“When bass are actively feeding, they hunt for prey rather than wait in one spot,” explained Larry. “I like to throw a buzzbait designed to appeal to their sense of sight, and fish it in open water where they are hunting.”
Bluegill, crappie, shiners, and trout are large meals favored by lunker bass. Being experienced hunters, big bass herd their prey against a bank, weed line, or brush line to confuse their prey and then cut off their escape path, making them easy to devour.
“Bass like to hunt along edges of cover, where they use edges to trap schools of baitfish and larger prey from escape,” Larry added.
Likewise docks and timber in open water provide high- percentage locations to use a buzzbait that is specifically designed for open water. This is where a buzzbait designed for open water stands out from a regular buzzbait; but what makes an open water buzzbait different?
As swimbait specialists know, every detail makes a difference. Size, color, shape, vibration, sound, flash, action, and more all play a role in triggering strikes. The slightest modification of any component can make the difference on whether the bait is ignored or crushed.
Larry reveals his secret ingredient in open water buzzbaits are anodized, colored double blades. This is the difference- maker that provides color, flash, and sound unlike what is produced with plain blades of common buzzbaits.
Color, flash and sound become especially important when fishing clear open water typical of southern California reservoirs like Larry’s home Lake Casitas. They are equally important across the country in any lake, reservoir, or river where bass live in clear water.
Back to why would a bass eat a metal contraption with whirling blades in the first place.
The surface disturbance produced by the rapidly spinning blades simulates the disturbance created by fleeing prey. Viewed below the water surface from the bass’ perspective, the surface disturbance is a serious attention-getter that screams fast food. Then the head and skirt are attacked by the bass as they ride lower than the surface disturbance.
The anodized dual counter-rotating blades track straight and provide
the sound, flash, and surface disturbance that signifies a small school of fleeing baitfish.
They also provide the lift necessary to keep the lure on the surface, at different retrieve speeds. The sound is distinctive and attractive, which makes the bait effective in low light and night conditions, and even in turbid water such as along mudlines created by water skiers and waves.
So, what about color to match the hatch?
Having double anodized blades allows different blade colors to be combined to vary the presentation.
For example, a bluegill imitating buzzbait may have a purple anodized blade that is paired with a blue anodized blade. This creates a unique color pattern that produces the type of flash expected for a bluegill pattern.
Other hatch-matching patterns can also be created. Trout patterns can include two anodized red blades or blades with a mix red and purple or red and blue. In situations where crappie are prevalent, a crappie pattern can be matched with both black and white anodized blades.
Using these color combinations with anodized blades as opposed to common blades gives the buzzbait a different flash and sound, allowing you to match the local color patterns that are specific to the prey in the area.
OPEN WATER GEAR
Larry opts for a 7’5” iRod Genesis II Fred’s Magic Stick IRG 754F-H, a Lew’s Tournament Pro TP1XHR reel which has an 8.3-1 retrieve, and 50- to 65-pound PowerPro braided line.
“Since you are fishing open water with high visibility, long casts produce more strikes; because you get the lure further away from the boat noise and boat water displacement,” he explained. “The accuracy you get with a shorter rod is less important, since you are not targeting resting fish.”
The angling world
lost a great competitor
and angler with the loss
of Larry and Deena’s son,
Eric, who was taken from
our world way too early
due to cancer.
Larry continues his
fishing in honor of Team
Eric, and his open water
mastery of buzzbaits
makes Team Eric a threat
On October 16 and 17,
2021 the American Bass
Association will host the
first Annual Bass Open
on Lake Casitas in Eric’s
memory. The winner of
this team tournament
format will get their
names on the Eric Elshere
Hope to see you
there. Ciao. •