Chatterbait Setups and How To Use Them

For a successful bass fishing, an angler should use a good chatterbait setup. By doing so, you are sure to catch more bass on water even when faced by different conditions. 

Whether you’re a beginner or professional angler, adding a chatterbait to your bass fishing arsenal, will help you catch both large numbers and sizes of fish. But you need to know how to use chatterbaits first.

Here are the basics of chatterbaits and how to set them up.

The Reason Behind The Use of Chatterbait Setups in Bass fishing

Chatterbaits slice through grass and can create vibration in water more than enough to draw out serious strikes. Hence, helping the angler catch more bass. The specific techniques, gears, and setups of a chatterbait are designed to make your fishing experience easier and more rewarding. 

Under What Circumstances Should I Use Chatterbait?

In some instances, chatterbaits will be your best choice of baits and it will beat all the other baits that you have. 

For example, in areas with colder water, the intense shaking from a chatterbait helps in drawing out some of the greatest reaction strikes. The type of cover you’re using is also something that should be taken into consideration. For chatterbaits, they work well with grass because they can fish through them neatly unlike other baits. Lastly, the depth of the water affects its performance too. If it is deeper than 15 feet or 20 feet, the angler might have some difficulties. Usually, when bass are at varying depths around grass, a chatterbait is a very reliable option.

Fishing chatterbaits are a good idea at any time of year, though the way you fish them in different settings and times affects their success.  Here are some of the weather conditions where chatterbaits work best:  


During the summer, vegetation grows heaviest and can take over huge amounts of bays, lagoons, and shallow areas in any given lake. Fish your chatterbait along the weed lines during this time. Even better if the weed line is near a drop-off.


Early spring and late fall seem to be prime times for chatterbaits. Bass migrate to shallower water in the fall, and vegetation begins to diminish. Move in a little deeper and look for gaps in the bushes to fish.

Season of Reproduction or Spawning

Bass begin traveling to spawning beds before and during spawning season. Look for these places and fish them with red chatterbait to lure several big females from them. Later in the spawning season, utilize drop-offs located near the perimeters of the spawning to catch bass.

Thanks to its huge wobbling action and its weedless nature, the chatterbaits work in a very impressive way. It causes an actual vibration in the water, which triggers a bass’s predatory lateral line instincts, allowing them to bite. The chatterbait’s blade at the front of the bait aids in cutting through grass and cover, resulting in less muck buildup. A bass will avoid a lure that is covered in grass or other detritus, so keep your bait clean if you want to obtain bites. A chatterbait will entice a bass all year. It can catch both numbers and large bass. Chatterbaits are done with fun yet easy to do techniques that give you rewarding results. All you have to do is to  chuck, wind, and hold on tight!

The Best Way To Setup A Chatterbait

But before even reaping the benefits of using a chatterbait, one should know how to set it up first. In this section, you will get to know the proper rod, reel types, and suitable fishing line to land some monster bass.

Rod and Reel Setup for Chatterbait Fishing

There are quite a lot of different rod and reel combinations that will be good for bass fishing with a chatterbait also known as the Bladed Swim Jig. This is only some of what worked for us based on our past experiences. If not suitable for you, there are also other available options that can match your style and give you a comfortable experience.

What Type of Rod Should I Use?

The rod is known to be the foundation of the chatterbait setup. A rod with a big enough size is ideal for fishing. This is to make sure that it is able to pull even the trophy size bass through thick vegetation.  However, the size should not be too big for it can negatively affect its ability to sense smaller bites. 

A medium-sized rod of 6.5 feet to 7 feet will be sufficient. You’ll only need a medium action rod with moderate bend and an ultralight tip. This ultralight tip will provide the sensitivity required to detect smaller nibbles, while the medium action rod will provide the girth and strength required to hull larger fish through heavy foliage.

What Type of Reel Should I Use?

In choosing the reel to use, you need to consider what you are familiar with. It can be a spinning reel or a baitcasting reel depending on what you’re comfortable with.

But in this setup, a baitcasting reel with a minimum of 6 stainless-steel ball bearings and a magnetic braking system was used since it is what worked best for us. The gear ratio of this reel should ideally be at 6.0:1. or higher too.

The gear ratio matters more than whether you’re going to use a spinning reel or a baitcasting reel. Regardless of your film reel type, ensure the gear ratio is, at a minimum 6.0:1. This ratio is best for making sure that your setup can manage larger bass and can handle even the occasional Northern Pike that might come.

What Kind of Fishing Line is Required?

Choosing which fishing line selection is essential too but this should not take up a lot of your decision making. In this setup, a 30-lb braided line is used but you can also opt for a fluorocarbon or monofilament fishing line depending on what’s more available. 

However, there are surely minor differences between different fishing lines. For example, monofilament fishing lines are more buoyant and work better for surface fishing while the fluorocarbon fishing line is denser and will sink more rapidly. If you decide to go with a fluorocarbon fishing line, just make sure that you choose something from the 15-20 lb test.

If you’re still unsure about how things work, you can check out other references from to gain a better understanding on the different styles of fishing lines and how they are tested.

Chatterbait Fishing Equipment

In the world of bass fishing, a chatterbait configuration is sometimes referred to as a bladed jig. A chatterbait and a bladed jig are interchangeable. There are numerous Bladed Jigs and Chatterbaits available on the market. The concept is the same for all of them. A jig has a blade on the front that causes the bait to wobble as you retrieve it. The wobbling methods and colors of many chatterbaits vary. Here’s a good chatterbait and trailer combo that will surely put bass in the boat:

Evergreen Jackhammer

You really get the price you pay for when you use the Evergreen Jackhammer Chatterbait. It is on the expensive side but it is also known to be the most lethal bladed jig on the market. Thus, living up to its name Jackhammer. It has a compact weight and is built with tungsten weight, rubber skirts instead of silicon, and an incredibly sharp durable hook. When using it in clear water lakes especially in the mountain west, you can opt for the color green pumpkin. 

Strike King Blade Minnow

The Strike King Blade Minnow was created specifically as a trailer for chatterbaits. A Strike King Blade Minnow plastic might help your chatterbait setup look more realistic. Match the color of your chatterbait to the color of the blade minnow that best fits the forage you’re trying to imitate. Bite a small piece of the head of the bait off so it can fit snugly on your chatterbait for a more compact presentation.

Rod & Reel

Even the professional anglers will agree that chatterbaits work best in terms of throwing when it’s on a baitcasting rod and reel setup. The bait used here works well with medium rods that provide a little more than when fishing with a crankbait. This allows the fish to thoroughly consume the bait before you hook it.

Chatterbaits can be difficult to hook unless you wait for the fish to load up on the road before setting the hook. They frequently swipe at it once, then return to devour the bait. Using a longer rod with more give will help you catch more bass with a chatterbait.

How To Improve Your Chatterbait Fishing

Anglers make use of a chatterbait setup because it covers a significant amount of water. It’s also easier to use since it just involves a chuck and wind technique which allows more coverage of area when searching where the bass are staging.  Covering water with a chatterbait is a great way to find good areas, and large concentrations of fish.

To maximize the benefits of a chatterbait, you need to know some of the techniques that will be helpful for you.

Chatterbait Techniques

Slow Retrieve

Slowly draw in your chatterbait, keeping it submerged and directly on top of the plants. Your chatterbait should bounce off the top of the weeds. Change your speed to keep your lure at the proper depths.

Surface Recovery

Reel in your chatterbait quickly enough to keep it moving beneath the water’s surface. This will attract some bass who are drawn in by the pursuit and believe a baitfish is attempting to flee.


This combines the gradual retrieve technique with a jerking move on a regular basis. Slowly reel in your chatterbait across the tops of the weed line, pulling your wrist lightly every now and then to give your rod a brief but slight jerk. The chatterbait should leap from the tops of the weeds and then settle back down.


Twitch and flicker your rod tip repeatedly while conducting a slow retrieve to make the chatterbait dance and move in unusual motions. This simulates the death of a baitfish and would be an easy target for large bass.

What Not To Do When Using A Chatterbait

Do Not Avoid Clear Water Conditions

A common mistake for most anglers is avoiding areas where the water is on a clearer side and no structure nor vegetation is seen. Always remember that unlike other baits, chatterbaits work better in clear water. Do not avoid clear water conditions.

Premature Hookset

Every small pull may feel like a bite when you’re using the slow retrieve technique and bouncing off the tops of the weeds. Many anglers will then overreact and set the hook too soon. This is not the right way to do things.

When you set the hook on every tiny bump, you may be taking the chatterbait out of striking distance from bass that are lurking nearby.

Instead, if you feel a bump, increase your reeling pace for a few rotations without moving your rod, and you should be able to feel it become heavier or loose from the weeds. Set the hook if it becomes heavier and feels like a fish.

Mindless Reeling

It’s easy to get used to doing the slow retrieve technique and end up not having any variation in terms of speed or adding twitches. This does not help you with your fishing. Always try to alter your techniques to bring a little excitement to the movement of your chatterbait and to avoid familiarity or predictability.

Changing Your Chatterbait Too Frequently

Chatterbaits are available in many different colors and trying all of them can be fun at first. However, this is not very practical nor effective. Try in a few colors and give them enough time to show you how effective tgey are. Then, you should take note of which colors worked best on what conditions or time. Always remember that specific colors can mimic different types of baitfish that bass feed on during different seasons of the year.


One of the most fun and productive ways of fishing is through chatterbaits. With them, you can surely expect a catch at every end of the fishing expedition. Once you know how to use them properly, you might not wish to go back to other types of bass fishing. 

Just remember what you’ve learned here and you can have an excellent bass fishing experience.

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