How To Fish A Chatterbait

Chatterbaits also known as bladed jigs have taken the bass fishing world by storm.

Chatterbaits are moving baits that need to be retrieved to work their magic. 

This guide will teach you how to fish chatterbaits.

How Does A Chatterbait Work

A chatterbait is basically a jig with a blade in front of it. You tie your line to the wire loop that is attached to the blade. Some chatterbaits don’t have a wire loop. They may have a snap instead.

The blade is what imparts the action into the jig as you retrieve it through the water.

The movement of the water over the blade causes the jig to swing and rotate at the same time. Once you get it going, it can generate some serious vibration and action.

The jig vibrating behind the blade creates an action that is very attractive to predators. This is especially true for bass.

How To Retrieve A Swimbait

Normally, anglers will just reel the chatterbait in at the same speed for the whole retrieve. They may also try to avoid hitting cover such as logs, rocks or weeds.

This would be a mistake.

A reaction strike is caused when a fish bites after detecting a sudden random movement. This causes the fish to bite in an instinctive or reflexive manner. 

This can be one of the most effective ways to get bass to bite. And hitting objects with your chatterbait is a great way to do it.

Chatterbait Retrieve With No Cover

But if there is no cover, what do you do? Well, another good way to draw strikes is to pause the retrieve. The pause doesn’t have to be very long. It can just be a quick break in your reeling cadence.

Another way to add erratic action to a chatterbait is to jerk it with your rod like a jerkbiat. To do this just give it a quick sudden pull with your rod. You should feel the chatterbait all of a sudden start vibrating alot faster.

Another way to do this is to increase the speed of your retrieve. Just suddenly start reeling much faster for a second of two.

These erratic actions will help you increase your strike percentage.

Chatterbait Bottom Fishing

A chatterbait can be a great bottom bait. Try rolling it slowly along the bottom with a crayfish trailer. This crayfish imitation can be deadly for deeper water bass.

The additional vibration that a chatterbait has over a standard jig can really make a difference. Just make sure that when you’re slow rolling it on the bottom that you’re keeping the vibration going.

Chatterbait Bottom Hopping

Another tactic you can use while bottom fishing is hopping the chatterbait. 

To do this, just raise the rod tip sharply, then reel it in slowly as you drop the rod tip back down. The key things here are to make sure you keep the vibrations going as you raise the bait. When it falls back down try to keep some tension on it. If the weight of the lure can generate enough momentum, you may be able to keep the vibration going as it falls.

Chatterbait Trailers

A key to a good chatterbait trailer is that it works well with the chatterbait. This means that the trailer and bladed jig move in sync.

Some chatterbait trailers don’t work well with the bait. They may get bent upwards or swim erratically. This can be caused by the turbulent water flow behind the chatterbait.

So, it’s important that you use a trailer that will not cause bass to shy away from you bait.

Swimbait Style Chatterbait Trailers

Swimbait style trailers are some of the best you can use. They will impart a side to side swimming action that can really get the bass to commit to the strike. 

A popular swimbait trailer for chatterbaits is the Yamamoto 4″ Zako.

These swimbait trailers are ribbed on the back half of the bait. This helps generate that realistic swimming action.

Another great trailer for a chatterbait is the Keitech Swing Impact Swimbait. This trailer can also be used as a standalone swimbait on a jig head or as a teaser on an umbrella rig too.

Crayfish Style Chatterbait Trailers

Crayfish style trailers  are another popular style of trailer. They’re very popular for regular jigs, but they can also be used with swimming or bladed jigs.

Often when a crawdad is spooked, it will scurry backwards as it tries to escape. This action can be imitated by a chatterbait with a craw trailer. 

One of my favorite crayfish trailers is the Zman TRD Crawz. I like them cause they’re small at 2.5 inches. This makes it easy to present a compact package that is unlikely to get short strikes.

Another great craw trailer is the Strike King Rage Tail Chunk. This is another short soft plastic trailer that is easy to rig and is 2.5 inches long.

Worm Style Chatterbait Trailers

Worm style trailers are probably the least popular these days. But if you’re looking for a compact package, then a worm trailer might be your best bet.

One thing to look out for is making your trailer too long. This could lead to strikes missing the hook. While you could add a trailer or stinger hook, shortening the trailer may be a better solution.

Some worm trailers that I like are the Yamamoto Swimming Senko. This is a senko body with a boot style tail. Of course, you can use it by itself. This makes it very versatile.

Chatterbait Colors

When it comes to chatterbait colors I like to stick with the basics. Black and blue, green pumpkin and something with white and chartreuse are standard.

Of course with chatterbaits, you can also get different colored blades.

A black and blue chatterbait normally comes with a black blade. This is a go to color for clear or lightly stained water. 

Green pumpkin is also a good color to try in clear or lightly stained water.

When you’re dealing with slightly muddy or very muddy water you will want to use a blade that has a gold or copper color. The skirt and lead head body can vary somewhat. But they will usually have a dark black or green color. You may also find these good muddy water colors in white with chartreuse.


Chatterbaits have really become a favorite with bass anglers all around the country. You’re sure to catch some bass if you follow the instructions detailed in this article. 

Just keep the following things in mind. Remember that you need to get the chatterbait vibrating as quickly as possible. 

Sometimes adding variation to your retrieve can make the difference.

Don’t forget about bottom hopping and bumping cover. 

Now get out there and catch em.

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