The chatter bait has earned its place in the angler’s tackle bag as an all-around bass-catching weapon. The combination of sound, movement, and flash causes bass to become unglued. Fishing them around grass lines, drop-offs, and other submerged structure is a fantastic way to bring those massive bites. Knowing how to fish a chatter bait is only half the battle. The other half is choosing the right trailer. So, what is the best trailer to put on a chatterbait?
First, let’s cover the basics.
As far as rod length goes, anywhere from 6′ medium heavy – 8′ Heavy is effective. A shorter rod works well for short-range, accurate casts like skipping under docks or target fishing stumps, brush piles, etc. A longer rod is perfect for bombing long casts. A heavier rod will benefit you around grass and a good parabolic action will allow you to lean slowly into a bite, similar to that of a crankbait.
And that’s the gist of it!
Here are five proven chatterbait trailers that’ll get you through almost any situation.
1.) Yamamoto Zako Swimbait
The Zaku Swimbait is a perfect fat profile bait to imitate bluegill and is easily one of my favorite chatterbait trailers when fishing up-shallow. It swims with a tight action, unlike the wider action of a Keitech, giving it that stubby appearance of a grass-dwelling panfish. Consider the Zaku when you’re fishing up-shallow, around grass flats, and really any submerged structure. Some great colors to start with, as always are pumpkin green for clear water and dark blue and black for stained.
2.) Strike King Rage Swimmer
The Rage Swimmer is a great swim bait for stronger action. Unlike the Zako trailer, the Rage Swimmer is a lean profile with a more powerful tail swing due to the rigid material. This adds a ton of erratic action to a chatterbait. As a stand-alone swim bait, you can fish it weighted and on a wide gap hook. As a winter chatterbait trailer, the rage swimmer imitates a small bait fish perfectly when fished slowly along the bottom. For me, anywhere I see cover like low-hanging trees, laydowns, brush piles, and boat docks, and when water temperatures are above 60 degrees, I’ll throw on a rage tail and target active, aggressive fish.
3.) Chatterbait Trailers Z-Man Razor Shad
The Razor Shad is a perfect size and profile trailer for the chatterbait. At 4 1/2 inches long, the tail is segmented and has a perfect swim action that mimics minnows. It’s a perfect trailer to throw on when you’re imitating small bait fish and when you don’t need a lot of action. Z-Man soft plastics are known for their buoyancy and stretchability. A lot of the time, when bass are hesitant, they’ll short strike and nip the back fin of the tail, tearing it off. You can also fish the razor-shad on a wide gap hook and twitch it along the surface as a soft jerkbait.
4.) Chatterbait Trailers: Keithech Fat Swing
The Keitech Fat Swing swim bait is the go-to for more tail action. Similar to the Rage Swimmer, the Fat Swing’s body is ribbed with a large paddle tail. But the action goes even further than regular Keitech swim baits because the tail on this thing wags like crazy, hence “fat swing.” It’s a perfect trailer when you know larger more aggressive fish are in the area and especially if those bass are feeding on bait fish. The times of year I like to throw in a Fat Swing are pre-spawn and fall, as this is when bass are most likely going to smash a bait fish.
5.) The Speed Craw
The Speed Craw is a perfect trailer when imitating bluegill. Late spring is a perfect time of year for this imitation when Bluegill are feeding on both eggs and fry. Aggressive bass will gorge on bluegill forefoot and defense as well. This goes on into post-spawn. Instead of a wide swing action, the speed craw creates short fast kicking like a fleeing bluegill.
Try this out around shallow grass. If you see bluegill on your graph, then match the hatch. One effective way to fish a speed craw trailer is to let it hit bottom and then give a hop-hop action along the bottom. My personal favorite is ripping through the grass.