Chatterbait 101: How to Catch Fish Vibrating

Chatterbait 101: How to Catch Fish Vibrating

Vibrating jigs, also known by the Z-Man brand name as Chatterbaits, have become a staple in many a bass angler’s arsenal on the planet.

Although they are versatile, they can lead to aggressive strikes from various predatory fish species whether they are bass, pike or even redfish. Additionally, they can bite in almost any type of body of water, any week of the year.

Before you tie one, it’s important to choose a jig with the right blades for the job. Size, color, trailer, rod and reel combination…it all depends on the water conditions you encounter, the forage your bass feed on, and the composition of your body of water.

The Z-Man Jackhammer is the pinnacle of Chatterbait fishing, but at over $15 apiece, it’s not in everyone’s budget. The new Elite Evo is much cheaper, about the same quality, and includes a number of premium components. When you want to downsize a little, the Mini Max is also a great option for large smallmouth bass.

Z-Man Evergreen Chatterbait Jack Hammer

Colors: Shad Pumpkin Green, Pumpkin Green, Pumpkin Delight

Z-Man Chatterbait Elite EVO

Colors: Blue Gill, Stain Remover, Glitter Bomb

Z-Man Chatterbait Mini Max

Colors: bluegill, speckled, chartreuse and white

Color and weight

Adapt the color of your bladed jig to the prevailing water conditions. Natural colors like shad or pumpkin green in clear water, and classic black and blue for dirty water. When it comes to weight, it depends on the depth you are looking to fish. I recommend starting with 3/8 and 1/2 ounce which will probably cover 95% of your fishing situations. If you want to go deeper and drag it along the bottom, you can resize it to 3/4 parts.

Best Chatterbait Rods

You’ll want to outfit yourself with a medium-heavy bait rod that has a more parabolic bend, or a more moderate action (some brands call it regular). If you’re looking for a more versatile rod, you can probably get away with a medium-heavy, fast, all-purpose rod capable of throwing worms, jigs, spinnerbaits and more, but for best results, choose a medium or moderate fast action. Some pros even use a glass rod designed for crankbaits. As for line, 15-20 pounds of fluorocarbon should do the job.

Here are some great bar options at different prices:

Budget: Casting St. Croix Mojo Bass – 7’1″ MH Moderate – $112.48

Average Price: Daiwa Tatula Elite Glass Circulation System – 7’4″ MH Regular – $189.99

High Quality: Shimano Expride Casting – 7’2″ MH Glass – $279.99

The perfect trailer

Enhance the effectiveness of your vibrating jig by adding a soft plastic trailer. This not only increases the appearance of the bait, but also provides additional action to entice wary fish. I’ve found more success with straight-tailed trailers (I think they allow the irregular motion of the jig to shine) but paddle tails and crawl profiles can work too.

Hog Farmer Spunk Shad 4.5″, 5.5″.

Colors: Electric Shad, Sexy Shad, TW Sunfish Magic

Rapala Crush City Freeloader

Colors: Gizzard shad, Singel shad, Green shad

Yamamoto Zaku 4″

Colors: Zaku, Green Pumpkin, White Lam, Electric Shad


The standard method involves a constant retrieve, allowing the vibrating jig to produce its characteristic irregular, vibrating motion. Adjust the retrieve speed based on the mood of the fish.

You can also use the stop and retrieve feature, pausing the retrieve periodically to allow the vibrating jig to sink before reeling it again. This mimics the falling motion of an injured baitfish and can result in strikes.

In cold water, a slow retrieve may be more effective, while warm water may require a faster, more aggressive presentation.

Targeting and cover structure

Focus your efforts on structures such as rocks, docks, and, in particular, submerged plants. Cast near cover and allow the vibrating jig to hit obstacles, imitating a fleeing baitfish.

Ripping them through the top of submerged grass is a great way to entice a bite.

*This post contains links through Tackle Warehouse’s affiliate program. While all products are independently selected by our expert Riff Outdoors team, if you use these links to make a purchase, we may earn a commission.

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