Expert shallow water bass fisherman Steven Browning is a massive fan of ChatterBaits for generating bites and covering water fast. He shares his top 5 bladed jigs and soft plastic trailer pairings, explaining why and when he uses each.
As with most popular lure categories, best ChatterBaits come in a range of sizes, colors, and actions so you can match your bait to the situation at hand. Additionally, the experimentation options are 2-fold in that you have nearly infinite trailer choices. For Browning, trailer selection is about how fast he wants to move the bait.
Here are the ChatterBait and trailer pairings you’ll always find rigged in Browning’s boat:
1. Z-Man ChatterBait Mini Max. Bass eat a lot of small forage, yet we often fail to account for this with our lures. Browning uses the ChatterBaitMini Max when fishing around small baitfish like shad and bluegills. Switching to the Mini Max is also intelligent when targeting smallmouth or spotted bass (smaller mouths) or when bass are more challenging to catch (cold front, pressure, etc.).
- Z-Man Baby GOAT Twin Tail Grub, slow retrieve
- Z-Man Slim SwimZ Swimbait, medium speed retrieve
- Z-Man StreakZ, fast retrieve
2. Z-Man Evergreen ChatterBait JackHammer (3/8- and 1/2-ounce models). The JackHammer is perhaps the most popular ChatterBait amongst touring pros and enthusiast anglers alike for its premium design and fish-catching attributes, with sound being near the top of the list.
3. Z-Man Evergreen ChatterBait JackHammer(3/4- and 1-1/4 ounce models). Browning puts these heavier models in their own application category and uses them for slow rolling in deeper water. Wired2fish staffers and the likes of Brett Hite are also huge fans of these bowling balls, fishing them as structure baits — they sink like a rock and stay glued to the bottom, fishing more effectively than a crankbait in many situations while allowing you to cover more water than a football jig.
4. Big Blade ChatterBait. There are times when aggressive flash, profile, and vibration get the big bites. The Big Blade ChatterBait excels at triggering big bites when bass are shallow. Browning stresses the need to retrieve this bait slowly to prevent blowouts. Wired2fish staffer McKeon Roberts demonstrates this perfectly in this Big Blade ChatterBait waylay video.
5. CrossEyeZ ChatterBait. Browning reaches for this guy when fishing around cover. In addition to the built-in brush guard, the head design excels at deflecting off of cover.