How To Fish A Chatterbait In The Fall with Michael Neal

Fall Bass Fishing Videos
Learn fall Chatterbait secrets from 2-time MLF Angler of the Year Michael Neal! Discover why bass love vibrating jigs in the fall!

The Baits & Gear

Z-Man Chatterbait --

Big Bite Baits Cane Thumper --

Sunline Sniper -

Denali Kovert baitcasting rod -

Strike King Tour Grade Tungsten Weight --


Hey guys, Michael Neal here with I wanna talk to you about fall fishing, specifically with vibrating jigs. The fall time of the year is kind of a funky time of year for many parts of the country. It's still a little warm, and the fish are transitioning back into the creek, some, where they were in the spring, getting out of those deeper summer places, and they're focusing on small bait, probably 90% of the time that time of year. And it makes it a little bit more difficult to catch them, a little bit harder to fool them. And the trailer that I go with that time of year, I think is really important. And it's a Big Bite Cane Thumper, it's a three and a half inch, so it's a very small profile, very streamlined. This one is Pearl, and I like to always match my trailer to my skirt color.

You know, sometimes you see a lot of guys want to really throw contrasting colors. I almost always make sure and try and match my skirt and my trailer as closely as possible. And that time of year, I like to throw something in my skirt that's a little bit more translucent that they can't see. That's not a bright white, that's not bright charros and white.

The smaller that you can make your bait appear, but still be able to cover a lot of water seems to be the trick. You know, you don't want to throw something that's six inches long when they're keying in on bait that's two and a half, or three inches. So, this is really about as small as you can get on a vibrating jig for that time of year with a small, Big Bite CaneThumper on it. And that's why I like it so much.

And as far as we're to go look for these fish, it's typically going to be in creeks, in pockets, in big marinas. Sometimes the fish kind of use that as a go-to in the fall, but you want to fish this bait on the bank in the fall 90% of the time, I would say. Unless it's a grass lake. Now, grass lakes are totally different, we'll get to that. But if you're on just a natural lake, or a dammed-up empowerment, and the fish migrate to the backs of the creeks, that's when you want to just cover water, you want to focus on your high percentage areas. In the fall, I don't like to fish slow at all. I feel like the fish, they're active and going to bite. When you get a good bait presentation in front of them, they're gonna bite.

And it's not that you have to try and flip and pitch and try and really fool them. So, if you can burn down a bank, if you've got a creek, go two-thirds of the way back, and start fishing. It doesn't matter if it's a steep bank, a flat bank, if it's got pockets or wood on one side, rock on the other, just start fishing in the fall. And you will start to develop a pattern as the day goes on, but in the fall time of the year, the fish can change from really hour to hour or day by day. And sometimes they like that steeper bank, sometimes they like the flat banks, and it really has to do with where the shad are.

And the fall time of the year, the shad dominate absolutely everything. And as far as line size, that time of year, I like 20-pound Sunline Sniper. And that's because you can throw it around anything. It's got plenty of abrasion resistance. It's plenty strong enough to where you don't have to worry about the fish breaking you off. And it's a little bit bigger than some guys like to throw, but in the fall, I like to throw lighter baits in those types of lakes because the fish are up super shallow a lot of times, so, I'll throw a three-eighth ounce. Where I really start in the fall, I don't throw a half much, I very rarely throw a three-quarter. So, I start out with that three-eighths up in that shallow water, heavy line to keep it up tied directly to the snap that comes with the bait, and just really go down the bank, put your trailer motor on high, and fish as many high percentage places as you can throughout the day.

There's not a lot of fish that you're just gonna catch on a straight bank unless they've pushed the bait up on there. So, you want to try and focus on the high percentage, keep the control motor on high, and roll. The seven-foot-two Denali Kovert is my go-to rod for a vibrating jig 90% of the time,100% of the time on the bank. It's long enough to where you can still make good long cast, but it's short enough to where you can make accurate cast. If you have to skip under boat docks, skip under laydowns, skip under overhanging trees. And that's very important, being able to put your bait where you want it. So, we're gonna go back to the grass lakes, and the grass lakes in the fall are a little bit different creature. You've got mats, you've got places by now that the grass is gone from, but these fish are gonna be concentrated in the fall. They're gonna be concentrated in an area. They're not going to necessarily be concentrated on a place where you can sit there and just make one cast and catch them every time.

But it's very feast-or-famine in the fall in the grass. And when you're around them, you're around them, you're gonna catch some fish, you're gonna get some bites. And when you're not around them, you're not around the bait, you just gotta keep covering water and looking for them. And the fish are going to be moving a lot because the bait's moving, the water's cooling off, and it's just a different time of year.

So, again, just make sure that you check out your baits, make sure they're somewhat transparent, translucent, whatever you wanna say, the fish can't get that good of a look at it, and make sure you stay small. That's the number one key to me is to make sure your bait presentation is small to match the hatch. And marinas are oftentimes a place where they get overlooked a little bit, but you have to be able to make the good, accurate cast with a seven-foot-two rod.

And the fall time of the year is the time that I would say, you can lock a vibrating jig in your hand from take off until weigh in, or from daylight until dark. And you can catch them literally on any bank, on any stretch of the lake, just because it mimics those bait fish so well. So, make sure you check out these fall tips, and look for more from

BassResource may receive a portion of revenues if you make a purchase using a link above.