By : Mark Hicks
The buzzbait has long been a heavy hitter for South Carolinian Andy Montgomery, who is hands down the best skip-caster in professional bass fishing. He worked with Strike King for a year to develop a buzzbait that excels for skipping
Appropriately named the Skip’N Buzzbait, it comes dressed with a toad bait.
“I wanted to make a buzzbait that’s perfect for skipping and all-around buzzbait fishing,” Montgomery said. “The Skip’N Buzzbait is easier to skip because it’s more compact.”
The Skip’N Buzzbait is built on a heavy-duty wire form that doesn’t readily bend out of shape. This is a common problem with most other buzzbaits when you skip them.
“The Skip’N Buzzbait is built to stay true to form,” Montgomery stressed.
Removing a buzzbait’s skirt and dressing the hook with a toad or some other soft plastic bait has proven to be deadly on big bass. Montgomery’s favorite buzzbait trailers are Strike King’s Gurgle Toad and Magnum Rage Bug.
The additional weight and width of a soft plastic bait is what allows a buzzbait to be skipped. The weight also improves casting distance and accuracy, especially under windy conditions that can throw a skirted buzzbait off target.
“I don’t throw a buzzbait with a skirt anymore,” Montgomery said. “I just catch more bass with a plastic bait. And they eat it better, so I don’t need a trailer hook.”
Whatever the season or situation, Montgomery always runs the Skip’N Buzzbait at the same medium speed. If you retrieve a buzzbait dressed with a plastic bait too fast it will roll, he pointed out. However, if the speed is too slow, the buzzbait won’t kick up a ruckus.
“I fish a white buzzbait with a Gurgle Toad 90 percent of the time,” Montgomery said. “The rest of the time I go with black or a green pumpkin Rage Bug if the bass are feeding on bream.”
Skipping a buzzbait into the shade under docks produces bites throughout the year. A white buzzbait kicks bass during the shad spawn. When dock bass dine on bluegill, a black or bream colored plastic trailer is the way to go.
Skipping a buzzbait under overhanging branches can payoff bigtime when emerging mayflies cling to the branches and fall to the water. This attracts swarms of bluegills to feed on the emerging insects. The bass move in to hammer the bluegill.
During the bass’ springtime prespawn and spawning phases, they snuggle up to stumps, dock posts and other cover, Montgomery stated. This is when he runs his buzzbait tight to such objects.
“In the fall of the year, a lot of times the bass are roaming and chasing bait,” Montgomery said. “That’s when I cover water and throw at flat banks and points. I don’t parallel the bank then because the fish bite from the bank to halfway back to the boat.”
Read more about selecting baits for cold vs. warm water conditions.
Montgomery skips the Skip’N Buzzbait with the same 7-foot, 1-inch, Team Lew’s Signature Series Andy Montgomery Skipping Rod he uses for skipping jigs and bladed jigs. He also designed a 6-foot, 9-inch, skipping rod for shorter anglers. He matches his rod with a Lew’s Pro SP SLP Series Skipping Reel filled with 20-pound Strike King Fluorocarbon.
Because the skipping reel holds only 40 yards of 20-pound fluorocarbon, it eliminates the worst backlashes. The reel’s quick 8.3:1 gear ratio improves hook sets and overall efficiency.
“Forty yards of line is plenty for all my buzzbait fishing,” Montgomery said. “I don’t use braid with a buzzbait. It’s harder to skip with and makes it more likely you’ll jerk the buzzbait away from the bass.”
Monofilament line, on the other hand, has so much stretch that it’s hard to drive the hook into a bass’ hard mouth, especially at the end of a long cast.
“Fluorocarbon has the perfect amount of stretch for fishing a buzzbait,” Montgomery said.
Read more about how the buzzzbait performs in fall.