Chatterbaits (bladed jigs) have become one of the most popular fishing lures for bass fishermen. This is due to the fact that they are extremely versatile and can be used in almost any situation. In the following article I’m going to go show you how to fish a chatterbait, what are some great situations for fishing with chatterbaits and lastly, how to maximize your catches using this lure.
What is a chatterbait?
A chatterbait also known as a bladed jig is basically a jig with a single blade attached to it. Now, I know what you are thinking, how can a jig with a blade catch me more fish. This blade is really what makes the chatterbait so effective. On the retrieve this blade gives off a clicking sound and great vibration. The two most essential ingredients when fishing in dirty muddy water. However, don’t just limit yourself to muddy water, they work just as great in clear water.
Why you should use a chatterbait
Chatterbaits are used quite often for freshwater sports fishing due to their amazing action that allows them to be retrieved in a variety of different ways. Versatility is the name of the game in fishing and no angler should ever go out without an open mind. If you want to retrieve quickly with a spinnerbait but the fish are slow, you’ll need to change your lure or you won’t catch anything. Chatterbaits maybe just what you need.
The versatility of a chatter bait is really what makes it so great.
What is the best color chatterbait?
As many fishermen know choosing the right color of the lure is equally important as to how you use it. With that in mind before we talk about how to fish a chatterbait let’s talk about choosing the best color.
I’d only ever touch four colors of chatterbaits; shad, chartreuse, black and blue, and bluegill. Shad and Chartreuse chatterbaits are great for fishing lakes that you know have a lot of white based or whiter looking fish. Things like shad (of course) and crappie within the lakes are a good sign that you should use a Chartreuse or shad colored chatterbait.
Blue gill is my personal favourite for use around late winter and early spring time when the bass start going down to the beds. This is an especially interesting color because it will play off not just their hunger but their distaste for the bluegill around this time. This is because when bluegill go down to the beds in the lakes they stir things up. Bass really hate this. Again, you’re not catching fish here because the bass are hungry but because they just want to get the bluegill away.
Finally, the black and blue color chatterbaits are great for use in the dirtiest water. Their black color plays really well against the dark water. Remember, the darker the lure, the better the silhouette and the better chances that lure will stand out in a time where visibility is at its lowest.
How to fish a chatterbait?
When using chatterbaits there’s a few things you can do to almost guarantee your success out on the water.
First of all, finding where to cast is incredibly important. What I like to do is start casting almost parallel to the shore, about 1 foot out, and then fan out across until you start to see some action. When you find the sweet spot try to keep fishing it, I often find bass like to sit approximately 10-15 feet out from the shore. When you do find the strike zone be sure to try to retrieve the lure as parallel to the shore as you can, this will maximise your time in the target zone and therefore your chances of getting a strike.
Secondly it’s important to remember that chatterbaits have a lot of action themselves and I find that a slow and steady retrieve often does noticeably better than just jigging the bait up from the bottom and letting it float back down. That being said, if you find yourself hitting bits of grass be sure to pop the chatterbait out the top of it, bass will swarm to the movement coming out of the weeds and a lot of the time you’ll get a bite off this.
Try and read the weather, for colder weather the fish will be less active so you’ll want to go a little slower with your retrieve, however, if there’s a lot of action in the water and the fish are active, you can have some success cranking it across the water.
Finally, don’t be afraid to change things up. This can be essential not only in the retrieval, but also in the look of the lure. For example, one way to change-up the look of the chatterbait is the remove the skirt. This makes the profile much smaller and allows the lure to be retrieved at much higher speeds without breaking the surface. This also gives the bass a different presentation, perhaps something they have never seen, thus increasing your chances of getting a bite.
Don’t forget about the trailer…
Another thing that makes chatterbait so versatile is the trailers you can add onto them. I suggest using a swimbait trailer with your chatterbaits and, depending on which one you use, it can have a variety of effects on your performance.
Adding a trailer will really beef up the profile of the chatterbait and can have a really great effect on the action that you get. Using larger trailers will add to the profile and allow you to use a slower retrieve without bringing the jig to the surface. Likewise, a smaller trailer will have the opposite effect.
Trailers also add a ton of vibration into the mix, this is really integral for fishing murky waters. When the fish aren’t fishing with sight (because they can’t see) they instead rely almost entirely on feeling the vibrations in the water to hunt. Exploit this by making the biggest vibrations possible. A nice trailer with a large tail paddling action will give off a lot more vibration and sound in the water.
When choosing a trailer for your chatterbait remember to fish accordingly. This means if you’re using a cray trailer don’t cast way into deep sandy areas, try to run it through the shallows and rocks so that it mimics, as closely as possible, where the fish will normally find cray. Trailers can also add weight to a rig if you’re finding it particularly hard to cast out your lure.
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Enjoy the following links on fishing with bladed jigs