How To Fish A Chatterbait In The Spring

Fishing a chatterbait in the spring is one of the most effective lures you can use because it’s so versatile. It can be used in a number of different situations and in this post, I’m going to be talking about how to properly fish a chatterbait.

A chatterbait is simple a jig with a blade attached to it which is designed to create a bunch of movement in the water. It’s awesome because you can use it in warmer and colder water, you can use it in grassy areas, and you can use it in shallow and deeper water.

We’re going to be talking about the trailers to attach to your jig, how to actually fish the lure, and the right gear to use with it. Continue reading or watch the video below for the full details on how to fish a chatterbait in the springtime.



Not all chatterbaits are created equal. It’s not so much the brand but it’s more of the way it’s designed. Some chatterbaits move faster than others and some take longer to get up to speed. My favorite is the Z-Man Jack Hammer (check the price on Amazon). You don’t have to pick that one but just make sure the one you go with moves as soon as you swim it.

The reason I like Jack Hammer is that it moves the quickest and it’s solid all around. It’s a bit more expensive but I do think it catches more fish. You’ll be just fine with any old chatterbait but if you want to catch the most fish possible, use the best lures.

When it comes to color, you want to keep things simple and use the color of what you’re trying to imitate. These things come in a variety of different colors but I think you’ll have the best results if you stick to the basics. The reds, greens, browns, blacks, and whites. The main thing you’d be trying to look like would be a minnow or crawfish. Use those types of colors.

Chatterbait Trailers

When you’re deciding what trailer to attach to your jig you can go with a swimbait or craw style bait. The one you go with will depend on what you’re trying to imitate. Think about what the fish in that area might be eating. Are there crawfish in the area or is it mainly minnows?

If there are a lot of crawfish in the area then you might want to use a craw colored chatterbait and craw style trailer. If you want to imitate a craw then you’ll probably want to use a green, brown, or red chatterbait. You’ll then want to throw on your favorite craw trailer. See some of our favorites here.

If there aren’t many crawfish in the area or you want to imitate a minnow instead you’ll want to throw on a swimbait style trailer. The Yamamoto Zako Swimbait from Amazon is a great option. It was designed specifically for chatterbaits and I think it gives the best action through the water. Some of the swimbaits out there don’t move that well on lures like this. If you’re going to be using this you’ll want to use a white, black, or fish colored chatterbait.

How To Retrieve A Chatterbait

The way you retrieve your lure is the most important thing when it comes to catching fish (pretty obvious). If you want to keep things as simple as possible you can just cast and reel in. This lure and trailer will have enough action to be able to land fish.

If you want to land more fish you’ll have to change things up a bit. When fish are swimming they don’t normally move in one straight direction. They move forward and then to the side and then forward again. That’s what you want to imitate.

If you’re fishing around cover (rocks, fallen trees, grass) you want to bang your lure into these things to create a bunch of movement. If anything is following your lure as your reeling it in and you deflect it off something then it’ll trigger the attack instinct and that’s most likely when you’ll get a strike.

If you’re fishing in open water and there’s nothing to deflect off of then you’ll have to create the action yourself. The first thing you can do is quickly stop reeling. When you stop reeling for a second it’ll make the lure drop a bit and it can sometimes be enough to get a fish to bite.

The next thing you can do is give the reel one quick turn. When you give it one quick turn it’ll speed up the lure and change the direction. It’s almost like when it bumps into something and it works really well. If something is following your lure and you do this it’ll think your bait is making a run for it and grab it.

The final thing you can do is drag it along the ground. This is only going to work with a craw style trailer and it works really well at night (will still work during the day). All you have to do is cast it out and let it fall to the bottom. You’ll lift your rod up which will cause the lure to shoot up off the ground and then fall back down. When the lure starts falling down you’ll want to reel in the slack.

The Gear

I don’t think the gear makes a huge difference when it comes to catching fish. It’s more of personal preference and what type of gear you like. Some people prefer lighter gear while others prefer heavier stuff. I prefer going a little bit heavier myself.

If I’m fishing a chatterbait then I’ll use a medium-heavy rod with a baitcasting reel. It’s the same rod I use for the majority of my fishing and has worked completely fine for me. You can use a lighter rod but I get a better hookset when I use something a bit heavier.

I’ll also use a braided line with a fluorocarbon leader. I like using braid because it’s much stronger than normal fishing line, lasts 3-4 times longer, and is more sensitive so you can feel the bite right away. I normally use a 20 lb test but you can go much heavier if you want. I’ll also use a fluorocarbon leader (you can use mono as well) because the fish can’t see it in the water.

The reason I like a heavier setup is that I can rip it out from the weeds if it gets stuck. It’s a bit harder with a lighter rod but it’s not impossible. Some people use a lighter rod with a fluorocarbon line and that works well for them. It’s completely up to you and what you prefer.

Until next time, happy fishing. If you want to catch more fish, use more hooks.

Let me know your thoughts and any questions you have. Like this article? Feel free to give it a share!

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Jon Webber

I'm by no means an outdoors or fishing expert, but it's something I've been interested in for over 20 years. I created this site to test out different gear and techniques to see what actually works.

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