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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I keep trying chatter baits to no avail. I've tried brown and white with and without trailers (1/4). I've tried different approaches. Slow reel, fast reel, mix of both. Starting and stopping. So far not even a bite (that I've felt).

I'm using a MH ugly stick gx2 combo, not sure if thats a bad setup for it or not.

I was fishing at Bright lake tonight and throwing only Chatterbaits to get more practice. At about sundown a guy walks up with only a pole and a chatterbait on the line and catches 2 nice fish in under 5 minutes, about 5 feet from me. He then snags the bait and loses it and then leaves. At this point it seems like I MUST be doing something wrong :)
 

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My go to chatterbait setup is a 3/8 Jackhammer in either white or green pumpkin. I have black/blue but don't use them very often. I use the ZMan Razor Shadz and ZMan DieZel Minnowz as trailers. White for white and Hot Snakes for Green Pumpkin. The damn things are expensive but they are the best chatterbaits I have used.

For the colors if you think the fish are feeding on shad use white. If you think they are feeding on bluegills or it is overcast use the green pumpkin. However if you don't get bit in an area then by all means switch colors. The fish will speak to you.

For the trailers I like the DieZel Minnowz when the fish are finicky. I can slow down the retrieve and I think it gives the fish time to react. The Razor Shadz I like in the spring and fall when the fish are very active. I can burn that chatterbait back at a faster rate then the Minnowz.

The big thing with Jackhammers is they will stay deep and not ride up the water column, to bad, as you crank them back in. That being said, I normally throw vibrating jigs over the tops of submerged grass like one throws a lipless crankbait. Throw it out and count it down. I use 1 second = 1 foot. If I know the grass tops out at 4 feet down then I count to 4 and start winding. You can just steady crank or speed up slow down or even yo yo it back like fishing a soft plastic. Start with steady winding and then experiment if no bites. When you catch one repeat the cast and retrieve. Normally, three fish all caught the same way equals a pattern.

The rod you are using is probably good for chatterbait. Preferably the rod should have a lot of bend in the top 1/3 and stiffer below that. The reason is you want that rod characteristic is to have the chatterbait catch in the tops of the grass or other cover. When you feel the bait catch the grass just keep winding the reel handle. The chatterbait should break free from the grass and kind of shoot forward just from the rod load. When that happens if a fish was watching/chasing/following it will almost always instinctively bite. If the chatterbait doesn't free itself from the grass then give the rod a good pop and it should shoot forward and you get the same effect. You can also use a chatterbait by slow rolling it on the bottom. Just watch the line as the bait sinks. When the line goes slack start slow winding. That is also a perfect time to try the yo yo. After it is on the bottom just lift the rod up from 3 to 12 pretty firmly, wind a couple cranks and let it drop again.

Don't worry about feeling a bite with a chatterbait. You will know it when one hits. It will either be a solid thump or you will lose contact with the bait and the rod will go light. If you feel the strike just side sweep the hookset, but with power, making sure to feel the rod load. If you feel a sudden slack line wind like hell until the rod loads and then again sweep hard sideways.

FYI,
I have seen Jeremy catch more than one chatterbait fish with it just sitting deadstick on the bottom while he fussed with his rod or reel. I mean like a 3-4 minute soak deadstick. It sits there and then on his first crank boom fish on.

Jackhammers

Zman Razor Shadz

ZMan DieZel Minnowz
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the thorough reply, I'm feeling better already. I did lose my white chatterbait the other day so couldn't switch colors last night. I'll try the jackhammer as I was having issues keeping it off the surface last night, even on slow reels. I'll snag some of those trailers too.

I've also never thrown anything as heavy as 3/8 before, for some reason I felt limited to 1/4.
 

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I have 3/8 and 1/2. 1/2 is delegated to deeper offshore water and or faster mid depth ranges. In my opinion 3/8 is more versatile.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm going to pick some 3/8 up and give them a whirl. Any tips on avoiding losing the $15 lure in all the grass here? With the 3/8 weight I worry about staying too close to the bottom.
I primarily bank fish so I can't hover over the stuck lure and get it unstuck and it seems like most of the places I fish on the bottom I lose at least one lure per trip.
 

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Ohh I know the pain when you lose a $15 chatterbait. My only advice would be to use a heavier line like 15lb. Losing a bait is going to happen but grass shouldn't hang it up enough so the line breaks. Personally, I am more worried about setting the hook on an underwater stump or branch. Unless you are in vessel that will get you over the hang then hangups might happen but should be rare.

With chatterbaits the hook rides up so that help.
 

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They seem to work best in muddy or stained water. I even saw a video on them for bay fishing recently.
 
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