Chatterbait Tips

How to Fish Heavy ChatterBaits “Up the Hill”

Fishing lures from deep to shallow (up the hill) is standard practice for shore anglers but typically overlooked when fishing from a boat. Major League Fishing Pro Stephen Browning discusses when to use this approach and how to execute it using a heavy ChatterBait. Wired2fish has covered heavy ChatterBaits (3/4 and 1-1/4 ounce) in structure fishing applications on reservoirs and natural lakes, and it’s become a mainstay tactic in place of a crankbait in many situations.

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The system’s strength is depth control and the ability to keep the heavy bait near the bottom throughout the cast — it’s hard to pull this off with a fixed-running depth crankbait. Instead of beating the bank, Browning runs his boat down the shoreline and casts out, counting his lure down to a depth just below suspended schools of shad and in the bass strike zone.

He then proceeds with a slow and steady retrieve, letting the ChatterBait and paddle tail swimbait trailer deliver the necessary action. Bites often happen on a long cast and at depth, so Browning prefers a high-speed reel to maximize line pickup. He walks through his ideal rod action for fishing ChatterBaits, and why you lose more fish using a rod that’s too stiff.

It makes good sense. The first drop-off adjacent to shore is a collection area for bass that aren’t up shallow, be it influenced by a cold front, fishing pressure, or deeper forage. Like Ott DeFoe’s tactic of catching suspended bass on a jig just off the first shoreline break, this video presents moving baits to bass often missed by “bank beaters” targeting shallow cover.