Following its initial tournament-dominating
success, few lure types creating the buzz of the chatter bait. Bait
manufacturers scrambled to create their own version of the metal-lipped
shaker. With the dust now settled, the question begs, “Is there still
reason to chatter?”
Deron Eck, a consistent tournament competitor that fishes the heavily
pressured waters of the Northeast. “A chatter bait remains a top lure
choice, especially early in the year, during the pre-spawn and
2008 Bassmaster Classic winner Alton Jones too often reaches for a bait that chatters during early season efforts.
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always have a rod with a Booyah Boogie Bait tied on early in the year,”
noted the Waco, Texas pro. “It’s an exceptional big fish bait.”
said newly emerging weedbeds -- milfoil and hydrilla rising a foot or
so of the bottom in three to four foot depths -- is a scenario where a
chatter-style bait excels.
“They don’t bite it every
day, but some days it’s all they want,” stated Jones, who once used a
chatter-style bait on the final day of competition on Guntersville to
catapult himself to the top spot, with a bag that included a six and
Using a three-eighths ounce Boogie Bait,
Jones concentrates on both the inside and outside edges of the weeds.
He expects to find fish relating to the weed edge when in a more
aggressive mood, and on the outside when less so, such as during
post-frontal conditions. He makes casts that quarter over the cover.
key is to make contact with the tops of the weeds, which are often
irregular in height,” explained Jones. “I vary the rate of my retrieve
so the bait ticks the tops of the growth. I often change speeds during
the same cast, slowing down when I lose contact, or speeding up when I
feel the lure bury into the growth.”
He often throws bass
a changeup by switching from the standard split-tail trailer to a Yum
Craw Papi, a ribbon-tail plastic worm, even a four-inch white tube.
Jones, Eck relies on chatter baits for largemouths scattered over
low-riding early season cover. But he’s also discovered a pattern that
shines on deeper, highland style reservoirs.
slow-roll chatter baits similar to a spinnerbait when bass are holding
along wood and bluff banks in clearer, deeper reservoirs early in the
year,” explained Eck. “It’s a pattern few anglers are wired into. It
shows the fish a different profile, and provides a lot of vibration.”
a chatter bait doesn’t fish all that well through heavy wood, Eck’s
found that it can be rolled through the tips of cover such as shoreline
laydowns that fall into deeper water.
“Look for bigger
laydowns on bluff banks, ones along steep breaking shorelines where the
channel swings tight to shore,” noted Eck. “Something else I’ve had
success with, that no one else seems to be doing, is fishing a chatter
bait parallel to bluff banks. Just slow rolling it along the side of
the break as you might a spinnerbait. Some days it can really fire
those fish up.”
A trick Eck uses to get a
chatter bait to run a bit deeper for his slow-rolling pattern is to
drill two eighth-inch holes in the blade, one on each side of the line
tie. He prefers the more subtle look of a gold blade, feeling a silver
blade is often too flashy.
16-pound test fluorocarbon has
proved to be the ideal line for this pattern. Eck said it furnishes
the strength needed to fish around the wood cover, transits the
vibration of the lure well, and sinks, providing a touch more potential
Chatter baits aren’t limited to stillwater
environments. I find chattering lures to be quite productive on river
systems for early season smallmouth bass. River smallies will stage up
in protected backwater areas during the pre-spawn, often behind islands
and gravel bars that provide the habitat on which they will later
nest. Many days the three- or four-inch ChatterStick will draw these
shallow-holding fish in like a magnet.