The 45-year-old Republic, Mo., man and his Vision Lure Co. proudly announce "There's not another buzz bait like this" in promotional material and right there on the back of the card that packages the revolutionary HoneyBuzz. He calls it the world's best buzz bait.
The HoneyBuzz first hit the market in 2001. Within six months, Trantham said recently, it had helped fishermen win more than $100,000 in FLW bass tournaments.
"It started out as a hobby. Then it led into a business," said the former woodworker who gave up the trade five years ago to start making Vision Lures.
"When you first look at it, you realize it's different than others. Once it hits the water, it proves its point right off the bat," Trantham said. "It has been very well received. Everyone loves it."
That the HoneyBuzz is different than other buzz baits is plain to see before it's ever removed from the package. What sets it apart from other buzz baits is the hinged hook concept that adds wallop to a hookset and reduces any leverage a bucketmouth gains fighting a conventional buzz bait with a fixed hook.
That feature also helps it crawl over limbs and logs, he said, because the free-swinging hook kicks up when it bumps something. Of course, doing so allows a basser to retrieve it through brush and cover where bass live.
The hinged hook was one item on the wish list of bass club tournament fishermen and bass pros, he said The skirt and hook assembly is attached to the main frame by a wire loop.
The main frame is on a thick .051-gauge wire that holds the blade, a blade guard, three steel beads and a rusted steel rivet. A rusted steel rivet?
That's right. Buzz bait users have known for a long time that switching out aluminum rivets and replacing them with steel rivets increases a buzz bait's all-important squeak, which many anglers have further enhanced by tying the lure outside the vehicle on the way to a tournament to get it good and noisy.
Trantham said the rusted steel rivet provides maximum sound that gets louder and louder with use.
Anglers can rely on that sound or the sound of the powder-coated blade clicking on the steel beads. Turn the blade up to get the squeak or turn the blade down to click on the beads with each revolution.
About that blade — the 1/8-ounce model has a blade usually fit for a 1/4-ounce buzz bait; the 1/4-ounce model has a blade usually used for 3/8-ounce buzz baits, and the 3/8-ounce model has a blade that usually goes with a 1/2-ounce buzz bait.
How's that possible? Like Trantham said, "Other baits go squirrely when you do that."
But his buzz bait runs straight and true in the water because the HoneyBuzz has a two-tier weight system — one on the wire frame and one on the hook, he explained. That balance is in the angler's favor when a hooked bass tries to throw the red Mustad hook because (like the hinge feature) it denies the fish leverage.
Also, the weight on the hook gives the skirt a freer, livelier action, and pulls it down to an angle where it is easier for the fish to see and bite.
No wonder Trantham said his creation is "the most tricked out buzz bait imaginable."
HoneyBuzzes are available in 25 popular colors, including white, chartreuse/white, chartreuse/blue, black, black/red, gold and gold/chartreuse.
For more information on HoneyBuzz buzz baits and other Vision Lures products, call (800) 861-1548, or log on to www.fishingbuzzbaits.com.