At first glance the chatterbait appears like a spinnerbait with a bent blade and another missing. Also, known as a vibrating jig or bladed jig, the chatterbait can be fished from late winter through the autumn months.
A small square piece of metal with trimmed corners attached to the front of a bass jig gives the lure its strong vibration. And that is one of the keys to attracting strikes from lurking bass. The vibrating action puts extra shimmy in the lures skirt.
The lure has characteristics of several lures in one. The flash of the blade attracts the bass’ attention like a spinnerbait. The vibration simulates a large crankbait. The jig and skirt profile mimics different types of baitfish.
The vibrating jig can be fished almost anywhere and in any type of cover. This characteristic makes the lure very versatile on any lake. The fiber weed guard helps make the lure virtually weedless.
“I like to search the outside edge of docks and piers, said B.A.S.S. pro angler David Kilgore of Jasper. “I will change the speed of the lure until I get that first strike.”
Depending on the lake, the water clarity will dictate what color and size vibrating jig Kilgore will cast. In 2013 at the Bassmaster Southern Open on Logan Martin Lake near Pell City, he favored a 1/2-ounce white Strike King Pure Poison vibrating jig to win the tournament and secure a berth in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic.
The vibrating jig helped Kilgore catch bass throughout the three-day event even under changing weather and water conditions. On day three, after a night of storms and torrential rain, some areas of the lake were muddy and flooded.
“On the final day, some of the weedbeds I had fished earlier were under water,” Kilgore said. “I went back to the piers and focused on the ones in around 10- to 15- feet of water.”
Weeds and grass beds are another top location to fish the chatterbait. The weedless characteristics of the lure help it slide though emergent and underwater vegetation. A slow, steady retrieve will emulate a baitfish feeding in the weeds.
Anglers should focus casting the vibrating jig along the edges of the weed or grass mats. When fishing shallow water, downsizing to a 1/4- or 3/8- ounce size lure will help anglers with a faster retrieve.
Bass Pro Tour pro Aaron Martens of Leeds understands the versatility of the vibrating jig. He keeps boxes with different blades, trailers and colors for various fishing conditions. His favorite size is a 3/8-ounce Picasso Shock Blade.
“I like to use curly tails as a trailer primarily in the early spring months,” Martens said. “The water color will dictate what color lure and trailer I will use.”
One advantage of the bladed jig is that it can be skipped under docks. The lure is more compact than a standard spinnerbait, allowing the vibrating jig to skip across the water’s surface easier. Most anglers prefer a long parabolic rod around 7-feet in a medium to medium-heavy action. This action allows the rod to bend in the middle section and increases the odds of hooking fish.
Charles Johnson is the Star’s outdoor editor. You can reach Charles at firstname.lastname@example.org