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chatterbait fishing?

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Kind of new to chatterbaits. Do you steady retrieve or zip it quick once in a while. I tried today and only caught a few small eastern chain pickeral. They are the smaller, just as annoying, cousin to the northern pike that our northern friends know well.

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Straight retrieve, stop and go, rip it, burn it, fish it like a normal jig. There’s really no wrong way to fish them. Just experiment and have fun. You’ll get your arm broke sooner or later. 

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For a long time I tried chatterbaits off and on but never got any bites. Then this year they started really producing for me during the pre-spawn. The key for me has been to drag them along the bottom while the vegetation is still minimal. 

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I read up on Brett Hite's method of fishing the chatterbait and he says to work it along the top of aquatic vegetation so that it just ticks the top of the grassline. If you get hung up, instead of pumping it out with your rod, try reeling really quickly for 2 or 3 turns. The reason why is you'll get most of your bites when you break your bait lose from cover, similar to the way you rip a lipless and if your rod tip is up at 10 or 11 o clock because you just ripped it from the grass then you won't be able to get a strong enough hook set on the fish and you'll lose fish that way. 

 

Without grass he still says keep it close to the bottom and knock it off everything you can like you would a crank bait. If you are running it through open water try to impart some of your own action on the bait, stopping your cadence for a split second, twitching your rod tip ever 5 or 6 rotations of your reel, or speeding up your cadence every 5 or 6 locations. This will cause your bait to change directions similar to the way a baitfish darts away from danger causing generating a reaction strike because the fish thinks your bait is aware of his presence and he's about to lose his meal.

 

I've also had good success working it on the bottom like a jig and doing a simple *pop   pop* with the rod and reeling in my slack, similar to the way a crawdad flees when it senses danger. Obviously for this retrieve it's much more effective with a craw trailer. 

 

tight lines

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Steady retrieve. Every so often, I'll give the rod tip a twitch or I'll stop reeling for just a split second. This will make the bait act like it's fleeing, causing fish that are following it to react and bite. 

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Only three replies in, you see that there's no wrong way to fish it.

 

I have had less luck with the bottom crawl tactics, so I generally use something else for that.

 

I throw bladed jigs a LOT, but that's partly because I fish where the conditions are most favorable, IMO.  

If I'm faced with flats that have submergent vegetation within a couple feet of the surface (or even emergent pads), I WILL be throwing a chatterbait.  If I am working laydows, I will be throwing cranks into the crowns and chatterbaits across submerged trunks -- both may be tossed through the middle areas.  Bump those trunks.

When in the pads or weeds, I fish them largely with steady retrieves, but find that on some days I need to add a 'kill' every few turns...reel fairly fast; kill it and dip the rod tip - may only drop it 6-10 inches, but on those days, that's all it takes.  Rarer still they want a more exaggerated pumping action -- 2-3 feet.  But, often times, straight and steady is all you need.  But, whatever they're wanting, you may need to experiment with how far to let it drop on the cast.   In deeper waters, I may let it drop down to 6 - 8 feet before I start reeling....again, I don't drag on the bottom like many, tho.

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I probably slow roll chatterbaits more than anything else. 

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My favorite way to fish them is with a steady retrieve, with an occasional rapid turn or two of the reel handle, or a slight "stall" in the retrieve.  Just something to trigger them.  I have caught fish on them when working them like a jig, but I feel like that is defeating the purpose of using one.

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I typically use the slowest retrieve I can get away with. Sometimes I've give it little snaps and they'll really trigger on that. Ticking it over grass and ripping it out when it hangs up gets a lot of bites too. I don't burn them, that's about the only retrieve I see guys doing that I don't do. If I want a fast retrieve I switch to a spinnerbait. 

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I'm not sure if there is a wrong way to fish it nor am I sure that there is a best way. What I do know is that it's a versatile bait and paired with the right trailer it produces a ton of fish.

 

I have found is not to give up on it on any given day until you have tried various retrieve methods and at least one dark color and one light color.

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Anyway, like I was sayin', chatterbaits is the fruit of the lake. You can burn it, slow roll it,  fish it like a jig, lift it and let it fall, rip it through the grass. Dey's uh, big chatterbaits, small chatterbaits, and medium chatterbaits.

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I’ve never caught a fish at the one pond I fish at. My buddy was trying one out and you really couldn’t feel it thump on his rod so I tied one on mine for him to try. Makes one cast and bang catches one. Unbelievable 

On a chatterbait I forgot to add. 

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Chatterbaits are one of those things that you can throw, and almost guarantee to get bit. The key is finding how the fish want it retrieved. Experiment with it. If you know fish are there, but you’re not getting bit, try a different retrieve. 

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I'm not sure there is a right or wrong way to fish them.  It all depends on the conditions and what the fish want at the time.  I prefer a quick retrieve because I like to power fish but that doesn't always work.  There are numerous ways to retrieve it:

 

Burn it just under the surface.

Fast and steady.

Rip it through the grass.

Slow and steady.

Slow with some quick twitches.

Yo-Yo.

Drag it on the bottom.

Jig it on the bottom.

Fast with occasional pauses.

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