What is a Chatterbait? How Do You Fish A Chatterbait?
A common question lately has been how to fish chatterbaits. These newly popular jigs have been cleaning up big bass in the shallows, and winning bass fishing tournaments. What makes them such a good bass fishing lure? How do you fish a chatterbait. We'll answer that below! But first, let's explain what they are.
What Are Chatterbaits?
Chatterbaits (many people call them bladed jigs) are an extremely popular fishing lure, especially for catching bass. If you've never tried one, then shame on you! Chatterbaits are these fancy little bladed jigs you attach to your rod's hook. Typically, they come in a plethora of really cool designs. They tend to resemble the appearance of a worm or weed. As it goes for all baits such as crankbaits, spinnerbaits, plastic worms, and topwater lures, mastering the use of chatterbaits won't just help you catch more fish, but also enjoy a new and exciting experience and methodology to angling.
Z-Man Chatterbait Jack Hammer Green Pumpkin Shad
One of the best case scenarios to use a chaterbaits is when female bass are preparing to spawn. You can't find a situation better than that to use a chatterbait; your almost guaranteed to reel in a catch. Bass tend to spawn in the warmest most protected parts of the lake or pond they reside. The prefer to spawn in shallow dirty water with a hard bottom and lots of protection like stumps, logs, dock pilings, bush, etc. Bass tend to spawn in the Spring, so that's a great time to use a chatterbait. I would also like to note that chatterbaits make for a great bass crankbait alternative.
The name chatterbait is due to the vibrations that the lure causes in the water. Fun fact, chatterbaits are often called vibrating baits! The most effective location to use the chatterbait is in the shallows. One of the great things about chatterbaits is the fact they're so dang inexpensive.
Not many baits have the impact that chatterbaits do under shallow cover. I vividly remember an experience I had when trying out a chatterbait for the first time. I caught a 5lb bass, that all my friends were VERY jealous of. I got a lot of praise from nearby fisherman while fishing at the Ross Barnet Reservoir. I've been hooked on chatterbaits ever since. They have amazing action, and there's a lot of different ways you can go about retrieving the lure. It's a very versatile tool to have in your arsenal for sure.
Where Do Chatterbaits Originate?
Chatterbaits gained popularity from pro fisherman Brett Hite. Brett won the 2014 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Seminole, then went on and won the FLW Tour at Lake Okeechobee, all within the same year. He used chatterbaits for both of these competitions. Needless to say, people were shocked.
The original creator of the chatterbait jig, Z-Man, has since been making an assortment of refined and polished chatterbaits, like the Chatterbait Jackhammer. This lure has a ton of action, vibrates in the water well, it's versatile because you can add more bulk, buoyancy, and more action with a trailer attached to it. It's a sure way to clean up next time your fishing.
So, let's finally get to the meat and potatoes of this conversation!
How To Fish A Chatterbait. Here Are Some Fishing Tips.
1. First, keep in mind bladed swim jigs (chatterbaits) work best in the shallows when bass are active. Bass are pretty predictably in the shallows during spring to summer, and summer through fall.
2. Cast your chatterbait out in shallow to mid depth grass, wooden targets likes stumps and logs in the water, around a dock, or towards a bed of mussels.
3. From here you can deploy a variety of tactics. Here are some to choose from.
The idea here is to keep you bait down in the water where the bass can react to it. You want to reel in your bait as slowly as you can while still feeling the blade sort of thump in the water. If the chatterbait is running close to the surface, slow down or move on to a heavier jig. Now that doesn't mean you should be reeling it in like a zombie. It's okay to put a little bit of action with your steady retrieve. Now by now means should you be ripping it like a lipless crankbait, but a slight pause in your retrieve and flick of the rod tip should do just fine.
There are times when bass on not as receptive, or just not in a predatory mood. This is a good time to try out ripping. You want to create a sudden movement here to attract the attention of the surrounding bass. Reel you chatterbait very slowly though the top of the shallows, then yank the bait free of the shallows of grass with a flick of the wrist.
This is the opposite of slow rolling. It's very simple. You reel in your chatterbait quickly so that the blade is moving along just underneath the surface of the water. You want it to look like a fleeing fish. This can get you some very aggressive bites; you know when you have a bite when your burning.
This is exactly what it sounds like. Shake the uppermost tip of your rod up, down, and all around while your retrieving your lure. You want the jig to dart around all over the place. This causes skirting and pulsing, and also flaring.
Our Recommendations For Your Gear.
1. a 6' 6" or 7' medium action rod with a fast rod tip.
2. 6.3:1 or higher baitcaster
3. 30lb braided line or 15lb fluorocarbon
4. a variety of chatterbaits. You should figure out which one you like the most. 1/4pz to 1oz depending on the depth of the water your fishing. Lighter jigs for shallow water, and heavier for deeper of course. I find that soft plastic colored chatterbaits in black and blue work great. Green pumpkin chatterbaits work great for me too!