Chances are, if I posted his picture, you wouldn’t recognize the gentleman. I know I wouldn’t, nor can I find a picture of him to post anyway. But if you’ll take a peek at this picture, chances are pretty good you will recognize the buzzbait that happened to be named after the inventor in question.
Known simply to most as Floyd’s Buzzer, it was actually one of three different versions he made, the other two being an inline vinyl skirt model and a spoon buzzer. Tecnically known as Floyd’s Bucktail Buzzer, as the name implies, instead of the standard silicon rubber skirt found on most baits, Floyd tied his skirts out of the long-haired material. Another unique attribute was the inline blade. Along with a couple thin wire weedguards placed either side of the main hook, the bait was reknowned for its ability to run through the heaviest matted vegetation. As such, it quickly got an almost cult-like following in places like vegetation laden Florida, or even in the heavy rice and cabbage flats of upper Midwest lakes.
Back on the subject of the creator of this neat little bait, Pat Floyd was his name, and he owned a small shop in Royal Center, Indiana. This was the early 70s, and like many in this auto industry driven state, Floyd used to sell a lot of his baits while he was working at the Chrysler plant in Kokomo. A humorous story related by friend and local outdoor writer Bud Fields concerning Floyd;
I asked him what his favorite “FISH CATCHING” bait was and he told me “A LIVE NIGHT CRAWLER.” I laughed and said, “You make ALL those artificial lures and you fish a nightcrawler?” He said, “I make those baits to SELL.”
At one point, Blue Fox produced a version of the bait almost exactly like Floyd’s version, and a write-up in a 1978 Field & Stream magazine mentions both Blue Fox and Floyd’s as a source for obtaining the bait, so perhaps there was some licensing agreement there. Even Bass Pro Shops had their version of the bait called the “Uncle Buck’s Buzzer”, but it was Pat Floyd that had the original.
The Floyd’s buzzer gained some national notoriety out on the B.A.S.S. Tour when Rick Clunn was credited with using it in Classic VII to catch the tourneys largest bass, a 7-07 lunker that was part of his Day 1 leading 19+ pound sack on Lake Toho. He would go on to win that event and become the first back-to-back Classic winner. Roland Martin also dedicated a page or two to the Floyd’s Buzzer in his book, 101 Bass-Catching Secrets.
As I understand it, the Hildebrandt company in Logansport, Indiana, which had been making metal baits and spinner baits for nearly 100 years, bought out the inventory of the Floyd’s Buzzer when inventor Pat Floyd passed away about 10 or so years ago. Hildebrandt kept the same bait (manufacturing), with the only change being the addition of a red trailer hook. However, in 2006, Washington-based Yakima Baits bought Hildebrandt. On their website, the bait is now called a Gold Wing and is a mix of two baits, the inline buzzer of the original Floyd’s buzzer, along with the weighted keel hook and vinyl skirt of the Snagless Sally, another bait in the Yakima lineup.
You can still find a few of the original Floyd’s Buzzers in OLD sporting goods stores, but they are getting harder to find.