Best Chatterbait Tips for Bass Fishing (These Work!)

How-To Fishing Videos
How to catch bass with a chatterbait. The best tips and techniques that show the right way to fish chatterbaits for MONSTER bass!

The Rig....

Bait: Z-Man Chatterbait Freedom - 

Trailer: Rage Swimmer - 

Top Brass Peg-It II - 


The Gear...

Rod - St. Croix Mojo Rod - 

Reel - Abu Garcia Revo SX Fishing Reel - 

Line - FireLine Ultra 8 -

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Keri: There you go. Look at that. Look at that. Where are you, dude? 

Glenn: Come here, fish. Boy, that's a good fish.

Keri: He's acting like he's really good. Come here. There you go.

Glenn: He's not that big, but he sure felt like it.

Keri: Yeah, they wanna chase something.

Glenn: There he is.

Keri: ChatterBait! That's a good fish. It's the best one we've found all day. Or almost, just like...

Glenn: ChatterBait!

Keri: ChatterBait!

Glenn: Hey folks. Glenn May here with and today let's talk about ChatterBaits. Catching fish on ChatterBaits, that's the topic of today's video. I wanna walk you through a little bit about the different types of ChatterBaits, different sizes, different colors, that sort of thing. How to rig them, and then what kind of equipment to use, and then from there, I wanna show you different ways of fishing the ChatterBait. So, let's start off with how to rig it. What type of baits to use? The most common one to use is a 3/8 ounce ChatterBait. This one is actually 1/2 ounce. I like them a little bit heavier because I like to fish them a little bit faster than most folks. 

But 3/8 ounce is a standard size go-to that most people fish. As far as colors are concerned, white and chartreuse, and black and blue are pretty much all the colors you need. You can go green/pumpkin if you want, as well, but you really don't need a whole bunch of different colors with ChatterBaits. It's primarily a reaction-type bait, so, you know, colors aren't as much of a critical factor. As a general rule, the lighter the color it is, the lighter the light, the lighter the water is, the lighter the color you want. And the darker the color of the water, or the darker it is out there, the darker the lure. As a general rule. There's exceptions all the time. What I always do is, hey, you know, it's what the fish want. 

So, play around with the colors, and see what they want that day. I like to start off with white, and that's typically what I stick with because I usually catch fish on white regardless. So, it's just a matter of playing around though. If they don't bite that, change colors.

As far as trailers are concerned, you can see, I've got a paddle tail on this one right now. This is just a little 4.5-inch paddle tail swimbait that I have on it. You can use all kinds of trailers. I would encourage you to experiment with the different kind of trailers. You can use paddle tails. You can use grubs. You can even use worms. Craws are a real popular trailer to use on them. Just experiment and see what the fish want that day. I find that today they really want the paddle tail, so that's what I'm fishing.

So, one thing I like to do with the trailer, regardless of what type of trailer I have, is I like to dip the ends of it in chartreuse dye. Especially in the warmer months, because bluegill is a main staple of the bass's diet during the warmer months. And that little chartreuse tail makes it look like a bluegill, so definitely do that with your bait.

The other thing I want you to keep in mind is when you're fishing with the ChatterBait, is make sure the hooks are sharp, especially if you're throwing it around rocks and riprap and that sort of thing. If you just bounce it off the rocks a little bit, you can dull it in a heartbeat, and you won't even know it. Won't even feel like you hit it very hard, and you can dull it. So, check your hooks frequently, and make sure they're super sharp. I even check the hooks right out of the package, brand new before I even throw it. And I make sure that they're really sharp. If you're not sure how to check your hooks, and you're not sure how to get them sharp, I got a link down here at the bottom, underneath the video, for you to check out. I can sharpen hooks that are sharper than the manufacturer can, and I show you how to do that in this video. So, check that out. Make sure your hooks are sharp, and you'll catch a lot more fish.

Keri: There you go. There's a big one. We got another ChatterBait fish.

Glenn: Look at this guy. He's mad.

Keri: Look at that. ChatterBait!

Glenn: There we go.

Keri: Got a ChatterBait fish.

Glenn: Right there. So, let's talk a little bit about the equipment that we're using here. This is real critical to successful ChatterBait fishing. What I've got here is a 7-foot medium heavy power rod, with fast-action tip. Real fast-action tip. I don't know if you can see that. Let me show you. See that tip? Real fast. Almost an extra fast. That is ideal for fishing ChatterBait. Now, if you've got a spinnerbait rod, that's perfect for fishing ChatterBaits. But the 7-foot medium heavy is pretty much a universal tool. You can use it for worm fishing, for ChatterBait, for paddle tail fishing. You can even use it for jig fishing. There's even more. There's a lot of uses you can use for a seven and a half medium heavy power rod. So, get yourself a couple of them and rig them up. But this is what you wanna use with a ChatterBait.

With it, I've got the Revo SX baitcasting reel. This is an awesome reel for this. It's a 6:6:1 gear ratio. And the reason I'm going with that instead of, like, a 7:3 or faster is, for the most part, your success with a ChatterBait is with a slower retrieve. And I'll get into the retrieves in a minute, but the 6:6 enables me to keep it down, even if I get a little anxious and I start speeding up. It's gonna keep that down to a slower speed.

With this reel, also, it's got a fantastic smooth drag. Real nice drag on it, and when you hook onto a fish, usually it's a big one, and you need a good drag to be able to fight them back to the boat and not get them to tear the hook out of his mouth. I also have a real strong... The drag on is also very, very strong. It's 24 pounds of drag. That is really unusual for bass fishing. Most reels for bass fishing are only like 12 to 16 pounds on the drag, so 24 pounds is really stout for bass fishing. And that's great because what I like to do is I fan cast this. I'll fan cast it across big flats of weeds and submerged milfoil, for example, and just, you know, start at like the 11 o'clock position. And then my next cast would be 12, my next cast would be 1, and so on and so forth. Just covering water. And you make those really long casts, and so, when that fish is way out there, and he hits it on the end of a long cast, you need the drag to be down tight in order to set that hook with that much line out.

And speaking about that line, I've got, here on, I've got 30-pound FireLine Ultra 8 line on this. And this is... It's a little heavier than what most people fish ChatterBaits. Most people tend to go about 20 pounds. I go 30, and I got a little reason why, and I'll show you that in a minute. But 30 is really good, and the FireLine here, because it's a micro Dyneema fiber, it goes through the guides real smooth and that aids for long casts. So, again, as I mentioned, long casts on this are critical. 

So, real nice long cast with this line. It has no stretch, so, again, you can get good hook-setting power on those long casts. And pair that with this reel, which gives you a nice long cast as well, you're gonna get that bait fired way out there and cover a lot more water than somebody else who's not set up like this. So, be sure you get yourself one of these reels and pair it up with this FireLine.

So, that's the bait, and that's the gear and equipment and how we do it. Now, I'll show you how to fish it.




Glenn: All right, so, let's talk about the different ways you can retrieve a ChatterBait. Some of the different presentations. I think you'll find it's a little more versatile than you might think. However, let's start off with a basic retrieve. And all's that is, is casting out and winding it back, but what you wanna do is bring your rod tip down, and have it to the side. And that's for two reasons. Number one, you're in the hook-set position, so if a fish bites it, you're ready to swing. If you got your rod tip way up here, there's nothing left. You have nowhere to go to set the hook. 

So, make sure it's down here. The other reason you have it down here and to the side is you can feel it a lot better. You can feel that bait vibrating through the water. It's transmitting right up the rod, right to your hands, and you can feel it. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. If for any reason it stops ticking, there's a little pause in it or it changes cadence, set the hook. Because that could be a fish. So, it's critical that you feel it. If you're pointing right at the lure while you're reeling it back, you're just connected to the reel and you're not gonna feel that. So, make sure it's down and to the side. You'll have a better feel with it.

The next retrieve... This is the one I like to do over the top of submerged weeds, is to burn it back. And for that, you may have to bring the rod tip up a little bit like this. Don't bring it up all the way high, but bring it a little bit to the side, again. But you have to do it a little bit higher, and bring it back. See how fast I'm reeling that? Bring it back fast. And you bring it right over the tops of weeds. And what you're doing is you're gonna call the fish right out from those weeds. They'll be buried up in it, maybe not even a biting mood. But you'll elicit that strike by burning that right over their tops. 

They'll come out and pounce on it. You can actually call them out from deep weeds that way. Great way to fish, but also when you got that rod tip high, if they hit it, that's the key thing, again, having the strong drag and strong line. If they hit it, they're gonna wanna go right back down in those weeds. And so you'll be able to swing it up and keep your rod tip up here, and keep them above the weeds, and keep them from burying it down it. That's, again, why I like this really strong drag, and I like this 30-pound FireLine because if they get wrapped in those weeds, I can still wrench them out.

Now, there's other reasons I have that setup, and I'll talk to you that in a second. But the next one is the opposite of that. This is a nice, slow retrieve. Actually, it's crawling in on the bottom. And what I like to do here is, sometimes what the bass will do is they're feeding on bottom-feeding or bottom-foraging baits like a sculpin or a goby or something like that. And here, what I'm doing is I reel up, as you notice, I'm using the rod. And I just drag it with the rod, not the reel. And the reason for that is for feel. 

Again, you can feel the bite a lot better with the rod, than if you sat here and you just reeled it, you're not gonna feel it as well. And you don't have as much control. Again, if you're doing it side like this, you have exact control of the speed of how it's going on the bottom. With the reel, it's kinda hard to imagine. If I'm just doing it with the reel, it's kind of hard to tell how slow it's going, right? You see what I'm getting at? This is a great way if the fish are just feeding on the bottom. It's a good wintertime technique. And I do that a lot of times when the water temperature is below 50 degrees. You drag it on the bottom like that. There's some fish are hugging the bottom and they're feeding off those little sculpin. That's a great way to fish this ChatterBait. 

Now, let me get to you another way that I fish it. This is why I've got that 30-pound line on it. This bait works really well just like you would use a jig. Flipping and pitching it. Literally just pitching it out there. Dropping it straight down like you would a jig, till it hits the bottom, and then lifting it back up, and letting it drop right back down. Follow it down with your rod. This works great throwing into heavy bushes, heavy cover, laydowns, logs. You just pitch it on out there, let it drop. Lot of times the bite is on the fall. 

And sometimes I've had it where you just sit it on the bottom, and then they'll come pick it up and grab it. I've got a friend of mine that's gonna be upset that I just showed you how to do it this way because he won a tournament doing it this way. But this is a great way to fish a ChatterBait, especially when everybody's throwing jigs. It gives the bass a different look. If you're going down the bank and you're following somebody, and you can see his throwing a jig, pick up your ChatterBait and throw it this way, and I bet you'll catch the fish that he left behind. So, keep that in mind.

Keri: Wait. There you go.

Glenn: Dead stickin’ the ChatterBait.

Keri: Yep.

Glenn: But it worked.

Keri: Hey, it works. Dead stickin the ChatterBait. It works.

Glenn: That'll do the job.

Glenn: One last tip I wanna tell you about is during the fall, late fall, and into the winter, one thing that a lot of guys don't do, is we keep fishing to the shoreline. We'll do that all the time because we're used to that. Usually, the fish are up shallow, they're up against some kind of cover, and we catch the fish that way. But during the winter time, and in the fall, late fall when they're migrating out deeper, they're gonna be out deeper. So, take your boat, position it up shallow, and now you'll wanna cast out there. 

And do just similar, just like I kinda told you on dragging it, but a little bit different. You're throwing it out there to just say that's deeper water. You keep your rod tip down, to the side, and just slowly reel it. Kinda bumping along the bottom. Just bumping along, bumping along, and bringing it uphill. A lot of those fish are positioned down there, and they don't see a presentation like that. They usually see them going out that way. Here, they're not accustomed to it, and you'll catch a lot of fish that way. They're just not used to seeing it that way. Works really well in those colder months. Catch fish that way.

As far as where you can fish it, I like to fish, like I mentioned, over the top of weeds, but also on the weed line edges. That's a perfect area to be throwing it. Anywhere around docks, logs, laydowns, that sort of thing. And riprap. It works really well in riprap. What I like to do is bounce it off those rocks. And you can do it, again, if you're bouncing off pier pilings, on piers, and on docks. Make sure you're bouncing it off stuff and give it that erratic movement. But you gotta keep checking your hooks when you're doing that because you don't wanna dull them.

But those are the different ways you can fish the ChatterBait. They're very successful. I catch huge fish on them. This is why they're wildly popular. Hope you got a lot out of this. For more tips and tricks like this, visit