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Consistently catching bass is no easy task. It is often a lot of trial and error to figure out what the fish want. Your lure of choice is going to depend on several factors like water temperature, time of year, and location. Even with all these variables, there are some bass baits every angler needs to have in their fishing tackle box. Chatterbaits and bladed swim jigs crack the essential bass lure list.

Chatterbaits, also known as bladed swim jigs, are moving baits that often produce reaction strikes from aggressive bass. Throw these lures around structure, docks, and weeds. These fishing lures are one of my favorite prespawn bass baits and have given me some of my biggest bass to date. Any area with structure, grass, or a laydown is perfect for chatterbaits. I like to fish with these in early spring when bass are aggressive and will crush any threat that crosses their path. Having a lunker obliterate a jig never gets old.

What’s the Best Chatterbait for Bass Fishing?

Finding a good chatterbait is not the most difficult of tasks, but it takes time to dial in the best one for your waters. First, you will want to consider color. I like to have a variety of colors for different situations. For instance, if the water is dark and murky, you will want a darker-colored skirt and trailer. Getting your color selection right is critical for successful days on the water.

Another factor to consider is the different types of blades. For the most part, chatterbaits and other bladed swim jigs are very similar. But different brands tweak different things that produce subtle differences. This might mean a different action as the bait moves through the water column or a different profile and look. Either way, slight modifications can produce more strikes. 

It takes patience and willingness to dial in the best bass fishing tackle for the places you fish. Try out different styles of blades as you begin fishing chatterbaits. Some might produce more vibration, while others may have more movement. The trial and error process is key until you find what works best for you.

How Many Should You Keep In Your Tackle Box?

It doesn’t take much to convince a fisherman to add another fishing lure to their tackle box. But if you end up buying every new lure and bait you see, there’s a good chance your tackle box will be overflowing with hooks and jigheads. I like to keep my fishing tackle organized (or somewhat manageable) to easily find what I need depending on the situation.

When it comes to buying and organizing a specific lure or bait, keep it simple. I like to keep four to six in my tackle box at any time. This gives versatility in color, profile, and blade choices for my fishing jigs. Fish aren’t always easy to decipher, and having options is crucial. It’s also essential to have extras in case you lose a bait or two over the course of a day.

The main message here is to keep it simple and don’t get lost in having every lure. Find what bladed swim jigs work for you and stick with them. Have a couple of backups of your favorite one and a few to change it up when the fishing is slow.

Best all-around chatterbait: Z-Man ChatterBait Pro

The Z-Man Pro will catch bass anywhere as long as you can make the cast. cabelas

When it comes to chatterbaits, this Z-Man model is ole reliable. The heavy-duty hook paired with the molded-in keeper makes it easy to stick fish and keep your trailer attached. It is made with electro-plated stainless blades and multi-color head paint schemes. If I could only take one chatterbait with me, this is it.

Best maximum action bladed swim jig: Strike King Thunder Cricket Swimjig

Increase your hookup ratio with this field-tested Strike King bladed swim jig. cabelas

This is another great bladed swim jig that can be used in various situations. Throw it along brush piles and weed lines and switch up your retrieve speed. This lure creates movement and draws strong reaction strikes. The fast action will help you land more fish.

Best noisy and flashy chatterbait: Z-Man Jack Hammer Custom Bladed Jig

Draw more attention with this noisy and fast chatterbait. cabelas

This bladed swim jig differentiates itself from the rest. Consistent with the Z-Man chatterbait noise, this lure generates a loud knocking sound as it strikes the head. The detailed painting matches the color of the skirt to give a realistic presentation in the water. If you’re looking for flash, this is the chatterbait for you.

Best alternative chatterbait: Reaction Tackle Tungsten Chatterbait

Change it up with a tungsten weight and a different look. Reaction Tackle

You don’t always need the name-brand bait to catch fish. This bladed swim jig is a perfect example of the alternative option if you want to switch it up. You can purchase it in ½ ounce or ⅜ ounce, and it comes in a 2-pack. It generates a noise typical of this type of fishing lure, and the tungsten weight will help keep your bait from hanging up on brush. It’s a great alternative for anglers looking for a different style bladed swim jig.

Best Budget Chatterbait: Z-Man Original Chatterbait

Save some money while still catching fish with the original chatterbait. cabelas

You don’t want to spend an insane amount of money on one lure just to lose it while fishing. There’s a reason Z-Man chatterbaits dominated this list, and it’s because they make the best there is. The original Z-Man chatterbait is one of the most affordable bladed swim jigs out there, and it’s going to produce. Often, with the budget pick, you sacrifice productivity but not in this case. 

FAQs

Q: When should I fish a chatterbait?

Fish chatterbaits during prespawn, around grass, and in 3 to 6 feet of water. You are trying to produce a reaction strike, and chatterbaits do well in and around cover. Work structure and cover edges in early spring when fish are actively feeding.

Q: What color chatterbait skirt should I buy?

The color of your chatterbait skirt and trailer should match the conditions. If the water is stained, murky, and dark, then fish a darker-colored skirt. If the water is crystal clear, then fish more natural-colored skirts and trailers.

Q: When should I throw a chatterbait or spinnerbait?

This is a popular question, and the main deciding factor is weeds and grass. Chatterbaits excel in grassy areas, while spinnerbaits will get hung up on almost every cast. If you’re targeting grass, then go with the chatterbait. Throw your spinners on cloudy and windy days in areas where you won’t get hung up.

Throw chatterbaits to catch more bass

Chatterbaits are a must-have for bass anglers nowadays. They are a reliable and effective lure that will produce strikes when nothing else will. The chatterbait  is a confidence bait for myself and my absolute go-to during prespawn. When you begin to dial in when and where to throw chatterbaits your hookup ratio will go through the roof.

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