Phillips’ Kindle eBooks, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro,” “How to Win a Bass Tournament” and “Catch the Most and Biggest Bass in Any Lake: 18 Pro Fishermen’s Best Tactics, “Hot Weather Bass Tactics” and “How to Become A Tournament Bass Fisherman” or go to, type in the names of the books, and download them to your Kindle and/or download a Kindle app for your iPad, SmartPhone or computer.


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About the Author

John Phillips, winner of the 2012 Homer Circle Fishing Award for outstanding fishing writer by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) and the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), the 2008 Crossbow Communicator of the year and the 2007 Legendary Communicator chosen for induction into the National Fresh Water Hall of Fame, is a freelance writer (over 6,000 magazine articles for about 100 magazines and several thousand newspaper columns published), magazine editor, photographer for print media as well as industry catalogues (over 25,000 photos published), lecturer, outdoor consultant, marketing consultant, book author and daily internet content provider with an overview of the outdoors. Click here for more information and a list of all the books available from John E. Phillips.

Check back each day this week for more about Specific Buzzing Tactics for Successful Bass Fishing with Bassmaster Classic Champion Rick Clunn"

Day 1: Bassmaster Classic Champion Rick Clunn on Buzzing for Bass Early in the Year
Day 2: Fishing the Torque of Buzzbaits and Buzzing Fallen Trees for Bass with Rick Clunn
Day 3: Buzzing Boat Docks for Bass with Bassmaster Classic Champion with Rick Clunn
Day 4: Buzzbaits Make a Racket in the Grass and on the Rocks That Calls Bass with Rick Clunn
Day 5: Catching Lunker Bass in the Timber with Buzzbaits with Bassmaster Classic Champion Rick Clunn

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Entry 771, Day 5