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17+ DIRTY SECRETS How To Fish A ChatterBait [Fishing Tips On How, When, and Where]

Chatterbait Bass Fishing Tips

What Is chatterbait Used For?

You have have asked yourself, what is chatterbait best for? A ChatterBait is a bladed swim jig that imitates a fish, grub, frog, or any other small animal in the water. Bass are often attracted to it and bite it because they think it is real prey.

The ChatterBait moves across shallow water as the front blade moves back and forth. The colors and movement of the blade, skirt, and trailer attract the bass’s attention. 

Bass anglers use the bait with color and movement that will cause the bass to follow it and hook onto the ChatterBait.

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How To Fish A ChatterBait For Bass

Anglers new to this style of fishing will want to learn a few of the basic retrieval techniques for ChatterBait fishing for bass.

Throwing the bait and immediately reeling it in will not catch as many fish as you may catch with a few other techniques added.

By moving your rod up and down, jerking it, or bumping it against the lake bank, you help get the bass’s attention. The moving blade causes vibration in nearby water.

In areas with a lot of grass and weeds, especially in early spring or when the bass are spawning, cast your ChatterBait and allow it to sink down into the vegetation a few feet. Then, pull it up through the vegetation and retrieve the line, moving it unevenly as it approaches you.

Tip your rod up and down to attract the bass’s attention as they see your ChatterBait and feel its vibration. If a bass hooks onto your bait, begin your retrieval by reeling the line in.

Be sure to set the hook before beginning retrieval.

Another method is to cast your ChatterBait into clear water near ledges or structures. After allowing it to sink, drag it along the lake bottom along the ledge.

Here is the most important point you need to learn before wrapping up this section…

You must make contact with grass or other structures to trigger the most bites. 

Best Locations and Structures to Fish a ChatterBait

Bass are predators who prefer to sit and wait for their prey to come to them. Here are some locations and structures that are common hiding spots for bass:

Grass & Wood

This jig you’re gonna want to throw this around some of the tightest cover and grass that you can find. It performs the best by weaving it in and out of all of that wood, brush or grass lanes, cuts, patches and natural points the vegetation makes.

Many worry about getting stuck in cover when you’re swimming it, however it’s highly snag resistant.

You’ll be extremely surprised whether you’re swimming it over submerged vegetation beds and as it approaches a big dark hole, slow the retrieve down and give it a little pop…

Often there is usually a big bass that lives in the bottom of that dark hole and by fishing a ChatterBait you’ll trigger it to strike!

Points

Bass travel through the water during the year to spawn, to eat a lot before winter, and because they are very hungry after the spawn. They frequently visit points, which are areas of the lake perimeter that protrude out into the water.

An angler can normally find one bass or even a school of bass at these points. 

Bass are rather lazy and they know that they can hide and feed in these areas as well as ambush their prey. Also, plankton and small fish are plentiful in areas around points.

Under Docks and Overhangs

Bass prefer the shade, so hiding underneath any structure provides a cooler location for them. The cold water tends to have more oxygen than hotter water, and this is a comfortable location for them to stay.

Their prey can also be found around structures such as restroom buildings near the lake, or under bridges. Try throwing a ChatterBait in this area to catch some lunkers.

Dropoffs and Ledges in Reservoirs

Another favorite hiding place of bass is near drop-offs and ledges. A fish finder with high-powered sonar can help locate the bass hiding in these areas. 

You can also find them by covering the water near drop-offs and ledges in reservoirs.

After you know where the bass are located, you can throw a Chatterbait. If the bass is hungry, it will pursue the bait. 

Other anglers will not always know the location of the bass like you do, which gives you a good chance of catching some very big lunkers without any competition.

The Main Lake Structures

Using your fish finder, you may also find the spots where bass can be found in the main lake area. Under certain circumstances, they hide in the deeper water of the main lake.

Smaller fish often prefer to stay in the deeper areas of the main lake. Bass may hunt in these areas. Prey can be so plentiful that the bass does not need to chase them down.

This is where some pro anglers catch their bruisers who have grown larger by simply resting and doing nothing but eat when shad, worms, or smaller fish come along.

Areas with Water Current

Water currents are a favorite place for bass to hide such as where rivers and streams empty into the lake. Wind and waves may also cause currents that naturally have higher oxygen levels than water that is not moving.

The water movement brings their prey to them which is a secondary reason why bass like water currents. Locating these areas can help you catch more bass.

Best ChatterBait Blade Colors and Why?

Nickel and gold colors are the most popular colors of ChatterBait with anglers.

Some styles of ChatterBait have painted or unpained blades.  Some even have clear blades.

Nickel blades are often used in clear water where bass are likely to be attracted to the shine of the blade. 

Metal or stainless steel blades are also great for use in clear water because they make a bright flash to get the fish’s attention. Gold blades are often used in murky water. 

They provide some shine for bass to see.

Painted ChatterBait blades are sold in black, red, white, and orange. Painted varieties are often better in dark water since the sediment may prevent silver or gold blades from shining in the water.

Best ChatterBait Body and Skirt Colors and Why?

Anglers have different opinions on which ChatterBait body and skirt colors to use in various situations. The clearer the water conditions the more natural. The dirtier the water, the darker or brighter.

Most agree that translucent ChatterbaIt with white skirts is the best to use in clear water. 

This is because bass can see the light-colored ChatterBait in translucent water. Some ChatterBait and skirts also have glitter for more shine to attract bass.

Dingy water calls for white or chartreuse-colored ChatterBaits because they are easier for bass to see in the darker water.

Trailers that are bulky and have numerous moving appendages are also helpful. Bass are more likely to see and respond to painted blades in muddy lake areas.

Painted blades, especially black, are typically thrown in stained water.

If you have any doubts about which ChatterBait to use, it is always a good decision to go natural in the body and skirt color. These may be chartreuse or green pumpkin colors.

Best Trailers for the ChatterBait

Many anglers use soft plastic trailers because of the success they have with this bait. They see soft plastic as the best option. 

A soft plastic trailer is more effective because it looks like the fish bass eat. Even more, the plastic trailer gives the ChatterBait more bulk to bite into.

I divide the trailers into three categories:

  1. Trailers that swim
  2. Trailers that flap
  3. Trailers that are in between

Trailers The Swim

Trailers that swim take the form of a soft plastic swimbait and may look like a shad, minnow, or some other baitfish moving underwater.

Keitech Swing Impact FAT Swimbait 4.3

Many anglers believe the trailer is as important as the bait in getting the bass to bite.

When the fish see the trailer sway back and forth in the water, it looks like a real fish.

So, if you’re fishing in an area where shad or even bluegill are known to be present, a soft plastic trailer that swims, such as a swimbait trailer, is definitely the best option.

There are certain steps to choosing the best trailer for your environment. After learning which fish the bass are earing, thread on a trailer that looks similar to them. This is where the “Match The Hatch” phrase comes in.  

Your bait choice should be based on the water clarity, time of year, and what forage the bass is eating. 

Clearwater almost always calls for a white or natural shad-colored trailer.

Darker-colored trailers are best to use in murky or dirty water. The choice of soft plastic trailers depends on individual anglers’ availability and thoughts on the bait.

A Keitech Swing Impact FAT 4.3 Swimbait is one of the nicest swimbaits available for pairing with a ChatterBait.  In fact, the Swing Impact FAT 4.3 is one of the best baits for imitating a gizzard shad or bluegill. 

On the other hand, if you have smaller baitfish in your lake, such as threadfin shad, shiners, or small herring, a swimbait with a smaller paddle tail, such as the Megabass Spark Shad 4″ would be a better choice.

Lastly, a segmented swimbait trailer is the last style of swimbait trailer you should have in your tackle box.

Yamamoto Zako

Swimbaits such as the Lake Fork Magic Shad or the Yamamoto Zako are built with several flexible segments that give your ChatterBait a bigger profile, PLUS allowing the lure to be fished really slow while still having a very natural swimming action without being overpowering. 

Good examples of segmented swimbaits are the Lake Fork Magic Shad and the Yamamoto Zako.

Trailers That Flap

When bass are eating up crawfish switch to a crawfish bait that are big on action but small in profile. 

Strike King Rage Craw

The Strike King Rage Craw, The Googan Krakin’ Craw’s, or the Berkley Powerbait Chigger Craw all have phenomenal action even at the slowest of retrieves. 

Now when you add a soft plastic craw trailer it totally gives the lure a completely different feel on the retrieve.  The trailer gives the lure a bulkier appearance and you’ll quickly notice you can’t fish it very fast.

Trailers That Do Both

Lastly, if bass want something in between (like during the bluegill spawn) you’re going to need a bait called a swimming-craw bait.

Zoom Super Speed Craw

And one of the best baits that come to mind is the Zoom Super Speed Craw

The Zoom Super Speed Craw is the perfect bait for this situation because the body is the perfect length, so you don’t have to do any trimming. 

What’s even better, is you don’t have to remove the antenna appendages off the bait, I feel they just get in the way and neuter the action.

What's The Best Size Trailer for Your ChatterBait?

Trailers that are at least 3.5-inches are good for using on ChatterBait.

However, most trailers range from 3-inches to 5-inches and are good for fishing bass.

Larger trailers up to 5-inches are best for hooking lunkers in deep water. Big bass go after bigger trailers, just as they would pursue larger prey.

How To Rig a ChatterBait

You may be asking yourself, how to rig a chatterBait? When rigging a swimbait on your ChatterBait, thread the swimbait upside down. It will look much more natural when it’s swimming. For whatever reason, the boot tail catches more water and swims much easier when flipped upside down.

If you want your swimbait to have the best movement, make sure the tail of the swimbait is at least 1-½-inches behind your ChatterBait.

Helpful Tip: Make sure your skirt isn't too long. It's possible that it's too long, preventing the tail from gathering water and preventing the paddle from working correctly. So don't be afraid to clip and trim the Chatterbait skirt down to line up with the hook's bend. The swimbait can now be used to its maximum potential.

Should You Use A Trailer Hook?

Most pros say to never use a trailer hook with a ChatterBait, yet other anglers insist that they hook into more fish by using these hooks. Trailer hooks can get tangled in vegetation and they can cause bass to miss the first hook along with the trailer hook.

A trailer hook can also damage the bass’s mouth or lip, possibly killing the fish. In catch and release lakes, this is a potential problem. 

Some anglers rely on trailer hooks when the bass are short-striking. The trailer hook gives them more assurance that the bass will hook onto the trailer hook if they are missing the main hook.

What Best Rod Reel Setup For ChatterBait Fishing?

Anglers have varied beliefs as to which gear to use for fishing ChatterBait for bass. Here is some information about them:

Rods

The most common type of casting rod is either glass or graphite between 7’ and 7’3”.  A longer rid the best because it helps the angler control big fish close to the grass or other areas. 

It is possible to make longer casts with a graphite rod. Fiberglass casting rods are lighter and they can help make short accurate casts.

But if you want to make it easy on yourself use the same kind of rod you throw your jigs.

If you use the same kind of rod you normally fish your jigs then you already know the feel and sensitivity of the rod.  You won’t have to learn the “feel” of the rod, what it can do and what it can’t do.

But if you really want to get the most out of fishing a ChatterBait you go with a medium-heavy casting rod like a St. Croix Victory Series 7’2″, Heavy backbone, Moderate action, they nicknamed “The Rip & Chatter

>>> Click HERE to read the reviews from actual customers about this rod! <<< 

This style rod was specifically designed for the serious bass fishing enthusiast according to many reviews.

The rod has great strength and relatively soft, but sensitive tip that make it easy feel the vibration of the blade, detect even the softest of strikes, and the confidence to pull bass out of thick weeds and grass.

It is durable and lightweight with a tip made for strength and sensitivity.

If you’re more on a budget, I recommend a dependable economy casting rod that’s believed by many anglers to be the best casting rod for a beginner. It is low-priced yet it can fish a lot of bass. 

Construction of the is both fiberglass and graphite, so it is strong yet sensitive.

Reels

Casting reels do a lot of functions that the beginner bass angler wants. They are available in inexpensive styles up to pricy models for experienced anglers and pros. 

I also recommend using a quality Shimano casting reel to use with either of these rods. Most anglers choose a higher-speed gear ratio of 6.6:1 or higher.

>>> Click HERE to read the reviews from actual customers about this reel! <<< 

A higher speed reel is preferred because if the bass are in cover or deep in the vegetation you don’t want them to wrap themselves around anything that’s going to cause you to break off your lure and lose the fish.  You need to get the bass out fast and that is what a fast reel does.

Line

My personal recommendation is I like to keep it simple, use the same kind of line you would use on your jigs in light cover, 15 to 17-pound fluorocarbon – here’s why…

There are two fishing line types commonly used for ChatterBait for bass fishing. These are fluorocarbon line and braided line, and the use of these lines are passionately debated between the two fan bases. 

The anglers use braided line because it has the strength to move through heavy grass or weeds without getting tangled. Braided line will not stretch, and this also makes it a good choice because you need to keep your line tight to avoid the bass getting off the hook.

Braided fishing line is good for fishing in shallow waters using ChatterBait. In murky water, many anglers use 50-pound braid because it can hold heavy bait. 

A lighter braid can be used in clear water fishing ChatterBait for bass. Braided line should be 10 to 20-pound line in clear water. 

Again, the big argument is that with braided line it cuts through grass easier than a fluorocarbon line.   

That’s true, but there’s a counterpoint to that statement. Once you rip that ChatterBait through the grass it takes off like a rocket, making it harder for the bass to chase it down and eat it.

Additionally, many complain the limplessness of the braided line wraps about the blade or the snap swivel causing a fouled cast and possibly spooking the fish!   

On the other side of the coin, those who prefer fluorocarbon fishing line (including myself) know it has little-to-no stretching, it’s abrasion resistant, very strong knot and line strength, and it’s nearly invisible underwater. 

Plus, if you get snagged in the grass, and you go to pop it, it kinda acts like a slingshot. The rod slowly loads and instantly unloads. 

For instance, you’ll see the ChatterBait get snagged in grass and as you pull on it, it moves cautiously and gradually out of the grass. And once its free it speeds out, but not as fast as it does when braided line is tied to the lure. 

Now, that gives the bass a better opportunity to chase that ChatterBait down and gulp it up.

In the end, you can choose whatever line you want, but I recommend fluorocarbon line.

How to Set the Hook When Fishing a ChatterBait

The hook must be firmly hooked into the fish’s mouth to be sure that it does not escape. Simply reeling in the fish without any other action can cause you to lose the fish as it swims off. When anglers feel the fish biting the ChatterBait, some pros say to transition from the 2:00 position up to the 12:00 position to make sure that the hook is embedded in the mouth of the fish.

The angler needs to pull up hard to set the hook in the fish’s mouth. 

Three important steps must be followed to set the hook. The first step is to wait for a brief second or two to allow the fish to bite the ChatterBait. 

If you set the hook before the fish has a firm bite on the bait, it may shake and throw the bait causing you to lose the fish.

Finally, begin retrieval when the hook is set. It is important to retrieve the slack until you feel the line tighten up.

Fish can more easily escape when there is slack in the line. This is because the hook does not embed in a fish’s mouth very often when the line is not tight.

Be sure to use fast retrieval in warm water and slow retrieval in cold water. The reason for this is that bass are more active and aggressive in warm water, so a fast retrieval will help you set the hook quickly.

In cold water, fish are slower moving and are much less active. This is why a slow retrieval is enough to set the hook.

Environmental Factors To Consider When Fishing A ChatterBait

As environmental factors change throughout the year, so do strategies for fishing Chatterbait for bass. The fish move around the lake during various seasons to locations where they can find the most prey and comfort. 

Water temperature, air temperature, and whether the water is muddy or clear are just a few of the environmental factors that affect the bass and anglers trying to hook into them. The bass’s comfort may be warmer areas in the winter or shaded cooler areas in the summer.

Here are some tips to know about weather changes and bass fishing:

Spring Fishing a Chatterbait for Bass

Spring is the spawning season for bass. They prefer the warmer water on the north side of the lake, so it will be helpful to find this area. 

Bass have been in deep water during the winter, and by spring, they are hungry and ready to eat. They begin to spawn once the water reaches around 60 degrees.

Prespawning is the time when bass feed heavily. They are often in their favorite locations feeding on shad and crawfish.

Springtime during the spawning season is the easiest time to fish a Chatterbait for bass.

The fish are hungry and are interested in pursuing their prey. An angler will want to make a fast retrieval style since the bass are aggressive and will probably show interest in the Chatterbait.

It is important to keep the blade moving across the water with a slow and steady retrieval.

But that is just the tip of the iceburg. I’ve written a complete hands-on overview on how to fish a chatterbait in the spring where I outlined 5 strategies you can use immediately!

>>> Learn More: Brand NEW Spring Chatterbait Fishing Secrets (90% of Anglers Don’t Know These Tricks) – CLICK HERE!

Summer Fishing a Chatterbait for Bass

It is a fact that bass feed more in the summer than in other seasons. Unfortunately, many anglers have a false belief that in very hot summer weather, fishing Chatterbait for bass is almost impossible.

Some say it moves too slow and bass prefer faster moving lures like crankbaits. However, fishing with a Chatterbait is possible if the water is stained and/or if there is wind or chop to the water.

The basic rule for fishing Chatterbait for bass in the summer is to use shallow water fishing techniques early in the morning or in the evening. Hit the water early morning till around 9 am when the water begins to heat up.

Water temperature can be 95 to 90 degrees by noon. Bass often swim to deeper water where the temperature is cooler. 

An angler can catch bass by fishing Chatterbait in the deeper areas of the lake. Bass will be attracted to the bait, and it is possible to catch a lunker during the summer by fishing these places.

Fall Fishing a Chatterbait for Bass

Shad and other fish usually gather in shallow areas in the fall. If you go to these areas, fall fishing a Chatterbait for bass is very successful at this time of the year. 

Using a Chatterbait shad trailer is a good way to make a catch. Bass need to eat heavily before winter.

They will respond to the movement of a Chatterbait as you bump it into rocks and move it around.

As the water cools, bass move to the shallow water to complete their heavy feeding. This is good for the angler who can almost always hook up a big bass here.

Winter Fishing a Chatterbait for Bass

Winter fishing a Chatterbait for bass is often overlooked, but a sunny, cool winter day can bring some huge bass to your rod. Bass are slower-moving in the upper 40 to 50-degree temperatures, but they will often respond to a Chatterbait.   

You can look for shallow water areas, such as coves or points near the shoreline. Shallow stained water warms up quickly with the bright winter sun, and this often attracts bass to this area.

Clear Skies Versus Cloudy Skies

Clear skies require different Chatterbait and different fishing strategies than when the sky is cloudy. Clear skies often call for 3/8-ounce Chatterbait with trailers.

A shorter rod is often helpful under clear skies. This size rod makes it easier to get in and out of grassy areas where bass hide. 

Bass are more aware of their environment under clear skies. Chatterbait should be lighter in color, and green pumpkin is a great color for using in grassy areas.

Soft plastic swimbaits or crawfish are effective trailers under clear skies.

Bass have good vision and they see color. Medium-red and green are the best colors to use on clear days, as are chartreuse and white.

Cloudy days are much different for bass and for Chatterbait fishing for bass. The fish become more comfortable moving around under darker skies.

They will often come out of their hiding spots and seem to be less afraid of predators. Experienced anglers know that the bass’s limited visibility requires a different technique when fishing them. 

Windy days often put a chop on the water that hides the angler from the fish. The water may be splashing over its head so he can see less than usual.

Since bass do not see as well on cloudy days, the bulk, vibration, and movement of the Chatterbait blade with a large trailer helps them locate it. 

Black or blue blades work best on these days. A medium-heavy rod is an ideal size to use. In addition, a 3/4 or 5/8 ounce Chatterbait works best.

A soft tip on your rod helps the bass hold onto the bait and prevents you from ripping the bait out of the fish’s mouth on a firm hookset

You may want to try 15-pound fluorocarbon line on windy days with little cover. Slow retrievals are also effective.

Clear/Lightly Stained Water Versus Muddy/Dingy-Colored Water

A different tactic is required in clear/lightly stained water than in muddy/dingy-colored water. You can see down in clear water 5-feet or more. Water clarity or muddiness affects every aspect of fishing from lures to location.

In clear or lightly stained water, bass can see the bait more clearly. This calls for realistic natural-looking Chatterbait and trailers.

The top colors are white, brown, and pumpkin green. Flashy colors are not the best to use in clear water.

In murky water, you can use bright Chatterbait colors that will attract the fish and help them see your bait. 

Fast-moving wiggly trailers are another way to attract the bass and get them to follow the lure and hook into it. 

Bass will often come out of their hiding spots and seem to be less afraid of predators in cloudy water. Experienced anglers know that the bass’s limited visibility requires a particular technique when fishing them.

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