In this article, we’ll discuss some really great ways of how to fish with a ChatterBait, a very intriguing new type of lure introduced to the fishing market in 2004.
A lot of people are generally unfamiliar with such lures, and this article will be a great introduction to something that you can easily acquire and add to your arsenal.
This type of lure is highly effective and inexpensive, and that combination alone makes it a must have to anybody trying to improve the level and depth of their tackle and gear.
The highly versatile nature of a ChatterBait might just be the most important component of the entire lure, and the best part of a ChatterBait really is that almost never gets stuck!
“But I don’t even know where to start?” you may say! However, this quick guide will first help get you on your way to adding these crucial lures to your personal arsenal, and next, it will help you understand some of the most critical techniques and insider-knowledge about these lures.
And once you have them and learn to use them for yourself, you’ll know that ChatterBaits will surely take a lot of hits off of your wallet and keep them in the water where you like them!
5 Professional ChatterBait Fishing Tips
Tip One: Understanding the ChatterBait Mechanism and Origin
ChatterBaits arrived on the market in 2004 as a strange and misunderstood new type of lure created by a man named Ronny Davis.
To somebody who has never used one, a ChatterBait might seem confusing with the metal blade at the top, a jig-like skirt (the component that there to aesthetically appeal to fish), and a distinct vibrating action (much like a crankbait) which is the identifying factor of these baits.
But it really is the simple composition and mechanism that make them so effective. In an article from BassMaster.com, Davis was interviewed for the 10 year anniversary of the lure that really almost never made it because of its obscure beginnings and composition.
The name is derived from an early occasion with Ron and his father when his father stated that the strong vibrations could almost “make your teeth chatter”. Ron further states:
When ChatterBaits first hit the market, they were described as a hybrid of a spinnerbait, a crankbait and a jig. They featured the lead head and skirt of a jig, the metal blade of a spinnerbait and the vibrating action of a crankbait. But if you've already got confidence in a particular spinnerbait or crankbait or jig, how long are you going to stick with a funny-looking hybrid? Tournament anglers are always looking for a competitive edge. Ultimately, they were the ones willing to spend some extra time with ChatterBaits and exploit [their] advantages.
ChatterBaits have also evolved over the years, so newer models have begun to feature even more critically analyzed and manufactured lures.
The metal blade featured on the top of the lures have been improved to function much better than they did in the initial phases of the lure, and this really adds to the versatile nature of the lure itself.
The hooks have also been updated in two really important ways. First, the sharpness and strength of the hook has been vastly improved. Second, the newer ChatterBaits feature a new and improved small set of barbed hooks on the body of the lures where the user applies their trailer.
Rigging a ChatterBait and successfully putting the trailer on is similar to rigging up a worm on a hook, and for a quick video of somebody rigging a trailer to a Chatterbait here:
Tip Two: Buying Your ChatterBaits
One of the many great factors about ChatterBaits is they are not only effectively in the water, they are actually very cost effective and can range from about $3-10$ each: not bad for something that is going to catch you hundreds of bass!
ChatterBaits can be found locally in tackle shops and other places that sell fishing related equipment. I’ve found ChatterBait gear at stores like Kmart and other department stores, and strangely enough these can be the best places to acquire this type of gear at discount prices.
Because people don’t really tend to seek out this type of gear at department stores, the stuff sits around for so long until it’s put on clearance and sold for a fraction of even that low cost.
NOTE: If you do scope out the fishing aisle or section at your local store keep an eye out for discounted prices or things that may become discounted soon!
There is no sense on spending your life-savings on tackle! And sometimes it feels like we do, which is thankfully something that won’t happen when you start to use ChatterBaits.
Tip Three: Using the Right Trailer to Maximize Effectiveness
There are plenty of rookie mistakes that can ultimately lead to us inhibiting the potential of the lure itself by not really knowing how to use it.
The first thing that a rookie may become confused by are the standard trailers that accompany ChatterBaits when you buy them.
Trailers are designed to fit on the body of the lure itself and float with the motion of the skirt to help the device appeal to fish aesthetically and maneuver more naturally through the water.
Different trailers affect the movements and vibrations of the lure, and this is one unique facet of this bait that as Ronny Davis said was a reason that tournament anglers were willing to spend some time using these baits to find out how they could ultimately “exploit its advantages”.
Using the standard trailer and not using more effective alternate trailers to suit each individual bait and fishing situation can be the first place where a ChatterBait rookie can quickly make their first mistake.
Most interpretations are subjective, but advanced fisherman alike generally agree that this standard trailer is going to catch you some fish, and that’s great. But to really adapt to your particular situation and environment you’ll want to acquire some other trailer types and colors.
The great part here is that these items are just shaped pieces of a plastic-y material that supplement the entire bait (and, yes they are quite cheap too). And yes they do sound pretty insignificant, but the great tip here is that they really aren’t.
There are ultimately many types and colors of these trailers, so be sure to get a selection that you can match up with your lures and a selection that will help you get a little bit more variety when you are on the water.
Twin-tailed trailers which feature a dual tail instead of a typical single tail have their advantages. Most importantly, the twin tail helps weigh down the ChatterBait which can make it more effective in cold weather scenarios where fish are extremely low maintenance.
NOTE: Single tailed trailers are the most common and are a better fit for scenarios where fish are ultimately more active (anytime other than winter and early/mid-spring).
Tip Four: Choosing the Right Colors: How Color Affects a ChatterBait
The nature of ChatterBaits like all lures is highly affected by color, and that means all the components of the lure: the plate at the top, the skirt, and the trailer.
Choosing the color of these components will ultimately determine what advantages (or disadvantages) the set up may provide. So be sure to follow these simple instructions!
To start, be sure to pair up skirts and trailers of the same color. I’ve never heard of anybody having success with a black trailer and a white skirt, and quite frankly I don’t see how or why that would be effective.
We all know that fish are relatively smart creatures, and they are highly adept to quickly interpreting vibrations and basic aesthetics.
Using ChatterBaits with dark plates at the top is known to work very effectively in places with lots of vegetation like a pond or the side of a river. So be sure to pair up dark plated ChatterBaits with darker colored skirts and trailers. Simple enough, right?
NOTE: Don’t use dark-plated ChatterBaits in clear and/or open water. In this situation you want the generally more typical silver-plate.
Using lighter types of ChatterBaits with light trailers (for example, white on white) can be effective in a clear water fishing scenario on perhaps a very clean pond or an open river.
Fishing from the side of a river or ocean into open water is a great scenario for this lighter set-up. If you are going to try to more effectively fish the perimeter of the water which will ultimately probably have much more vegetation, be sure to switch to you darker set up!
Tip Five: How to Successfully Maneuver a ChatterBait and Use its Unique Potential to Your Advantage
Now that you know the basic history, mechanics, and some other important factors of ChatterBaits, we’ll start to discuss how we can seriously start to use these lures like the professionals and really begin to gain a serious advantage by using them.
Despite ChatterBaits being more generally known for being lures that are used primarily in scenarios with lots of cover and vegetation, entering a channel of a river with a lighter set up will certainly be effective way to effectively fish that channel.
The channel of a river typically has little to no vegetation (and sometimes little to no structure) so this can really be one of the best places to fish with this particular set up, and any general scenario where there is about 5 feet of visibility will be perfect for a set up with a silver plate.
NOTE: In any scenario with a silver or lighter plate, you’re going to want to pair them up a white or lighter colored skirt (the plastic part of the lure that really gives it that strange aesthetic appeal), and/or a white or lighter colored trailer.
The surface of ponds, rivers, the ocean, etc. can all be effective spots where many anglers aren’t thinking about using a ChatterBaits, and that’s where it gives us a real edge.
I’ve had plenty of occasions where I’ve had no success while fishing from the side of a river or ocean, and the moment that I rig a ChatterBait I almost instantaneously catch a bass.
And if that feeling wasn’t so great it would almost be aggravating! So next time you’re out on the water be sure to feel out the particular fishing scenario, and if you have no success with more typical lures then definitely throw your ChatterBait and shakes things up a bit.
Perhaps the most important factor in the overall fishing experience with a ChatterBait is the rod-type.
Since the ChatterBaits are devices that are primarily focused on making a series of coordinated vibrations in the water, we have to really learn how to understand these vibrations as we begin to reel after casting.
There is a general understanding that using a heavy rod can break the ChatterBait experience. Understanding the vibrations of the lure is crucial, and on a rod meant to handle very large fish you ultimately won’t be able to feel any of these often subtle but important vibrations.
So be sure that you are using a light-medium to light rod-type when you are using a ChatterBait. Not only will the fight be more fun with a lighter rod, the lighter the rod, the easier it is to feel the unique vibrations of the lure underwater after each cast.
NOTE: I would suggest using a light-medium rod as it allows you take more easily catch larger bass than some than is purely a light rod.
Braid or Line?
The next topic we’ll discuss is what will work better with our Chatterbait setup, braided line, or standard fishing line. The general consensus with most amateurs and professionals alike is that there really is no clear winner between the two, and it really just comes down to user preference.
With this issue you may hear people really subjectively analyze their own experiences, and if you do listen to a professional talk more in depth about their preference just make sure that they aren’t sponsored and are just promoting certain products!
So with this frequently asked question, just be sure to see what you like. Some people seem to have success with braided line because they say it vibrates more, and other claim that this extra vibration is actually a negative rather than a positive.
And since the braided vs. standard line argument is generally subjective, let’s just say that it can really ultimately depend on the individual fishing scenario and/or user preference: so there’s really no “right” answer. And that’s okay.
Conclusion and Final Notes:
All in all the ChatterBait is a great type of lure that you should add to your tackle arsenal. Its versatility is almost incomparable, and adding some ChatterBait setups to your regular tackle rotation will certainly help you become a better, more professional angler.
You will find that once you really learn how to correctly understand how to use a ChatterBaits they will become a consistent part of your tackle, and ultimately they’ll really begin to add depth to your fishing style as a whole.
NOTE: There is a reason why the professionals use ChatterBaits, and I’m sure that you will understand why when you create your ideal set up and start throwing a Chatterbait today!
Read more: How To Tie A Chatterbait