Consistently catching bass is no easy task. It is often a lot of trial and error to figure out what the fish want. Your lure of choice is going to depend on several factors like water temperature, time of year, and location. Even with all these variables, there are some bass baits every angler needs to have in their fishing tackle box. Chatterbaits and bladed swim jigs crack the essential bass lure list.

Chatterbaits, also known as bladed swim jigs, are moving baits that often produce reaction strikes from aggressive bass. Throw these lures around structure, docks, and weeds. These fishing lures are one of my favorite prespawn bass baits and have given me some of my biggest bass to date. Any area with structure, grass, or a laydown is perfect for chatterbaits. I like to fish with these in early spring when bass are aggressive and will crush any threat that crosses their path. Having a lunker obliterate a jig never gets old.

What’s the Best Chatterbait for Bass Fishing?

Finding a good chatterbait is not the most difficult of tasks, but it takes time to dial in the best one for your waters. First, you will want to consider color. I like to have a variety of colors for different situations. For instance, if the water is dark and murky, you will want a darker-colored skirt and trailer. Getting your color selection right is critical for successful days on the water.

Another factor to consider is the different types of blades. For the most part, chatterbaits and other bladed swim jigs are very similar. But different brands tweak different things that produce subtle differences. This might mean a different action as the bait moves through the water column or a different profile and look. Either way, slight modifications can produce more strikes.

It takes patience and willingness to dial in the best bass fishing tackle for the places you fish. Try out different styles of blades as you begin fishing chatterbaits. Some might produce more vibration, while others may have more movement. The trial and error process is key until you find what works best for you.

How Many Should You Keep In Your Tackle Box?

It doesn’t take much to convince a fisherman to add another fishing lure to their tackle box. But if you end up buying every new lure and bait you see, there’s a good chance your tackle box will be overflowing with hooks and jigheads. I like to keep my fishing tackle organized (or somewhat manageable) to easily find what I need depending on the situation.

When it comes to buying and organizing a specific lure or bait, keep it simple. I like to keep four to six in my tackle box at any time. This gives versatility in color, profile, and blade choices for my fishing jigs. Fish aren’t always easy to decipher, and having options is crucial. It’s also essential to have extras in case you lose a bait or two over the course of a day.

The main message here is to keep it simple and don’t get lost in having every lure. Find what bladed swim jigs work for you and stick with them. Have a couple of backups of your favorite one and a few to change it up when the fishing is slow.

How to Choose the Right ChatterBait

When Z-Man and Evergreen partnered together to create the ChatterBait Jack Hammer, it appeared to many people that the world finally had the ultimate do-everything bladed jig.

Well, the world kind of does. The Jack Hammer is an awesome bait. It’s won a lot of money in FLW tournaments since its release. (A sampling of Jack Hammer top-10 finishes from 2019: Champlain Tour, Champlain Costa, College Championship, BFL All-American, College Open, Kentucky Lake Costa, Chickamauga Tour, Seminole Tour, Toho Tour).

If you were going to carry just one bladed jig, the Jack Hammer would be a great choice. But to say it’s the perfect ChatterBait for every scenario would be like saying ketchup is the perfect condiment for every food, or fluorocarbon is the only line you should use. Sometimes you need to opt for something just a little different to tackle a niche situation. As far as ChatterBaits go, there are a number of good options.

FLW Tour pro Miles Burghoff, who’s on the Z-Man pro-staff, has spent a lot of time dialing in the various members of the ChatterBait family. Here’s how he puts his favorites to work.

5 Best Chatterbaits for Bass Fishing 2021:

1. Z-Man Jackhammer Chatterbait

Z-Man Jackhammer Chatterbait

You cant talk about chatterbaits without starting with the Jackhammer. It is hands down the best chatterbait on the market. This bait has won countless tournaments and caught a ton of giant bass. The best thing about the Jackhammer is the blade is directly connected to the jig. This makes it start faster and be the most consistent chatterbait on the market. It’s constantly on Tackle Warehouse’s bestseller list and you see pros throwing them all the time.

Jackhammer’s have a super strong 5/0 gamatatsu hook, a double wire keeper, and a very solid head design. The skirt is thin and flows extremely well. The blade is heavy and painted to match the head and skirt. It is more expensive than other chatterbaits but you know you are getting the highest quality. If you are fishing for money in a tournament or don’t have many chances to fish and want the most out of limited time then the Jackhammer is the clear choice.

2. Z-Man Jackhammer Stealth Blade Chatterbait

Z-Man Jackhammer Stealth Blade Chatterbait1

The Stealth Blade Jackhammer is a new chatterbait that is similar to the original Jackhammer except that it has a clear blade. The clear blade creates a slightly different vibration that isn’t quite as aggressive. It has a tighter action that is more of a balance between a chatterbait and a swim jig. It is basically a finesse-style chatterbait. It works great in pressured or clear water. Although the action and blade are a little different from the original, the Stealth Blade still uses the same blade to jig connection so it starts up quickly and has the same excellent build quality.

3. Strike King Thunder Cricket

The Strike King Thunder Cricket was designed by the Strike King pro staff of expert anglers. It includes a unique head design and has quality components. A wire keeper helps hold soft plastic trailers on the hook better. It is available in 3/8, ½, 5/8, and ¾ ounce sizes in 10 different colors.

4. Booyah Melee Chatterbait

Booyah Melee Chatterbait

The Booyah Mellee Chatterbait is a great choice when anglers want to work the bait a bit deeper and over heavy cover. It features a uniquely designed head that keeps the bait down in the water column while putting out an enticing vibration and action. It is available in 3/8 ounce and ½ ounce sizes in 9 colors.

5. Picasso Shock Blade Pro

Picasso Shock Blade Pro

The Shock Blade has a big swim jig style head with 3D eyes on a big Mustad hook. The jig and hook are perfectly sized for a bulky shad style trailer like a Yamamoto Zako or Lake Fork Magic Shad. The skirt is bulky and has both short and long strands that create a seductive pulse in the water.

To get around the Z-Man patents, Picasso crimps a metal ring around a hole in the blade. Don’t worry about that piece bending because it’s really a strong connection. The blade itself is sort of a snubbed off teardrop shape, with a curved bill and two holes. The blade really works well and has always generated good thumping action at a slow to medium retrieve.

The 3/8 and ½ ounce are awesome for fishing in 6 feet or less. The Shock Blade is unique in that it comes in a bunch of bigger sizes. No other bladed jig is available in 1, 1-1/2, and 2-ounce models. That may sound too heavy, but that opens the possibility of fishing these in much deeper water. A 1 ounce plus jig can be slowly rolled down ledges and across deep points and humps. When fish won’t bite a deep-diving crankbait, now you can thump the Shock Blade deep to trigger a bite.

4 Tips for Post-Spawn Bass Fishing Weedless ChatterBaits

It’s often the case that bass in any given body of water are in transition between calendar periods. Such was the case on this day where some bass were spawning while better quality fish were post-spawn and had pulled off the bank and scattered across grass flats. Wired2Fish’s Mitch Anderson shares some general guidance on how to use weedless ChatterBaits to cover water and trigger hungry post-spawn bass in transition to offshore haunts.

We provide 4 general points to find and catch post-spawn bass on grass lakes:

  • Have one angler fish shallow and one cast out. There are often still quality fish to be had casting toward the bank so you might as well have one person targeting those fish while the other casts deeper — this helps determine the predominant pattern. Mitch explains how he uses mapping depth highlight to make quality split casts shallow and deeper.
  • Use a weedless ChatterBait on the deeper grass flats. A ChatterBait is an excellent bluegill imitator this time of year. Choose a weedless version to cover water quickly without hanging in the grass.
  • Use a rod with a softer tip and “straight reel” the bait. Mitch stresses the importance of using a purpose-built ChatterBait rod that allows you to simply reel and flush the bait off of grass stems without the angler having to jerk the rod tip. When the ChatterBait hangs on a grass stalk, a softer rod tip loads up and eventually flushes the bait off which often triggers the bite. It’s the same concept as a crankbait deflecting off cover like rock and wood.
  • Use a mid-speed reel. A casting reel in the 7.3:1 range seems to be the optimal blend between winching power and speed. You don’t want to burn the bait too fast, yet you need adequate speed to catch up with bass and get ’em out of cover.

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