Live now : T-H Marine BFL 2019 Kentucky-Barkley

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Canterbury’s Early Fall Buzzbait Tips

Canterbury’s Early Fall Buzzbait Tips
Scott Canterbury

Like flannel shirts and full beards, the buzzbait has enjoyed a popularity resurgence in the last few years. What was once a role player on a pro angler’s roster has returned to the starting lineup thanks to pros such as Scott Canterbury, who’ve learned to modify their buzzbaits to work in more situations, in the process rediscovering how effective the lure is for covering water.

Canterbury says that right now – the late summer and early fall transition period – is one of the best times to sling a buzzbait as bass are looking up to chase shad and willing to feed on top. He’s got it dialed in with a system that’ll catch big bass from now until winter.

 

Watch for baitfish movements

When shad transition from deep to shallow in September, Canterbury says the buzzbait bite starts to improve on the Coosa River impoundments near his home. Their transition is usually spurred along by some environmental changes that anglers anywhere can watch for.

“The nights are getting longer,” says Canterbury. “The water temperature hasn’t dropped a whole lot, but the nights are getting longer, and there are a few fish starting to get shallow. As that happens, a buzzbait is a good tool to cover water.

“All summer you don’t really see bait on the surface,” he adds. “And now there’s a lot of bait getting on the surface and a little bit of schooling going on.”

Canterbury says more bait and bass will start to move up as the days shorten and the water temperature creeps down. Early fall is just the starting point.

 

Main-lake nights

Canterbury says that when the shad first go shallow, most of the activity takes place at night on the main lake. In a tournament situation, the morning bite is critical.

“Our Coosa River spots and even largemouths will get up shallow on seawalls in the morning. It’s not good for long; mostly the first couple hours. After that you have to find shade,” he says.

Seawalls, as Canterbury mentions, are always good. He also targets willow grass, laydowns and riprap. A 1/2-ounce Dirty Jigs Scott Canterbury Pro Buzz is his go-to buzzbait for open water, though he’ll also use a “traditional” buzzbait with a skirt. The key is a big blade that makes it easy to keep the buzzbait on the surface. When the bite is tough or fish are missing the bait, the Alabama pro swaps to a NetBait Spanky Swimbait trailer.

“I stay out and hit them [seawalls] at, like, a 45-degree angle. I don’t throw straight at a 90,” Canterbury says. “A lot of those fish won’t actually hit it right at the wall, so a 45 lets me cover water and still fish it out from the bank.”

Covering water is important and one of the reasons a buzzbait is a good choice. Canterbury can blitz through key areas quickly to capitalize on the early bite. Then once the morning seawall pattern fizzles out, switching to shade extends the bite – sometimes all day. Docks and overhanging trees are the key areas to target.  

 

Skip the shade

Here’s where Canterbury’s buzzbait knowledge benefits him. He spent so much time tinkering with buzzbaits to get them to skip easily and run true that he eventually just designed his own: the Pro Buzz. It works for open water, but its real benefit is for going where other buzzbaits (and most other topwaters) can’t.

“You can actually skip it up under docks and overhanging trees. The presentation is the key to that,” says Canterbury.

The 1/4-ounce model specifically is the one Canterbury likes to skip because it has a small blade. Larger blades “catch” too much water and spoil the skipping presentation. The Pro Buzz also comes packaged with a Bruiser Baits Thrasher, which was designed with no belly slit specifically as a buzzbait trailer. Canterbury says a belly slit on a trailer makes the combo harder to skip.

His gear selection includes 40-pound-test P-Line TCB braid, a 7-3, medium-heavy Halo rod and a 7.3:1 Ardent Apex Grand reel with the brakes completely disengaged.  

An important part of Canterbury’s presentation is the skip itself, and not just for accessing hard-to-reach areas. He believes the bait skittering across the surface gets the attention of the bass.

“The farther you can skip it, it seems like the more bites you get,” he says. “As soon as you start to retrieve it a bass will kill it a lot of times. They track it on the way in. Then, when it turns [when the retrieve starts], it’s coming back at them. I think that’s one thing that’s drawing a lot of strikes. I’m convinced that actually gets you a few extra bites every day versus casting it right to where you want it. We did that with a swimming jig in the willow grass over the years.”

 

Buzzbait colors

Black, white and chartreuse/white are Canterbury’s favorite buzzbait skirt and trailer colors for fall (though in the spring he says you should try slinging a bubble gum pink one).

“A lot of people say the darker the day, the darker the bait, but water clarity has a lot to do with it,” he says. “We have really clear water. If you throw something white, they might want it, but a lot of times it shows up really ‘big’ in the water. If you go to a black bait, it looks smaller and is more of a finessy bait. You have to experiment. Same thing for blade combos – silver or gold. There’s usually some combo you figure out they want.”

 

Be ready to flip, too

If you can’t get the midday dock-fishing pattern going with buzzbaits, try flipping a jig.

“We flip a lot of docks as the sun gets up, and fish a lot of brush piles,” Canterbury says. “Most of those fish go down [under the docks]. A little later in the year they’ll stay up, and you can catch them better on the buzzbait. When they go down, it’s more of a jig deal; a little slower fishing.”

 

Follow fish to the creeks

In Crimson Tide country where Canterbury lives, the buzzbait bite starts on the main lake and then transitions into the creeks. It’s smart to check those areas periodically to keep tabs on the progression.

“A little bit later in the fall they will get up on the seawalls in the creeks, and that’s when it gets really good to me,” he says.

Tags: pro-tips-weekly  curtis-niedermier  article 

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Day 1 Delayed at Pan Am

Because of steady rain and hard winds at around 20 mph or more, day one of the Pan American Bass Championship has been canceled. With gusts up to 40 mph in the forecast, the organizers have decided to fish two sessions on Friday instead. READ MORE »

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

Pan Am Gets Underway in Canada

With the official training day in the rearview, the Pan American Bass Championship starts Thursday, Oct. 16, on Lake St. Francis in Cornwall, Ontario. Teams from Mexico, the Akwesasne First Nation, Canada and the United States will be competing the next two days for glory and country, but also to help along the movement to make bass fishing an Olympic sport. READ MORE »

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

How to Find Big-Water Smallmouth in Fall

The key to finding smallmouth bass on big water in the fall is to know where they’re coming from and where they’re heading, then connecting the dots in between. Swimbaits, blade baits, ChatterBaits, crankbaits, spinnerbaits, drop-shots and Ned rigs all put bass in the boat. READ MORE »

Morris Locks up Central Division AOY

Morris Locks up Central Division AOY

It’s not often an angler wins a Strike King Angler of the Year title in a Costa FLW Series division by chance, and while skill is what carried Jake Morris to his first Costa AOY title, chance definitely brought him to the opportunity. READ MORE »

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

Umbrella Rigs for Great Lakes Smallies   

The days of catching seemingly infinite bass on an umbrella rig are mostly gone, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't fish with one. The rig is a great tool for catching fall smallmouth bass on the big waters of the Great Lakes and elsewhere up north. READ MORE »

New Dominates Seminole Regional

New Dominates Seminole Regional

Belmont, N.C., angler Bryan New, who’s regularly one of FLW’s top performers in the grassroots ranks, had established a dominant pace. New weighed in 22 pounds, 9 ounces on day one and added 20-2 on day two to carry a lead of 6 pounds, 15 ounces into the finals. A roughly 7-pound margin isn’t necessarily a sure thing on Seminole, but the fall bite was a bit slower than what the lake can produce, and it was obvious New was cruising. READ MORE »

Takeoff Delayed at Lake of the Ozarks

Takeoff Delayed at Lake of the Ozarks

The final Costa FLW Series Central Division event on Lake of the Ozarks – which is presented by Evinrude – was originally slated to begin at 7 a.m. CT this morning, but Mother Nature had other plans. A massive thunderstorm has been rolling through Osage Beach, Mo., this morning bringing heavy downpours and lots of lightning. READ MORE »

Major League Fishing to Acquire FLW

Major League Fishing to Acquire FLW

Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today that it has reached an agreement to acquire Fishing League Worldwide (FLW), the world’s largest tournament-fishing organization. The Letter of Intent (LOI) sets in motion the most significant brand merger in competitive bass fishing history, linking a tour and original, award-winning programming featuring the top professional anglers in the world to an extensive grassroots organization that serves tens of thousands of competitive anglers from high school and college students to weekenders and tour pros.  READ MORE »

How the MLF Acquisition will Affect Me

How the MLF Acquisition will Affect Me

The Thursday announcement of Major League Fishing’s acquisition of FLW signifies a historic shift in the landscape of competitive bass fishing. Here’s an overview of how the competitive circuits of FLW will operate. READ MORE »

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

Newberry Wins Southwestern Division AOY

It was sweet redemption in many ways for the Texas legend who still owns and operates his Houston-based HVAC company despite spending so much time on the tournament-fishing circuit. Redemption for missing out on the FLW Cup in his first season. Redemption for what Grand did to him earlier this year on Tour (dropping from sixth to 41st with only one fish on day two). And, in a way, validation for a career filled with big accomplishments. READ MORE »

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 3 Airs Friday 

Rapala Varsity Bass Ep. 3 Airs Friday 

Join FLW for a Rapala Varsity Bass watch party on Friday, Oct. 4 at 2 p.m. CT for the premiere of Episode 3 in the series. READ MORE »

Valdivia is Best in the West

Valdivia is Best in the West

California pro David Valdivia has consistently finished near the top of the standings in the Costa FLW Series Western Division. This year he finally won his first Strike King Angler of the Year award, and he did it by just one point in the standings. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 4

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 4

The final five T-H Marine FLW Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournaments took place over the weekend, bringing BFL regular-season competition to a close. Regional tournaments will kick off Oct. 10, and by the end of the month the majority of the field for the 2020 All-American will be set.  READ MORE »

How to Find the Best Docks in Early Fall

How to Find the Best Docks in Early Fall

While there’s almost no bad time of year to find a dock pattern, early fall is a prime season for it. The catch is that as shad transition throughout a reservoir in the fall, some bass go on the move with them. So dialing in a key stretch of docks or a dock pattern can at times be challenging, particularly on lakes with a lot of docks. READ MORE »

Wild Card set for Kentucky Lake

Wild Card set for Kentucky Lake

Fishing League Worldwide, the world’s largest tournament fishing organization, announced Sunday that the 2019 T-H Marine BFL Wild Card tournament will take place on Kentucky Lake in Gilbertsville, Kentucky, Nov. 8-9. The two-day event, hosted by the Kentucky Lake Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, will launch from the Kentucky Dam Marina in Gilbertsville. READ MORE »

Dobson Wins First FLW Series AOY

Dobson Wins First FLW Series AOY

Scott Dobson has earned a pile of accolades up north, but this year, he earned his biggest title yet. Winning the Strike King Angler of the Year in the Costa FLW Series Northern Division presented by Gajo Baits, the Clarkston, Mich., angler finished third at Lake Champlain, 13th on the Potomac River and wrapped the season and the title with a second-place showing on the St. Lawrence River. READ MORE »

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 3

Super Tournament Winning Ways – Week 3

The third round of T-H Marine Bass Fishing League (BFL) Super Tournament action saw smallmouths, spotted bass and largemouths all make an appearance as six divisions put a bow on the season with their respective two-day events. Here’s a quick recap of what all played out in the action spanning from the Detroit River down to Lake Okeechobee. READ MORE »

How to Choose the Right ChatterBait

How to Choose the Right ChatterBait

If you were going to carry just one bladed jig, the ChatterBait Jack Hammer would be a great choice. But to say it’s the perfect ChatterBait for every scenario would be like saying ketchup is the perfect condiment for every food, or fluorocarbon is the only line you should use. Sometimes you need to opt for something just a little different to tackle a niche situation. As far as ChatterBaits go, there are a number of good options. READ MORE »

Buy a Hat, Help USA Bass 

Buy a Hat, Help USA Bass 

Bass fishing fans have a chance to help the USA Bass team achieve its goal of winning the 2019 Pan American Championship in Canada next month. To help fund the effort, USA Bass, which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, recently launched a limited edition hat drive with the goal of selling 1,000 USA Bass hats. READ MORE »

A High School Kayak Tournament Experience 

A High School Kayak Tournament Experience 

A recent high school kayak bass fishing tournament showcased the potential of kayaks to get more young anglers on the water and competing. READ MORE »