How To: Tuning Buzzbaits
Buzzbaits are known as one of the very best topwater baits for producing big bass. So you’ve decided to fish one but every single time you cast, it retrieves to the left or right. Not to worry, this is perfectly normal and can actually enhance the bait’s potential to draw strikes. Many anglers consider the tracking direction an aid to crashing the bait into target objects and following edges to draw strikes.
All single blade buzzbaits will run either to the left or to the right due to the direction of the blade spin and the torque that puts on the bait. It's exactly like the prop on your boat - without the skeg tuning tab the prop torque would pull the boat severely to the left. And, like your boat, the faster the prop speed the stronger the torque so quite a bit of self control is necessary to maintain a slow retrieve speed when using a fast reel. Although they make both left and right running buzzbait blades, the left runners are the norm; sort of the "default" style because most people are right handed.
On a single blade buzzbait, the running direction is impossible to tune out completely. The only way to achieve a perfectly straight retrieve is to balance the torque by having two counter rotating blades, either side-by-side or inline. To tune a single blade buzzbait, first make sure that the upper blade arm is perfectly straight and in line with the hook and lower wire frame. The photos below show a properly tuned buzzbait. Notice the vertical alignment of hook and wire frame.
Once the bait is aligned vertically, try the bait at different retrieve speeds and find the speed that optimizes the performance of that particular bait. From there, if you want to minimize the left track, bend the upper arm slightly to the right. The photo below shows a buzzbait tuned to minimize left tracking. Notice the upper arm alignment is shifted to the right.
If you want to maximize the left track, bend the upper arm slightly to the left. The opposite applies for right running blades. You'll want to check the alignment periodically and make corrections, especially after catching a fish.
We pre-tweak our Talon Series Buzzbaits so additional steps to optimize performance, such as “breaking in”, removing paint from the blade holes, and treating the wire and rivet to increase clatter and squeal, are unnecessary. We hope these tips help you enjoy a better buzzbait experience.