Chatterbaits are one of the most exciting lures you can throw for bass, rivaling topwater for hard hits. But as we’ve discussed before, most anglers don’t like them because they’ve really never learned to work them properly.
Ron Davis, who helped design the very first chatterbait, thinks that "A very small percentage of the people who bought the bait learned how to use it … When something new comes out, everyone has got to get one. But unless you have a little success with it, you won't use it much."
Beyond the best technique to use with a chatterbait, the next most important element in its success is the trailer you pair with it.
Today, we’ll discuss the best trailer options for chatterbaits, covering all your bases with reviews of some of our favorite options:
- Strike King Rage Tail Structure Bug - Best All-Around Chatterbait Trailer
- Zoom UltraVibe Speed Craw - Best Chatterbait Trailer for Shy Fish
- Strike King Rage Tail Craw
- Z-MAN Z Man Razor Shad 4 5 '
- Z-MAN Z Man Diezel
- Zoom Bait 8-Inch Magnum Lizard
Table of Contents (clickable)
- 1 Best Chatterbait Trailers Reviewed
- 2 How to Choose a Chatterbait Trailer
- 3 Chatterbait Techniques: How to Fish A Chatterbait Like a Pro
- 4 Final Thoughts
- Best Bass Fishing Lures
- Best Crankbaits for Bass
- Best Spinnerbaits for Bass
- Best Softbait Worms for Bass Fishing
Best Chatterbait Trailers Reviewed
Strike King Rage Tail Structure Bug - Best All-Around Chatterbait Trailer
Big, 4-inch creatures are just right for me as a chatterbait trailer, and Strike King’s Rage Tail Structure Bug is magic on bass. It provides tons of flutter and movement. Whether you’re pitching these into the grass and ripping them up and out or popping them off the bottom in a series of shimmying hops, they’ll garner plenty of attention!
Zoom UltraVibe Speed Craw - Best Chatterbait Trailer for Shy Fish
Zoom’s UltraVive Speed Craw is another creature trailer that won’t let you down. 3 ½ inches long, it’s great for preventing short strikes, and I like when the bass are slow and shy.
Your color choice is amazing, and those big claws and fluttering legs draw bass into strikes even when they aren’t particularly queued in on feeding.
Strike King’s 4-inch Rage Craw is legendary, having earned a golden reputation, particularly in the spring when females are feeding on crawfish to fatten up for the spawn.
But as a chatterbait trailer, those big claws create plenty of action, adding to the chatterbait’s thump and flash.
For those of you shy about chatterbaits, this is a trailer that should inspire confidence, especially if you match the skirt color to the Rage Craw and choose your colors to reflect the water conditions and prey items available.
When shad are on the menu, Z-MAN’s Razor Shad is a great choice for sweetening your chatterbait. That fluttering tail moves like mad, and it’s an excellent pick for long runs down the side of a weed bed, hopping down logs and other cover, and popping along the bottom through submerged vegetation.
A 4-inch swimbait with a thumping tail is never a bad option as a chatterbait trailer, and Z-Man’s Diezel offers a good range of awesome colors to match the hatch and your lure’s skirt.
Since chatterbaits are better worked slow, especially in cooler water, the Diezel is an especially good choice as its tail gets moving with very little speed.
Lots of anglers like to keep their chatterbait trailers pretty short, in the 4- to 5-inch region. But sometimes bigger is better, and when the bass are feeding aggressively, I like to upsize my trailer by switching to the Zoom Magnum Lizard.
Those legs and that tail create plenty of movement, and slow, fluttering falls with the Magnum Lizard are just amazing.
If the tail is getting hit without hookups, I remove the head and rig it from the body, solving that problem.
How to Choose a Chatterbait Trailer
Chatterbaits are ideal cool-weather lures, particularly in shallow water where there’s plenty of vegetation.
To entice bass, pike, and other predators to strike, they offer a loud thumping blade that flashes like the scales on prey, as well as an attractive skirt. Add a trailer like those we’ve suggested above, and you create an irresistible spring and fall shallow-water combination.
But not all soft plastics make good trailers for chatterbaits, and there are a few things to keep in mind.
I mostly choose trailers between 4 and 6 inches, though the Magnum Lizard and UltraVibe Craw are a little outside that range.
You’re looking for a soft plastic that’s not so long that it causes short strikes, missing your hook entirely, but you also don’t want a diminutive offering that barely runs past the skirt on your lure.
When the bass are aggressive, I’ll super-size to something longer than 6 inches. Conversely, when they’re shy, I’ll size down.
Chatterbaits are the opposite of finesse, and you want lots and lots of action from your trailer.
That’s why most anglers who fish chatterbaits choose creatures: they’ve got the appendages that you want fluttering as you work your lure.
That doesn’t mean that paddle tails or shad shapes are poor picks, however, and I’ll reach for those when I know the bass are keying in on shad or minnows. I’ll also throw these when I’m trying to irritate a big female guarding her eggs.
As is always the case, you want to match the hatch in clear water and brighten things up when it’s murky or stained. But with chatterbaits, you also want to get as close to the skirt color as you can with your trailer.
That’s why the options on our list shine: there are plenty of great color options to choose from.
Finally, don’t shy away from wild designs.
As I’ve said, creatures are exceptional choices, and I vastly prefer them to worms or senkos as chatterbait trailers.
Sure, you’ll catch fish on other options. But you’ll catch a lot more if you go with something wild and active.
Chatterbait Techniques: How to Fish A Chatterbait Like a Pro
Chatterbaits are awesome in shallow water, and you shouldn’t be afraid to throw them into the thick stuff.
You can always slowly retrieve your lure, relying on the chatterbait and trailer to do their thing. That may not sound like much, but check out the magic action that creates:
Another technique that works well is the simple pop and drift.
With a tight line, lift your lure and trailer off the bottom and let it drift and flutter to settle again. With a good creature, the action will be amazing!
When fished with confidence, chatterbaits are almost unbeatable in shallow, cool water. And nothing brings out the best in a chatterbait like an exceptional trailer.
While we can’t tell you which choice is the best for your lake, pond, or river, we can tell you that they’ll all work well if you choose the right color combination and fish your chatterbait like you should.
As always, we’re here to field any questions you might have, so please leave a comment below.