Chatterbait Fishing: How to Master It Like The Pros

how to fish a chatterbait

If you ask anglers how they found their favorite fishing technique, they would often reply that they simply kept experimenting until they found the most enthralling one that worked for them.

However, depending on what type of fish you are looking to catch different techniques might be more effective than others.

One such technique is Chatterbait Fishing.

Chatterbait is widely used as a ‘tournament bait’ and works great for bass fishing, making it an excellent option for people looking to land big game bass.

But how do you fish a chatterbait?

Well, let’s find out!

Fish a Chatterbait Like An Expert

chatterbait fishing

What Is a Chatterbait?

Chatterbait is a vibrating jig, that has a heavy upper head with a skirt.

This head is further attached with a large blade therefore it is also called a bladed jig.

When the angler retrieves the lure or trolls it, the blade creates vibrations in the water and gives a presentation similar to a bait fish.

The skirt combined with the hexagonal blade makes it an excellent choice for attracting bass.

However, it is important to keep in mind that these bladed jigs do not always come with skirts.

Instead, you can find soft plastic chatterbaits that have a large blade moving in front of them to lure in fish from far away distances.

Chatterbait borrows characteristics from several other lures.

It has a blade just like spinnerbait, while the vibrations produced by it are similar to a crankbait.

And the jig and skirt mimic bait fish.

In short, chatterbaits are an extremely versatile lure.

The Working Of A Chatterbait And Its Different Types

Chatterbaits make a fluttering noise but how do they make it? How are they able to attract game-size big bass and other predatory species?

The reason chatterbaits make this fluttering noise/ vibration is that when the angler performs a steady retrieve the large blade moves against the jig head and creates a flutter.

Therefore, from a distance, this bladed jig looks like a small prey fish chattering away.

While this sound may feel too low for humans, it is very loud for the fish and it also causes disturbance in the water.

Moreover, in shallow water, this bladed jig will cause turbulence on the surface hence attracting fish.

The combination of a chattering blade and jig head and other trailers is very productive to catch bass and other fish.

Moving on, there are two different types of chatterbaits.

These two types have visible differences, one of them has a bigger blade and smaller body, while the other type has a smaller blade and a bigger body in a compact design.

The former bladed jig has a bigger blade so it creates more fluttering hence it has a larger footprint and can be sensed by fish from far away.

When you head out to buy a chatterbait, you might be surprised to see a variety of options available such as regular chatterbaits or minnow chatterbaits.

Don’t get confused because the only difference between them is that the minnow version has a tube-like shape that allows it to dive deeper and swim more naturally.

Another unique option is the green pumpkin chatterbait lure, these are one of the most frequently used lures by anglers because of their versatility.

Moreover, you can also attach different types of soft plastics to your chatterbait.

Tips and Techniques On How To Fish A Chatterbait

Since we have developed an understanding of what chatterbait is and how it works, we can move on to answering the question – How to fish a chatterbait?

There are many ways to fish chatterbaits, in the end, it all draws down to what technique is best for you.

Based on your experience with these techniques you can tinker and experiment to achieve a better success rate.

Before we go ahead it is important to remember that chatterbaits are one of the most versatile baits out there, making them suitable for all types of fishing techniques, water conditions, and fish.

However, if you are a beginner you should only follow the conventional techniques mentioned down below.

Keeping A Slow And Steady Pace

The key to catching bass and other fish is to fish this bladed jig is to fish it slowly.

When fishing chatterbait for the first time most anglers tend to cast and retrieve the lure with haste which renders the cast useless because chatterbaits are designed to be moved slowly.

Chatterbaits are supposed to move across the water very slowly, through the shallow cover to catch fish.

You can swim them or pop them in a weed bed or lily pads to get the most out of them.

Just remember to be slow and calm with the motion you are trying to make.

Keeping control of your nerves is extremely important and you must trust the process that this vibrating jig will entice the bass to take a bite.

However, as important as it is to be slow and calm, you also need to know how to work chatterbaits efficiently.

Pop And Drop Technique

This technique employs the presentation of the prey fish bass feed on.

The bladed jig is lowered into the water and reeled back with a pop, which helps attract enthusiastic bass.

You can follow these steps to mimic this technique:

  • Find the best spot to cast your chatterbait, you can use a fish finder for better underwater awareness
  • Let the jig sink to the bottom of the water body
  • Once you have achieved considerable depth you can pull your rod up
  • Reel back the slack line
  • Now drop the vibrating jig back into the depths
  • Continue this to-and-fro motion until you sense a nibble or a bite.

Some important points to keep in mind while pulling off this technique are:

  • Remember to give your rod a swift pull while lifting the lure, because then only the blade, skirt, and the soft plastic will do what they are supposed to do.
  • The rising and falling motion of the lure will cause it to make a lot of noise, and the pause when it drops back creates an opportunity for the bass to attack.

The pop and drop technique is a really good way to work craw trailers.

Craw trailers resemble bait fish that bass feed on and provide a subtle and natural presentation.

Gentle Consistent Retrieve

The easiest way to fish a chatterbait is to use the gentle consistent retrieve technique.

This technique uses a slow and steady approach when rolling your vibrating jig.

Your lure will have a slow rolling motion across shallow cover such as weed, causing the fish to come out of their hiding spaces and strike the jig.

Follow these steps to master this technique:

  • Find a spot with a heavy cover such as a weed bed.
  • Keep a slow rolling motion with a steady retrieve rate
  • If the blade gets tangled in weed tops, increase the speed of your retrieval
  • Ensure that your chatterbait is sinking low in the water while you retrieve it, so it is nearer to the cover and gives a natural presentation.
  • Continue with your retrieval at a gentle consistent rate, the skirt or trailer will do the job it is intended to do.
  • Sooner or later you will feel a nibble on your rod tip.

The chatters and flutters of this bladed jig will entice the fish to come out.

Moreover, the rustling noise of something moving across bushes and weeds will allow you to catch bass effectively.

We will recommend you to use this technique with craws and flukes.

To conclude, using a vibrating jig over a weed bed can be an extremely productive chatterbait fishing technique.

Bottom Hopping Chatterbaits

Hopping or bottom hopping is a chatterbait fishing technique in which the lure is moved across the bottom of the water body in a hopping motion or jumps.

Since bass is an ambush predator, it likes to creep up on this dancing bait and give it a good bite.

The bottom hopping technique is best for cold water conditions, especially during the early spring season when the bass is too lazy to come near the surface or go after faster bait fish.

However, we will not limit you from using it in other seasons.

Here is a simple breakdown of this technique:

  • Cast your bait and wait for it to reach the bottom
  • Give your rod a swift pull and raise the chatterbait or reel the line
  • Now drop the chatterbait again and repeat

Bottom hopping is more or less similar to jigging your chatterbait from one point to another.

The main feature of this technique is the rise and fall motion which cannot be resisted by bass.

Moreover, you should keep in mind that the hopping should be gentle and slow so the lazy bass gets enticed to pursue the lure.

Working A Chatterbait

When you go onto a chatterbait fishing session, the most effective way for attracting bass is to actively work your lure.

You will not be able to get anything out of constant rolling action, instead, you should be giving your bait pulls, wriggles, and erratic actions to get the blade moving and produce a mouth-watering chatter for bass.

Matching The Chatterbait Presentation With Water Condition Using Soft Plastic Trailers

Just like other baits, when fishing in clear water, you must use a chatterbait with a natural profile. You can use a green pumpkin trailer or frogs or shiners. Or you can use other options to match the local hatch.

While in muddy and stained waters, you should bright colors. You can use white or chartreuse and any other similar trailer options.

More Easy Tips To Follow

Chatterbait is the most versatile bait out there, therefore it can be fished anywhere and in any type of cover.

It is also the easiest lure to work in the water, and it won’t take you long to master it.

However, many anglers tend to make small mistakes that can be mitigated by following some easy tips mentioned below.

1) Using a smaller, compact rod that is easy to handle

To have full control over the situation, you must use a medium or medium-heavy rod with a length of around 8 feet.

These rods are used by many anglers and allow long casts without being flimsy.

2) Using a sufficiently long fishing line

To move your chatterbait freely in open water, you must attach your rod to the reel with a long fishing line.

To have a smooth, seamless experience we would recommend you to use a braided line because it has higher strength and it is thinner as compared to a monofilament line.

Therefore, it has a lesser chance of getting tangled.

3) It is very important to keep the chatterbait moving

Keeping the chatterbait moving is the most important thing when you head out for bass fishing.

This is because if the blade stops moving the fish will not be able to sense its vibrations and strike it.

Therefore, it is recommended to not only keep it moving but to give it extra action every once in a while.

4) Making a quick retrieve to place the chatterbait in front of the fish

When fishing a chatter bait, you can place it in front of fish just like other lures and baits by making a quick retrieve.

This allows the fish to sense the vibration and swim towards the bait, allowing you to catch them.

5) A slow retrieve will move the chatterbait through water in front of fish

While you can make a quick retrieve, you can also do a slow retrieve.

A slow retrieve will cause the bass and other fish to come towards the surface because once the water begins to get cold these fish go deeper into the water.

A slow retrieve entices bass to go after the chatter bait because they are not interested in fast-moving bait or lures.

5) Changing the location if you are not able to catch any fish

If you are not able to catch any fish while using a chatter bait, it is recommended to change your location to find fish.

Since fish tend to move around, you should keep changing your place until you find them.

Additional tip: You can use the lateral line thumping to trigger bass and bring them out from the lairs during the cold season.

6) Regularly maintain chatterbait

To ensure top performance, you must regularly inspect your chatterbait, this way you can remove any loose screws or nuts that could fall off.

7) Change the blade of your chatterbait

If you have been using your chatterbait for a while now, you should change its blade for proper functioning.

Moreover, if you regularly get it stuck in weed beds and grass, and use force to set the bait free, it is possible that your blade is worn out or bent by such mishaps.

Therefore, changing it before it breaks will prevent you from losing it.

8) Troll your chatterbait in deep waters

The bottom hopping technique requires you to troll your chatterbait in deep waters.

For chatter baits to be fished at such depth, you will need to add weight to the line.

Adding more weight will allow your bait to fall more quickly creating more vibrations.

9) Use hooks on chatterbaits to catch multiple fish

Although using multiple hooks is for anglers who are more experienced, you can still use them to increase your chances of catching fish.

This can be done by threading multiple hooks through the same eye on the body of your bait and using a sturdy leader to keep all these hooks in place.

10) Using the right weight and line size

When fishing a chatterbait you will not want it to fly away on the slightest hint of wind.

Therefore, it is important to use enough weight for a chatterbait to be fished.

However, the weight should not be too much that it will cause the bait to fall or sink very quickly.

Use a lighter weight with more hooks if you want to catch multiple fish and a heavier weight with fewer hooks for individual fish.

On the other hand, it is also important to use the right size of fishing line. You can use a 50lb braid paired with a 15lb monofilament leader in murky water or a 15 to 20lb fluorocarbon in clear water/ light grass and rocks.

11) Use different trailers to catch different species of fish

Chatterbaits can be equipped with different bodies depending on the type of fish you want to catch.

For bass, you can use green pumpkins and other types of natural-looking trailers.

Just remember that having a smaller profile will allow your bait to move faster through the water and be less affected by windy conditions.

On the other hand, a thicker body will tolerate more wind when fishing in still water.

12) If Your Chatterbait Gets Stuck In Your Reel Or Rod, Move It In A Circle

If you get your chatterbait stuck and you are not able to set it free, you can try moving it in a circle.

The circular motion will allow it to loosen from whatever it is stuck in.

It is important to keep in mind that you should not apply too much force or you might make matters worse.

13) Check if your chatterbait blade has sharp edges

If you have used your chatterbait for catching bass and lots of other fish, the blade on your chatterbait might have worn out.

Which can reduce the amount of vibration being produced by it.

Therefore, depending on its condition you can either use a sharpening stone or change it altogether to get optimal performance.

When Should I Use A Chatterbait?

Although chatterbaits can be used anywhere, anytime, there are certain places and seasons when they are more effective than other baits.

Chatterbaits are most effective in water bodies with vegetation because they can be pulled through.

Therefore you can use them to fish in lakes, rivers, and shores with grass and weedy areas.

You usually want to find a grass or weed bed around 1 to 6 feet deep but make sure it’s not too dense.

Moreover, you can also fish in fallen trees, around the outside edge of docks and piers, and mussel beds.

You can work these right at the bottom so you will be in the strike zone of bass.

As far as fishing these in dirty water goes, you will not see any decline in their performance because chatterbaits make a lot of noise so they can still be sensed by fish.

Additionally, you can use bright colors for the trailer attached to your chatterbait, for example, chartreuse and white so the bass can easily find them in stained water.


If you are someone who is searching for a versatile lure, chatterbait should be your go-to option.

It uses vibrations and fluttering to entice bass and other fish.

To get the most out of it you can use the pop & drop, slow & steady, or bottom hopping technique, but make sure that you are working it as slow as possible to give a more natural presentation.

Lastly, remember that you should use a chatterbait in shallow covers such as places with grass, rocks, and weed.

Therefore, next time when you head out to fish at a tournament trail, go through the above guide to make the most out of your expedition.