Where Should You Throw A Chatterbait? (Top 4 Locations)
UPDATED 03 NOVEMBER 2023
by Robert Ceran
Chatterbaits are among the most popular lures used by bass anglers, and are great for catching big bass.
Ever since they’ve been introduced, they have performed as top tournament-winning lures, and you would be hard pressed to find a single bass pro fisherman that doesn’t use them regularly.
But where do you throw a chatterbait in order to get the best results?
While chatterbaits can be used almost anywhere, the four top locations where they tend to outperform other lures are:
- In and around grass flats
- In muddy water
- Close to laydowns
- Underneath overhanging cover
Now let’s take a closeer look at why chatterbaits are ideal for these locations, and the best way to fish them there.
See also: What is the best rod for chatterbaits?
Why use a chatterbait?
If you want to catch bass, chatterbaits are among the top 5 lures used by most anglers.
The reason for their effectiveness lies in the bent metal blade attached to the jig head of the lure. During retrieval, this blade wobbles strongly back and forth, which generates underwater vibrations that are sent out in all directions, and these act as an attraction signal that draws in any bass that happen to be nearby.
Especially when bass are in active feeding mod, they are almost magically attracted to the vibrations of the metal blade, which could be due to the fact that these signals mimic the vibrations caused by a wounded bait fish.
So in some ways, chatterbaits can be viewed as a cross between a jig and a spinnerbait, combining the strengths of both lure types.
And due to the strong vibration of their blade, it’s very easy to fish with these lures – you just need to retrieve them steadily after casting them, and the lure vibration does all the work for you in attracting hungry fish.
Where to fish a chatterbait?
Now that you know how they work, let’s talk about the best places to throw them. In principle, you can fish a chatterbait anywhere, from the shallows to open water, and it can catch fish for you in all of those places.
But there are four key locations where their strengths can give you a significant advantage, and where they often outperform other lure types. Let’s look at those locations in more detail.
1. In and around glass flats
During the summer, bass love to feed in grass flats, since that’s where schools of bait fish can be found. This location is one of the best places to throw a chatterbait, and the reason for this is that underwater visibility tends to be low in a dense grass flat, which means that the vibrations of the metal blade are great for attracting fish.
Many anglers like to bump their chatterbait into grass blades during the retrieve, thereby creating even more underwater vibrations that draw in bass that are hunting in vicinity. You can also fish your lure along the edges of a grass flat, since very often you’ll find bass patrolling the outside edges, plus you’ll also be able to draw out any fish inside the grass to come out and grab your lure in the open water.
2. In muddy water
As mentioned above, the biggest strength of chatterbaits lies in the strong vibration of the metal blade on the jig head, which makes it an ideal lure to use in muddy water. Even when underwater visibility is very poor, bass can still sense the vibrations, and will be drawn in by that signal to investigate the lure more closely.
When a bass comes in close enough to see the lure, this is often enough to trigger a strike, which means that basically, the lure does all the work for you. The only thing you need to work on is figuring out how fast or how slow to retrieve your chatterbait, which is something you should experiment with to find the optimal speed.
3. Close to laydowns
As every angler knows, bass love the cover provided by laydowns, where they’ll wait until bait fish come within striking distance. When fishing these locations, it’s often hard for the bass to see your lure because they are right in the middle of the cover.
This is where the vibrations of chatterbaits once again come into play, as they serve to draw bass out of the dense cover to investigate your lure more closely in open water. All you need to do is cast your lure as close to the cover as possible without getting caught in it, and then retrieve it slowly from there.
4. Underneath overhanging cover
Another place that bass love to wait in ambush of smaller fish is underneath overhanging cover along the shore. This type of cover is usually formed by tree branches that hang down to the water surface at the edge of rivers and lakes, but it can also be docks or bridges.
One of the best tactics to fish in these locations is to skip your lure across the water surface to place it right underneath the cover without getting caught in it.
The great thing about chatterbaits is that they can be used for skipping across the water, which makes them the only vibrating bait that works well for this (unlike spinnerbaits).
So you can skip your chatterbait into those prime locations right underneath tree branches, bushes, or docks, and then take advantage of the vibrating attraction signal they send out. This can be a great advantage, especially when there is low visibility underwater.
When to fish a chatterbait?
As mentioned above, chatterbait are ideal for fishing in grass flats and close to cover, but they are also great to use in any situation after there has been strong rain recently, which muddies the water and thereby reduces visibility.
So if you’re fishing a lake or a river after a heavy thunderstorm, chances are that chatterbait will perform better than other lure types due to their vibrating blade.
In any situations where water visibility is low, it’s usually best to use a relatively slow retrieval speed with chatterbaits. You want to give the bass enough time to swim in close and take a look at your lure. In some cases bass may follow your lure to the boat without biting, and in those cases a great tactic is to give your lure a jerk every now and then, which can trigger the fish to commit and grab the bait.
If you want to know more about the advantages of this lure type for bass fishing, check out the following article: is chatterbait good for bass?