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Effective chatterbait trailers can increase reaction strikes from big bass. They are a crucial part of a chatterbait setup, which has taken over the bass fishing scene. Chatterbaits are easy to fish, go through weeds, and draw strikes more often than not. Similar to spinnerbaits, they have a bladed jig with a skirt. The only difference is that the blade is on the front of the bait, leaving plenty of room for a trailer. Pairing a trailer with your chatterbait can dramatically alter how it swims and how you fish it. Having a variety of go-to chatterbait trailers can help you target specific conditions and maximize strikes. When the water is cold, a craw trailer bounced off the bottom can be lethal, but if bass are chasing schooling bait, a swimbait trailer is the ticket. A variety of factors like water clarity, habitat type, and available bait all go into trailer selection. Here are some of the best chatterbait trailers for just about any conditions on the water.
- Best Craw Chatterbait Trailers: Zoom Speed Craw
- Best Worm Trailers: Gary Yamamoto Swimming Senko
- Best Swimbait Trailers: Keitech FAT Swing Impact Swimbait
- Best Lizard Trailers: Zoom 6” Lizard
- Best Budget Trailer: Zoom Fluke 4” Smokin Shad
How I Made My Picks for the Best Chatterbait Trailers
Choosing the right trailer for your chatterbait is tricky, especially when bass are keying in on certain forage. Matching the bait to the conditions you face is key to drawing more strikes. Each bait will act differently based on the design and materials incorporated. To get the most out of my trailers, I based my selections on the following criteria:
- Design: How does the bait design affect the way it swims?
- Durability: Can the bait withstand multiple strikes from fish?
- Size: What sizes are offered, and how well do they fit on chatterbaits?
- Materials: What materials are used in the bait, and how do they contribute to movement?
- Value: Are the baits worth it?
- Colors: Are there different color options to match a variety of forage?
Best Craw Chatterbait Trailers: Zoom Speed Craw
- Length: 4 1/4”
- Popular Colors: Green Pumpkin, Watermelon Seed, June Bug, Sapphire Blue
- Bait Count: 10
- Plenty of baits in a package
- Large Profile
- Other creature baits offer more movement
- Not durable
The Zoom speed craw has been a staple in jig fishing for years. The Magnum version offers the same realistic profile in an oversized bait perfect for enticing hungry bass. While typically fished on traditional jigs, fishing the speed craw on a chatterbait can be a deadly tactic. When bass are lethargic, bouncing this combo (chatterbait and trailer) off the bottom can trigger strikes. But don’t let the craw fool you; this bait works just as well when retrieved like a traditional chatterbait. Fleeing crawfish swim backward, and this trailer imitates that with plenty of movement. Fish it near cover like rocks and weeds where crawfish are typically found for your best chance at success.
Best Worm Chatterbait Trailers: Gary Yamamoto Swimming Senko
- Length: 5”
- Popular Colors: Green Pumpkin, Watermelon Black, Blue Pearl, Black Pearl
- Bait Count: 10
- Great action
- Slim Profile is realistic
- Wide variety of color options
- Not as durable as other swimbaits
While a typical senko may not work so well as a trailer, this swimming Senko is designed to give the bait motion and move well in the water. The 5-inch swimming worm comes in a variety of colors and is a deadly chatterbait trailer. Its narrow profile gives it a wide range of movement, drawing plenty of attention from bass. This trailer is a great baitfish imitation, and when paired with a similar colored chatterbait, it is a great way to “match the hatch.” For darker-colored water, I prefer to choose a color that stands out to draw in more reaction bites. Plus, the salt-impregnated plastic makes fish hold on longer in case you are late on the hookset.
Best Swimbait Trailers: Keitech FAT Swing Impact Swimbait
- Length: 3.8”
- Popular Colors: Sexy Shad, Electric Shad, Sight Flash
- Bait Count: 6
- Great action
- Versatile trailer
- Great profile in the water
- Only six per pack
- Few color options
The Keitech FAT swing impact has won its place as my go-to trailer time and time again. This little swimbait works great on its own but excels as a trailer. Its oversized profile, combined with realistic two-tone color schemes resembles a wide variety of baitfish. The ribbed body is responsible for its wide range of movements which help draw attention. Most anglers rig it traditionally with the paddle tail down for a wide erratic movement. However, flipping the bait upside down results in a tighter swim that is much more natural in the water. It’s offered in a variety of sizes, but the 3.8-inch fits chatterbaits well and has always produced the best for me.
Best Lizard Trailers: Zoom 6” Lizard
- Length: 6”
- Popular Colors: Green Pumpkin, Watermelon Red, Black/Blue Flake
- Bait Count: 9
- Wide range of color options
- Lots of movement
- Best fished slow
- Slightly large
I’m not sure when I became known for fishing lizards, but my buddies never let me hear the end of it. I wouldn’t fish lizards so much if they didn’t work. This is one of my favorite creature baits, and the fast-action appendages do it all. The super-soft body allows for even greater movement, and this lizard has been the ticket for some of my biggest bass to date. Paired with a chatterbait, it is a deadly combination. I like to fish it slow and bounce the chatterbait off the bottom around structure. Don’t be afraid to burn it back, too.
Best Budget Trailer: Zoom Fluke 4” Smokin Shad
- Length: 4”
- Popular Colors: White Pearl, Baby Bass, Watermelon Seed
- Bait Count: 10
- Tight action as a trailer
- Plenty of baits in a pack
- More color schemes would be nice
- Not very durable
Don’t break the bank on soft plastic trailers just to lose one every time you catch a fish. The Zoom smokin shad is an excellent budget bait that won’t hurt your results. It is a compact soft plastic jerkbait that creates great action and can be fished in various ways. As a trailer, it has a tight swimming action like most baitfish—perfect for locations with loads of bait. When the bass are schooling up, white baits paired with a white chatterbait drive fish crazy, especially if shad are around. While they aren’t the most durable baits, at a budget price, you can fish them with confidence knowing you have plenty left.
Things to Consider Before Buying the Best Chatterbait Trailers
When it comes to trailers, don’t overthink them. There are a few important considerations like size, color, and action. Key in on these factors to choose the right bait trailer for your bait. Here’s what to think about:
Perhaps the most important aspect of choosing a chatterbait trailer is size. Fish, especially bass, will key into a particular bait source in a particular size. If your bait is not sized properly, bass will often let it pass by in favor of the natural offerings. Another thing to consider when sizing your baits is hook exposure. I choose baits that allow me as much exposed hook as possible. This often means choosing a slimmer bait for better hookups.
While not as important as bait size, color can be a crucial factor. The color doesn’t have to match the bait in the area but should match the conditions you are fishing. In dark or muddy water, darker colors, like black and blue are key. These dark baits create a nice silhouette in the water and stand out in low visibility. On clearer water bodies, natural colors like green pumpkin or shad colors are the ticket. The more subtle presentation will trigger wary fish that have the chance to inspect your bait.
The purpose of your trailer is to imitate some sort of prey while drawing as much attention as possible. With this in mind, I tend to lean towards trailers with multiple appendages that create significant movement in the water. I want my trailer to be almost obnoxious, forcing bass to attack it. Other things I consider are materials and if the bait is ribbed. These can drastically contribute to how a bait moves in the water. If you find yourself stuck between two baits, always go with the one with a better action.
Q: When Should You Throw a Chatterbait?
Chatterbaits work exceptionally well in prespawn and early spring. They are some of the best fishing lures for bass in grassy areas in 3 to 6 feet of water. They do great at ripping through weeds where bass hang out when other lures will get hung up. Chatterbaits will work throughout the entire year but will produce more bites when fish are cruising and aggressively feeding.
Q: How Do You Fish a Chatterbait?
Chatterbaits can be fished in different ways that vary based on your retrieve. Sometimes burning these bass baits back entices strikes. Other times it’s a slow roll that will produce more bites. Make sure to put a trailer on and play around with your retrieves until you find what works best.
Q: Can You Put a Trailer Hook on a Chatterbiat?
It isn’t common to put a trailer hook on a chatterbait, and I wouldn’t recommend it. For one, you will be interfering with the trailer’s natural action, which could hurt your bite ratio. If you’re getting short-struck, try slowing down your retrieve to give the fish more time to get the entire bait in its mouth. From my experience, bass will usually inhale chatterbaits. I have never found the need for a trailer hook.
Don’t overlook the importance of trailers in your fishing tackle. When fishing a moving bass bait you want to create as much motion and action as possible. The blade of a chatterbait is great for making noise, but it’s a chatterbait trailer that creates most of the lure’s movement.