Effective Use of Chatterbaits (Bladed Swim Jigs) for Bass Fishing


It is good if you know how to fish bass using a specific gear and strategy. But over time, everything can change and you may not have an excellent bite. In order to improve their skills, anglers try to develop and use different techniques as well as experiment with equipment. One of the most important aspects for fishermen is a choice of lure. This article highlights tips how to fish a chatterbait, which is rather effective if you know how to use it correctly.

A chatterbait has got its fame after the fishing tournament won by Bryan Thrift and Brett Hite. This lure brought them victory in the late 2000’s and then became widely used by other fishermen.

A chatterbait is also known as a bladed swim jig or vibrating jig. There was a real boom when the chatterbaits appeared on the shelves of fishing stores. A bit later, this excitement for the bladed swim jigs cooled off since other lures were sold on the market. Over the years, the chatterbaits have improved in design and have become extremely popular once again. Anglers like them for their versatility and modifications.

So what should you know about a chatterbait? How to get more bites using this lure? This guide will help you.

Where to use a chatterbait for bass?

Where to use a chatterbait

A chatterbait or bladed swim is a rather versatile lure and you can fish it in a variety of fishing spots. Here are the best places:

  • Shallow water and mid-depth vegetation. Since bass like to hide and feed in the grass, it will be the best place to cast a chatterbait. The depth should be from 1 to 6 feet. Don’t worry if the grass is thick there, a bladed swim jig will work well in the tops of the weeds.
  • Shell beds. This place is ideal for bass fishing in the summer. Shell beds attract bass so you have great chances to get a good trophy. Cast a chatterbait along the bottom and it should fall down somewhere among the shell bed. It often happens that a big bass will prefer a bladed swim jig rather than a worm or crankbait.
  • Stumps and laydowns. Such places can bring you a good catch but you should be very careful when fishing where there is a lot of wood. You should feel the lure and work it through and around the stumps without getting stuck. It can be compared with fishing a squarebill crankbat.
  • From the dock. Not many fishermen fish a chatterbait from the dock. The dock is underestimated place for fishing a bladed swim jig. If there is any kind of vegetation around the dock, feel free to cast, especially before and after the spawning period. Bass like to move near the dock posts for feeding. Take an advantage of this and use a chatterbait.

When to use a chatterbait for bass?

When to use a chatterbait

When the bass are active and shallow, you can easily predict their movements. A chatterbait is the most effective during spring, summer, and fall. However, experienced fishermen can find other uses of this lure throughout the year. Here is when you can use the bladed swim jigs in each season.

  • Pre-spawn period. When the water warms up to 50-60 degrees, the bass move towards the coves and flats in order to feed and get ready for the spawning. In this case, you can use chatterbaits as they are great to target the big females. Anglers like to use lipless crankbaits or Rat-L-Traps for bass fishing during this period, but bladed swim jigs will be a good alternative.
  • Spawning period. In fact, a chatterbait is not the best bed fishing bait, but it works well as a search bait. If the fish are on beds where there is lots of thick vegetation, you can catch them by searching with the chatterbait.
  • Post-spawn period. When the spawning period ends, the female bass come out from their spawning flats and move towards the places of their summer hangouts. But at first, they won’t move far away and they prefer to find some cover nearby.
  • Summer. In the summer, the waters are full of different plants. And it is the best time to use the chatterbaits effectively. If the vegetation is too thick, you should roll the lure slowly like a spinnerbait to the inside and outside weed edges. You can also fish heavier chatterbaits (3/4 to 1 oz.) over the shell beds.
  • Fall. In the fall, the grass starts to die off and the shad move towards the shallow, and the bass will also follow. In this case, a colored chatterbait over the top of weeds can trigger bites and your fishing can be very effective.

What are the best colors and weights of chatterbaits for bass?

Colors of chatterbaits

Some colors of chatterbaits work better in certain places or seasons. But you should remember to use a complimenting trailer color in order to create a realistic presentation. Here are the best colors.

  • Black/blue. This color works best in low light and murky water. Throw black and blue chatterbait over the weeds to get a better catch.
  • Green pumpkin. This color is the best for bass fishing throughout the year since it looks natural in any kind of water. You can use it with a dark green trailer or even with a lighter color to make more contrast.
  • Red crawfish. A red chatterbait works well in the cool water in the beginning of spring. Just roll it slowly around the grass and rip it free when necessary.
  • Bluegill. Largemouth bass like waiting to hit when the bluegill are spawning. So you can use the bladed swim jig in any area where there is a concentration of bluegill beds.

The choice of the weight depends on your preferences. The most favorable weight is ½ oz. chatterbait. You can use it in most cases and it works well from 1 to 8 feet. This depth is an average for bass fishing.

Some heavier chatterbaits (3/4 to 1 oz.) are good when you want to reach the depth of 10 feet or deeper.

The chatterbaits of 3/8 or ¼ oz. will be great if the bigger baits get stuck in the grass.

Chatterbait bass fishing techniques

Chatterbait techniques

It is important to use a right rod, reel, and line when fishing a chatterbait. The best option is a 6’6” or 7’ Medium action rod with a fast tip. Pair it with a baitcasting reel with a gear ratio 6.3:1 or higher. As for the line, it doesn’t matter a lot since you can take either a monofilament or braided line. Of course, the braid is better since it is more durable. We recommend choosing 20-30lb braided line if you are going to fish in the stained water. If the water is clear, you can also take 15-17lb fluorocarbon.

Here are the key chatterbait bass fishing techniques.

  • Slow roll. The slow rolling technique is good since it keeps your bait down and the fish can react on it. You should turn the reel as slowly as you can. If you see that the chatterbait runs to the top, you need to either slow down or use a heavier lure.
  • Burning. This technique is opposite to slow rolling. You should reel quickly until the blade goes under the surface.
  • Ripping. Bass are not always active; sometimes they can have a neutral mood. Ripping the chatterbait can wake them up and make react to the sudden movement. Reel the chatterbait slowly catching the tops of the plants and then make a quick movement to rip the chatterbait free of the grass. It will make the bass bite.
  • Shaking. Move the tip of the rod up and down to shake the bladed swim jig. It will pop up and make the skirt pulse and flare. Shake the bait to work it through the vegetation.
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