The chatterbait, otherwise known as a bladed jig, is a relatively new lure in bass fishing. It’s a unique presentation that combines the features of popular baits such as a crankbait, a jig, and a spinnerbait. Let’s talk about some ways that you can fish a chatterbait for bass.
Bursting onto the scene in around 2006 following the success in several pro events, the chatterbait is now a bait that most pros will not leave out of their tackle boxes.
The chatterbait is more formally known as a bladed jig. It has a similar profile to other jigs, but this time, it’s equipped with a blade at the head of the bait.
The blade serves several purposes giving the chatterbait an edge on other baits:
It provides the bait will eye-catching flash
It creates vibrations and moves water
These two features make the chatterbait a powerful search bait for specific scenarios on the water, resembling various other baits that we so often like to fish.
Like other jigs and wirebaits, the chatterbait can imitate various types of forage and us as anglers, through color and trailer selection determine what we’re looking to imitate.
Why is the Chatterbait so Good?
The chatterbait is a powerful weapon as it showcases features of the following baits:
The flash of a spinnerbait
The vibration of a crankbait
The profile of a jig
It combines everything into one in a way, and there are certain scenarios where this bait will outfish most. It is however important to understand where this bait thrives and where it may have its limitations.
When to Use a Chatterbait for Bass
The beauty of a chatterbait is that it is very much an all-season bait. It can be fished in numerous ways to suit the conditions you’re fishing. However, there are specific situations that the chatterbait really does perform:
Pre-spawn is a fantastic time to throw a chatterbait. As we know, bass are feeding aggressively at this time and the loud, irritating action of a chatterbait will trigger hardcore bites.
Low Light Conditions
Early mornings and late afternoons are superb times to bring out a chatterbait. Lower light conditions mean less visibility for bass and they have to make use of noise to target prey. This is where the vibrating action of the chatterbait comes in.
Let’s be honest, a chatterbait isn’t the most natural-looking bait. For this reason, it will always do better in murkier conditions when bass are using their sense of hearing to locate food. Also, the flash of a chatterbait can catch the eye of bass from further away in murkier conditions.
“Bass will feel the presence of a chatterbait” - Mike Iaconelli
Like swim jigs, chatterbaits are excellent around grasslines and less threatening vegetation. They’re not as weedless as a swim jig, but the blade still does a pretty good job of protecting the hook.
These are just a few scenarios to consider throwing a chatterbait. The bottom line is, these are incredibly versatile baits that can be thrown in almost any type of cover. One thing to remember is that the chatterbait will always perform better when there is lower light or murkier water.
How to Fish a Chatterbait for Bass: 4 Powerful Techniques
Like a jig, the chatterbait can be fished in numerous ways. The way you fish it should however be dependent on the conditions you’re fishing in. Below are some effective ways of fishing a chatterbait, along with conditions in which you should fish that specific technique.
1. Steady Retrieve
The most straightforward way of fishing a chatterbait is the steady retrieve. This involves retrieving at a consistent rate — getting your bait to give off considerable vibration and flash.
The steady retrieve should be used when you’re fishing more stained water and when bass are feeding actively. More flash and vibration will help catch the attention of active bass in less clear water conditions.
2. Slow Roll
The slow roll is a classic method of fishing a spinnerbait that can also be applied to a chatterbait. Cast out and retrieve your chatterbait in a consistent, but slow manner — just fast enough to feel the vibration of the blade.
A slower cadence is ideal for colder water conditions along with stained water. Bass are more likely to react to a slower-moving bait with a colder water temperature.
The burning technique is where you retrieve extremely fast, keeping the bait near the surface. It’s important to note that if you want to fish this technique more effectively, you’ll want to throw a heavier chatterbait, such as a 3/4oz or 1/2oz as this will keep your chatterbait just below the surface.
This technique works well when there is clearer water and actively feeding schools of bass. If you’re fishing clearer water, a faster retrieve will give bass less time to notice the imperfection of the chatterbait.
4. Feather Retrieve
The feathering technique is very similar to the way you’d fish a jig around isolated cover. Cast out and let the jig fall to the bottom, then bring it up with the rod, bringing out the vibration in the jig. Repeat once or twice more, and cast it out again.
The feather retrieve works well around isolated cover and docks. Once again, murkier water will always get better results here.
The chatterbait is an incredibly underrated search bait for bass. It’s one of those baits that is a must-have on the boat when water conditions are less clear, and you’re looking to create a noise in the water. It can imitate almost any forage, and it’s a bait that not many will throw even in the most pressured of waters.
Consider the above mentioned techniques and give the chatterbait a go. Trust us!
Have the latest bass fishing insights and tackle reviews delivered straight to your inbox.