Tackle & Gear

Best Chatterbait Trailers for Bass: 3 Styles of Soft Plastics

The chatterbait continues to grow in popularity in the sport of bass fishing purely because of its versatility, ability to cover water, and alternative presentation. Many will argue that to get the best out of this bait, you need a trailer to fit the situation. Trailer selection can be difficult, so we thought we’d break down some of the best chatterbait trailers out on the market right now and when to apply them.

Best Chatterbait Trailers for Bass: 3 Styles of Soft Plastics

Should You Use a Trailer on a Chatterbait?

Although chatterbaits, jigs, and spinnerbaits are attractive baits by themselves, there’s common trend forming where anglers are consistently applying trailers to every one of these core baits.

The reason for this is that a trailer can add a lot to a presentation. It gives the bait a more lifelike profile as well as a bit of flair when it comes to action.

Bassmaster Classic winner, Mike Iaconelli, is one angler who won’t throw a chatterbait without a trailer. He loves what they bring to a chatterbait’s profile, and he knows it’s a key part of getting bites on this unique bait.

Trailers can also play a key role when it comes to optimizing your presentation according to the conditions you’re fishing. Let’s dive into the specifics.

'I almost never, ever, ever fish a jig, or a vibrating jig (chatterbait) without a trailer.’ - Mike Iaconelli

Types of Chatterbait Trailers for Bass

The different types of trailers for chatterbaits can be differentiated by their level of action/motion. Let’s break this down:

Natural action

The less action, the more natural the presentation. Less action can refer to trailers that are slender and straight-tailed. Some awesome natural action trailer examples:

  • Zoom Fluke
  • Damiki Armor Shad
Zoom Fluke - Best Chatterbait Trailer
The Zoom Fluke - natural action trailer

Moderate action

These trailers have a similar profile, but have a big more motion — particularly in the tail. These are generally still single-limbed soft plastics, but they do have significantly more movement. Some moderate action trailers include:

  • Big Bite Baits Cane Thumper
  • Yamamoto Zako
Yamamoto Zako: Chatterbait Trailer
The Zako is the perfect example of a moderate action trailer

Strong action

Trailers that have a strong, or heavy action generally have the most movement. This movement is created by more limbs, and a less natural profile. Here are some examples:

  • Z-Man TRD Bugz
  • Berkley Powerbait Maxscent Creature Hawg
Creature Hawg: Chatterbait trailer option
The Creature Hawg has numerous limbs - making it a strong action trailer

Best Chatterbait Trailers According to Conditions: 2 Key Considerations

Now that we’ve determined the various styles of trailers, trailer selection needs to vary and it needs to be determined based on the conditions you’re fishing. Let’s talk about 2 major factors to consider, as well as which trailers are best for each:

Water Temperature and Trailers

This is key when determining what style of trailer to put on your chatterbait.

As we know, colder water (30-50 degrees) brings about more lethargic behavior in bass and they’re less aggressive when it comes to feeding.

For colder water, you’ll want to select a trailer that has a natural action. This will be a lot more inviting for lethargic bass. The general rule here is that the tougher the conditions, the less action you want in your presentation.

Warmer water (60-80 degrees) brings about more aggressive feeding habits in bass and they’re a lot more open to a wider range of forage.

For warmer conditions, you can look to throw chatterbaits with trailers that have a more moderate action, or if water temperatures are perfectly ideal, even a strong action trailer. Bass will be a lot more willing to eat a bait with more motion in favorable water temperatures.

Forage and Trailers

Understanding what bass are feeding on can be tough, but if you’re someone who understands the forage within your favorite system, use this to your advantage.

Baitfish Trailers

Chatterbaits can be superb imitators of baitfish and this is largely helped by a suitable trailer. If you know bass are feeding on baitfish within your system — select a trailer that fits the profile of a baitfish. These are generally natural action, or moderate action trailers.

A great example here would be a Strike King Power Swimmer — a finesse swimbait that makes for an incredible chatterbait trailer.

Color selection is key for matching the baitfish within your fishery. Natural colors such as green pumpkin, or bluegill are great for sunfish, bluegill, or crappie, while a white or grey is perfect for shad.

Strike King Power Swimmer: Chatterbait trailer option
The Strike King Power Swimmer in a Sexy Shad color

Crawfish Trailers

This is where the versatility comes in for the chatterbait. It can be fish in a way that imitates a baitfish, but also other forage such as crawfish.

For crawfish trailers, you’re looking at strong action trailers — trailers that have two or more limbs.

Color selection should be based on water clarity for crawfish trailers. The clearer the water, the more natural you want to go. The more stained the water, the brighter or darker you want to go.

A fantastic crawfish-style trailer would be a Rage Bug from Strike King, or even the above mentioned soft plastics under the 'strong action' category.

Strike King Rage Bug: Chatterbait trailer option
The Strike King Rage Bug in a California Craw color

Wrapping Up

Selecting a trailer for a chatterbait can be a tough, decision to make, however, by sticking to general rules within bass fishing presentations, the process should be simplified. Always acknowledge the conditions you're fishing and apply this to the size and style of trailer you're fishing.

Trailers can really amplify your chatterbait presentation - so understanding how to apply them can give you a lot more options when throwing a chatterbait.

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