Two search baits that have no doubt changed bass fishing, the spinnerbait, and the chatterbait. These unique lures exhibit a profile that may not look natural, or anything forage-like, but given the right conditions, they can be considered some of the most entertaining baits to fish in bass fishing. They’re both excellent tools for covering water and excel in drawing fish in less clear conditions. Let’s compare the spinnerbait and the chatterbait.
The spinnerbait is a wirebait that has become the go-to search bait for many bass anglers, especially in windier and murky conditions. Its versatility allows it to thrive in various forms of cover and water conditions, making it a reliable choice bass anglers of all skills levels.
A spinnerbait consists of a skirt, a wire arm, a weighted head, and usually a set of blades. Smaller spinnerbaits may only hold a single blade. The combination of these features forms a lure that creates a consistent flash and thump in the water, making it a powerhouse for catching bass in less clear water conditions.
While spinnerbaits may not look like an enticing meal for bass, they're actually excellent imitators of various types of forage. They can imitate a single baitfish, or even a shoal of small baitfish, especially in less clear water.
What is a Spinnerbait and why is it so effective?
The spinnerbait is a power fishing technique that enables anglers to cover a large area of water efficiently. Its design consists of a wire frame, usually with two blades, which creates a thumping vibration and generates considerable flash. These features make the spinnerbait hard to go unnoticed, which is needed in less clear water conditions.
Based on my personal experience with spinnerbaits, there are two key scenarios I’m always looking out for:
Rain results in run-off and ultimately more stained water. If it’s rained a lot during the week I’m planning a trip, I will make sure I have spinnerbaits with brighter and darker colors. The flash and vibrations from a spinnerbait give me confidence that bass will be able to sense my bait, especially in muddy water.
Wind also creates loads of noise and chop on the water. Spinnerbaits stand out in the crowd in conditions like this.
When to Fish a Spinnerbait
As mentioned, the spinnerbait is an incredibly versatile bait that can be fished in numerous scenarios. Here are some excellent zones and times to consider throwing a spinnerbait:
Laydowns and submerged logs present a fantastic area to throw a spinnerbait. Deflecting off these forms of cover add an erratic motion to your spinnerbait, and this often entices aggressive reactions from bass
Rip rap and rocky cover offer a similar opportunity to laydowns. You want your spinnerbait deflecting off this cover, again creating an erratic action
Stained water will help hide the imperfection of a spinnerbait. The flash and thump created however will still be noticeable!
Chatterbait: Fishing the Bladed Jig
Since its discovery in 2006, the chatterbait, also known as a bladed jig, has earned a reputation for catching lunkers and enticing aggressive reaction bites. This bait is a powerful search bait that imitates various types of forage.
The chatterbait showcases a classic jig profile, similar to that of a swim jig. The added feature is a blade at the head of the bait, which is where you'll tie on your line. The blade plays a key role in adding flash and vibrations in the water, giving the chatterbait a louder profile than all the other jigs.
What it is a Chatterbait and why is it so effective?
The chatterbait features a skirt and head shape similar to a jig, but with the added feature of a blade above the head. This blade provides eye-catching flash and creates vibrations that mimic the movement of baitfish or other forage. The chatterbait combines the best features of various baits, making it an a favorite jig option for many bass anglers today:
It possesses flash like a spinnerbait
It has a vibration similar to a crankbait
It showcases the proven profile of a jig
Chatterbaits are often fished with a trailer, giving the bait a more lifelike profile, imitating the relevant forage within the system.
When to Fish a Chatterbait
Chatterbaits are perhaps less versatile than spinnerbaits and particularly work in the following scenarios and conditions:
Chatterbaits are proven killers around shallow grasslines. As they generally lack a weed guard, chatterbaits will be more effective in less threatening forms of cover such as grasslines. The blade on the bait does a pretty good job in protecting the hook point from vegetation
Low light conditions are always going to be more fruitful periods for fishing a chatterbait. These conditions will help hide the imperfection of the chatterbait presentation, allowing the blade the create the necessary noise and flash to get a hungry bait to react and bite. Focus on early mornings and early evenings
Pre-spawn presents the perfect opportunity to frustrate protective male bass and draw them off their beds
The Difference Between a Spinnerbait and a Chatterbait
Understanding the key differences between the spinnerbait and the chatterbait will help you know when is the best time to select these two proven fish-catchers. Below are some of the key differences to understand:
Spinnerbaits are the known kings of flash, making them the best baits to throw when the water is stained or murky. Spinnerbaits have different blade variants, with each differing in the amount of flash and vibrations they produce. While willow blades are flash-focused, Colorado blades produce a greater thump in the water.
Chatterbaits will generally produce less flash than spinnerbaits, which can be ideal when the water is clearer and bass are finicky. In saying this, chatterbaits still produce a considerable amount of flash.
How weedless are these baits?
Spinnerbaits are designed to deflect and bounce off various forms of cover, making them powerful baits to throw around logs, rocks, and other hard cover. Although they don’t have weed guards, a spinnerbait’s hook is protected and well guarded.
Unlike the swim jig, chatterbaits are generally missing a weed guard, making them more susceptible to getting snagged or catching on to vegetation. However, the blade on a chatterbait, as mentioned, does a reasonable job in projecting the hook from catching onto vegetation. You do, however, have to be more selective in where you throw a chatterbait as they're not the most weedless lures.
The most obvious difference between these two baits is the overall profile.
Spinnerbaits feature a wire frame that attaches the blades to the bait. Having the bait set up this way helps create a more consistent thump and flash on the spinnerbait.
Chatterbaits have a very similar profile to a jig, just with the added feature of a blade.
The spinnerbait and chatterbait continue to grow in popularity in the world of bass fishing. They are both powerful search baits and essential weapons for many bass anglers in less favorable water conditions thanks to their ability to create vibrations and flash in the water.
Understanding the differences in these baits will help you when deciding on which bait to throw. Add a few spinnerbaits and chatterbaits to your tackle box and use them to your advantage.
Have the latest bass fishing insights and tackle reviews delivered straight to your inbox.