How To Fish A Chatterbait In The Summer

Summer Bass Fishing Videos
Learn summer Chatterbait secrets from 2-Time MLF Angler of the Year Michael Neal! Discover why bass love vibrating jigs in the spring!

The Baits & Gear

Z-Man Chatterbait --

Big Bite Baits Kamikaze Swimon Split Tail --

Sunline Sniper -

Denali Attax crankbait rod -


Hey guys, Michael Neal here with Wanna talk to you about vibrating jigs in the summertime. And there's really no wrong time to throw a vibrating jig, but the summertime is one of my favorite times to throw it just because you can get out there and cover a lot of water with it. The fish aren't always super active, but you can use this as a search bait, or early in the morning, late in the evening, it's a great time to catch a lot of fish on it, but some of your bigger bites in the summertime will come on this vibrating jig. The trailer I like for this time of year is the Kamikaze Split Tail, and it's a little bit different. It's actually what used to come in the package with the original vibrating jig, and people really, kind of, got away from that.

But I like it because there's nothing to make your bait ride high with it. It's just a straight tail. It's got plenty of action, and it's just very simple. But that's the key in the summertime is those fish are out in a little bit deeper water. They're not up on the bank roaming around near as much. You're fishing a lot more grass beds, you're fishing a lot of shell beds, shell bars, so you want something that's going to allow your bait to get down there, and stay in the strike zone. And when you're throwing a vibrating jig, that's what you have to do. You have to focus on your cadence, your retrieve, and make sure you're around the right water column for where those fish are for that time of year.

And in the summertime, I cannot stress that enough, as you want something that still has a little bit of action. You don't want it to counteract the blade or anything, but you want it to maintain its depth in the water column, and this Kamikaze Split Tail is by far my favorite one to do that. And I tie it just straight to the snap. You know, some people want to try and put an extra snap on a vibrating jig or something like that, and it's just certainly not necessary. You've got a snap right here, it's not gonna twist your line, they're not gonna do circles, and it's just, it's all ready for you. All you gotta do is just tie your favorite knot to it.

I like 16-pound Sunline Sniper for the summertime. And that's another thing that I go down in my line size. In the spring I like 20, and in the fall I like 20, fishing around the bank, I like 20, but in the summertime, I go down to 16. A half ounce is where I typically start with my weight, but if I have to get down there in that 10-foot plus range, that's when I lean on a three-quarter ounce.

And if you have to do that, you know, you've gotta have a good longer rod for fishing off the bank. You don't wanna get wore out with it. And that's why this Denali AttaX 7- foot four, it's labeled as a heavy multipurpose, but it is certainly not a heavy. You don't want to overpower your bait with too stiff a rod, so you've gotta have some sort of parabolic action to your rod no matter what time of year you're fishing with it. But in the summertime, you've gotta have the long enough rod, but still have enough backbone to rip it free outta that grass, or some of those other things that the fish are hiding in that time of year.

The retrieve I like, I don't really Like yo-yo-ing in the summertime. It would help you keep the bait down there in the water column, but I prefer just to as slow and steady of a retrieve as I can get, and just fish it right on top of the grass. You wanna maintain contact with the grass, or even bumping the bottom if you're just fishing shell beds. But you have to stay where the bass are, and I cannot stress that enough, and that's what's gonna allow you to do that, is the right trailer and the right size line.

And as far as where to go and where to fish it, is anywhere you would go throw a crankbait and, you know, your, 10 to 12, 15-foot run in crankbaits, that's a great place to go start it, or even if you're fishing grass, it just depends on what kind of lake you're on. So, anywhere there's schools of fish, or if you're covering grass lines, a vibrating jig is the way to go. And this year at Guntersville, that's what I was fishing in May. The water was in the mid-upper seventies, and the bream were spawning a little bit, and that's also a great bream imitator.

Color-wise, you can go with shad patterns or bluegills. I prefer to stay more with the bluegill, the green pumpkin type colors in the summertime because I think a lot of these fish that you're fishing for with the vibrating jig that time of year have changed their focus a little bit from shad to those bluegill. The deeper fish, the super deep fish, they're still gonna be on shad, but those mid-range, around that 10-foot mark, those are gonna be your bluegill eaters a lot of times. And there's no better imitator that you can cover a lot of water than a vibrating jig for, whether it is bluegill or shad or whatever your forage is in whatever body of water you're fishing.

Summertime, I like a color blade. If I'm throwing a green pumpkin jig, I like either a blacked-out blade or a green pumpkin blade. And anytime I'm throwing shad, I still like the silver blade, whether it's a chartreuse and white if you've got a little bit dirtier water, or if you're just throwing a plain straight white, the silver blade to me is that's what color of shad is. It's really not white, but just the silver on it is what the sides of it are, so you think of a spinner bate blade, and you want to throw a silver blade in the sunshine, or if it's cloudy, you wanna throw a gold blade.

You can do that too a lot of times, but the gold blades are not that easy to find, but I have caught a lot of fish on it. A green pumpkin one with a gold blade. If it's cloudy, that's really a killer for me sometimes, but typically, you know, just the green pumpkin with a non-mirrored blade, and anything shad with a bright color blade, that's something that's going to attract them to it.

And when you find these fish, a vibrating jig is oftentimes a great search tool, but when you find them, you might have to slow down once you get a bite or two in an area. But if you start looking around where you have gotten a bite, there's gonna be other places that you can start running a pattern. And in the summertime, that is a great time to pattern fish, whether it's a certain depth. If they're on the outside bends of creek channels, or if they're just on the long tapering points, or the end of a grass line, the inside grass line, outside grass line, any kind of turn in a grass line, the fish in the summertime are looking for something different that's in a little bit deeper water.

And when you get too deep, you can't throw the vibrating jig. They make an ounce and a quarter, ounce and a half vibrating jigs out there, but I have not had near as much success with those as I have say a three-quarter or a half. Very, very rarely in the summertime will I go as light as a three-eight-ounce, and that's just because the fish that I'm fishing for in the summertime are gonna be really low in the water column. They're gonna be buried up in that grass, or they're gonna be down on the bottom on a shell bed getting, tucking out of the current, and out of the sunlight just trying to recuperate from the spawn. So, the vibrating jig, 365 days a year is a great bait. Hopefully, these tips will help you out in the summertime from Bass Resource.