ChatterBaits a Key for Early Season Bass
When the ChatterBait bladed jig burst onto the scene in 2006, many anglers considered it another ‘flash in the pan’ lure that would quickly slide off the radar, as seems to be so common in the fishing world. However, over the last ten years, this unique spinner/jig hybrid has carved out a permanent spot in the tackle boxes of most serious bass anglers and has repeatedly been a top producer in bass tournaments—particularly early in the year during ‘pre-spawn’ conditions.
A ChatterBait lure consists of a hexagon-shape stainless blade connected directly to the eyelet of a jighead. The fishing line is tied to a snap that is secured to the blade via two mounting holes, and when the bait is pulled through the water, the blade vibrates and flashes erratically, drawing attention from far off and provoking vicious strikes from otherwise stubborn fish. Most bladed swim jigs are dressed with silicone skirts, and anglers add a variety of different plastic trailers, most commonly swimbaits or crawfish imitations. The ChatterBait brand lure, manufactured by South Carolina lure maker Z-Man Fishing Products, is far-and-away the most popular bladed jig because of the company’s patents covering the direct head-to-blade connection, an orientation that consistently outperforms other similar baits.
While many anglers consider the ChatterBait to be a spinnerbait alternative that is fished by simply casting it out and reeling it in quickly, astute bass fishermen have found that it is much more than a standard ‘chunk and wind’ style bait, particularly in colder water. Mixing up presentations by slowing down or varying retrieves, working the bait along the bottom in deeper water, and fishing it more like a jig than a spinner has resulted in multiple pros hitting paydirt in early season derbies.
Bassmaster Elite Series pro-Stephen Browning sees the ChatterBait’s versatility as one of its biggest draws early in the year. “There are so many different ways you can fish it,” remarks Browning. “I use it a lot as a search bait, but it’s a great big fish bait too, and that’s what makes fishing it so exciting.”
During the early season pre-spawn period—just prior to when bass move up shallow to spawn—Browning prefers winding the ChatterBait slowly through deep grass, particularly around contour changes like underwater channels and submerged points. His favorite cold water retrieve is a stop-and-go style retrieve, and the key to this cold water presentation is using his reel—not his rod—to move the bait. Holding his rod at about a thirty-degree angle, Stephen winds the reel quickly before letting the bait fall, varying the number of turns of the reel handle to mimic the erratic movements of injured baitfish. He pays close attention to what he is doing when he generates a strike, noting the retrieval pattern so he can duplicate it going forward.
In the first two months of 2017, several professional-level tournaments—not to mention a number of local events—have already been won on the ChatterBait, further cementing its position as a lure that is here to stay. Whether you are a serious tournament angler or a weekend warrior, learning the different ways to fish this versatile bait in the relatively cooler water during the first few months of the year will undoubtedly help you up your catch rate, and maybe even help you catch the bass of a lifetime!
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Original Source: Sportsmans Lifestyle.com