Chatterbait Chatter: Tips and Techniques to Get the Most from a Chatterbait

You don’t know how much you are missing if you haven’t started to throw a chatterbait. Chatterbaits make a great addition to any anglers tackle box. They are aggressive presentations that maximize vibration and erratic action.

Ron Davis, the original chatterbait designer, cautions that only a small number of people learned how to use the bait. However, unless you experience some success with it you will not use it very often.

It’s a shame. The chatterbait was called “the best bait everyone owns and nobody throws”.

You can catch the fish of your dreams, whether you have never used one or you have been using them for years.

Continue reading to learn how you can fish a chatterbait.

Chatterbait Basics

Chatterbaits can be described as improved jigs. They are specifically designed to outperform square bills and spinnerbaits in the lawn. They add a large hexagonal blade to an already well-tested design and increase vibration. However, they retain the skirt and/or soft pc action that jigs are known for.

It was a deadly mix of extreme vibrations and tempting actions.

Contrary to the long blades of spinners, the single squared-off blade of a chatterbait is loud. Steve Wright explains that Ronny Davis’s tinkered design causes the hexagonal blade to bounce off the head of the Jig and then reverse itself. This makes it a deadly lure, especially in high-pressure lakes and rivers.

Chatterbaits can also be used when spinnerbaits don’t work in the right conditions. The wide range of trailers available makes them one of the most versatile choices. They can also be rigged Texas-style using soft plastic trailers. This makes them ideal for thick vegetation such as weed beds, which are difficult to fish with a crankbait or spinner.

This is where they excel.

The chatterbait is a great tool to have in your tackle box, regardless of whether you are fishing for pike, walleye, or bass.

When to throw a chatterbait

Based on what I have just said, there are several simple ways to determine if a chatterbait makes the right choice.

  • In weeds, grass.Chatterbaits can slide through vegetation to catch crankbaits and spinners. They have a single hook and work like jigs. They swim like crankbaits and vibrate like a spinner.
  • Even in dirty water, it’s best to have a little breeze. I enjoy throwing chatterbaits under the same conditions as spinners.
    This is common wisdom. However, many anglers swear by them in clear waters, as I’ll explain in a moment.
  • Clearwater, particularly below 60 degreesChatterbaits don’t have to be used for dirty water. If you give them a chance, especially if the bass is too slow for spinners (especially when they are), you’ll be amazed at how effective they are!

Our top picks for fishing lures of all types are listed here

Chatterbait Tips & Techniques: How to Fish a Chatterbait

Slow down

Chatterbaits do best when fished slowly.

These guys don’t like to be burned through the water. So slow down and trust that the lure will draw the fish. You must work them correctly, however.

Get involved

Chatterbaits work best when you are actively involved in their care. Robotic retrieves are not able to extract the best from them. However, a few quick pumps with your rod and a little extra erratic action can get the blade moving and the trailer swimming.

  • Reel and pop. Let your lure sink to its bottom. Next, give it a quick push with your rod and let it sink for a while. Finally, retrieve the lure for a few seconds. Let it fall again, and then repeat. This works especially well with craw-trailers.
  • Slow, steady retrieval is worth trying, especially with flukes or craws. This can be deadly when your chatter bait is zipped over the tops of weed bed tops.
  • Moving along the bottom. It is easy to make money by working your chatterbait as a jig. Making it rise and fall in short jumps or hops is a great way to make some extra cash. When the bass is holding on to deeper water, low, slow presentations are best. This technique can be used in any season.

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These techniques can be seen in action underwater.

Match the hatch in clearer waters; be vibrant when it’s murky

You want your lures to look natural in clear water, and brighten when the water is murky, dirty, or stained. Natural options include matching your local hatch (Biscoe, perch, or shiners) for pike.

Colors like white or chartreuse work well in muddy waters. Many soft plastic trailers come in a variety of styles and colors.

Chatterbaits that work

Remember that chatter baits can be hit by any large and aggressive species, so these combinations are great for pike, bass, walleye, and muskie.

My bias is for Z-Craws, Brush Hogs, and Clearer Water. I keep my flukes and paddle-tails for higher turbidity applications. This is just my personal experience. Your mileage may differ.

I prefer the skirt and trailer together. More is more for me!

I usually throw 3/8 ounce chatterbait. If short strikes are a problem I will trim the head of my trailer until they stop. Take it slow and reduce the amount you are reducing.

3/8 Ounce Z-Man Original ChatterBait – Lake Fork Trophy Lures Live Magic Shad trailer

The Z-Man Original is a popular chatterbait that can be paired with Lake Fork Trophy Lures Live Magic Shad. It’s a great combination of action and fun.

This combo is great no matter how you retrieve it.

Both I love pumpkin colors, but the options are nearly limitless.

3/8 Ounce Z Man Original ChatterBait, and a Zoom Z -Craw trailer

I think this is my favorite pairing: The Z-Man in Perch and the 4 1/2-inch Z-Craw from California 420.

These fish can be buzzed over weed tops, placed in the thick stuff, and worked out, or simply run along the edge of the grass. Bass and pike won’t let them go. The fish will go crazy if you give them quick pops or change your retrieve.

3/8 Ounce Z Man Original ChatterBait, and a No products Found Trailer

Light, vivid colors can make a huge impact in murky, stained, or dirty water. This is when I will turn to Z-Man in “Sexy Shimmer Blue”, rigged with a 7″ Zoom Super Fluke in “White Pearl”.

This combo combines action, vibration, smell, and touch, drawing hits in water areas where vision is limited.

3/8 Ounce ZMAN Chatterbait Elite, and a Zoom Bait Swimmin SUPER Fluke trailer

The Z-Man Elite and Zoom Swimming Super Fluke are another muddy/stained-water pairing I enjoy. You’ll find the “Chrome White” or “Baby Bass” versions of the Zoom paddler. The chatterbait has a fringed skirt and the Zoom paddler has a lifelike tail action. There are plenty of vibrations to summon strikes.

The Elite is a little beefier than the Z-man and has a Gamakatsu hook with a 5/0 Gamakatsu.

Last Thoughts

Chatterbaits can be a very effective tool if used correctly by a competent angler. Chatterbaits can provide a great way to get impressive hits even after your area has been reworked by others, especially when a lot is going on in the river or lake you are fishing.

These tips and tricks will hopefully encourage you to use chatterbaits more often. If they work, please let me know!

Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.