Best Chatterbaits

Video types of chatterbaits

Back in 2006, a new bait was released by Z-Man Fishing Products called the Chatterbait, and it changed bass fishing forever. This new bait became so popular so quickly that it created a brand new category of bass lures called bladed jigs, which are basically a swim jigs with a blade attached at the front of the bait to make it wobble like a crankbait during the retrieve.

But like with all bladed jigs like a Chatterbait, you should always fish it with some kind of jig trailer. The trailer gives the bait a nice kicking action at the rear. The blade and trailer work in conjunction to give the Chatterbait a very unique action.

But the story of the Chatterbait goes back a little further. It was originally invented back in 2004 by a guy named Ron Davis, who later sold all the rights to Z-Man. Other bait companies tried to replicate the bait but Z-Mann holds three patents on the design, so the other companies were forced to work around them. But many anglers still say, even after all these years that you just can’t beat the unique action of the Chatterbait.

Types of Chatterbaits

Fastforward to today, and the Original Chatterbait has multiplied in to many different models with various tweaks and component upgrades to cater to fishermen of all levels. They come in a wide range of prices, increasing as the quality of the components increase. They start in the five dollar range and can get up to just over twenty dollars.

On this page we are going to breakdown the different models and look at what makes them different. Of course we start with the original, and since this is a bass fishing site we are not going to touch on the Diezel Chatterbait, which is designed for saltwater.

1. Original Chatterbait

Like the name clearly states, this is the original Chatterbait design. It is definitely the most economical model, being way less the expensive than some of the others. The heads are painted with one solid color and attached to a lighter gauge metal blade. They come equipped with a heavy duty 5/0 hook, but they don’t mention a hook brand in any description.

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One recent improvement on the Original is they upgraded the clip to a Mustad Fastach Clip. The Original Chatterbait is kind of like an economy car, it gets the job done well but without all the fancy bells and whistles. But like anything else, you’ve got to start somewhere. And if you want power windows and power seats then there are plenty of upgrades to be had on the other models.


  • 1/4 oz. | 5/0 hook
  • 3/8 oz. | 5/0 hook
  • 1/2 oz. | 5/0 hook
  • 5/8 oz. | 5/0 hook

2. Chatterbait Elite

For about two bucks more you can upgrade to the Chatterbait Elite. For only two bucks, which is about a thirty-three percent increase in price, there are some pretty significant increases in quality. One of the most noticeable differences right off the bat is the molded-in keeper that the Elite version has for helping trailers stay in place.

But probably the biggest difference being the 5/0 Gamakatsu hook, going from a no-name hook to a Gamakatsu hook is a huge upgrade. That and the beefed up metal blade are big improvements. It used to have a stronger quick-clip line tie but now they both have the Mustad Fastach Clip.

The Elite model also comes with an upgraded skirt, which has more detail and more blended colors. The heads on the Elite also have a custom air brushed finish that match the skirts they’re paired with. There are some really nice additional colors you can get with the Elite, one being the blue gill pattern in the photo above.


  • 3/8 oz. | 5/0 hook
  • 1/2 oz. | 5/0 hook

3. Project Z

The next step up is the Project Z, which is also available in a weedless version that is equipped with a weedguard for a dollar more. The Project Z features a different looking head design, or at Z-Man describes it, a streamlined head design. This head allows the blade to swing more freely, which makes the Project Z put out more vibration. The head also features big 3-D eyes and a double keeper molded in to it.

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This model is equipped with an American made strong quick-clip for a stronger connection to the hex-shaped, electroplated blade. On the other end of the bait is a Mustad hook, slightly less of hook than the Gamakatsu but still a good quality hook. The 3/8 and 1/2 ounce baits come with a 5/0 hook, and 3/4 and 1 ounce baits come with a 6/0 hook. The bigger sizes are slightly more expensive.

The Project Z also comes equipped with Z-Man’s Double Umbrella EZ Skirts, which are better quality skirts that have a fuller profile. The skirt collar on the head is also bigger, so the skirts have less of a chance of sliding down.


  • 3/8 oz. | 5/0 hook
  • 1/2 oz. | 5/0 hook
  • 3/4 oz. | 6/0 hook
  • 1 oz. | 6/0 hook

4. The JackHammer

The JackHammer is the premium choice of the Chatterbait family, that comes with a much higher cost than the others. But even with the more expensive price tag it always seems to be sold out or on backorder everywhere you look. It was designed by Brett Hite and Japanese lure maker Evergreen International, and is made up of the best components out there.

Starting with the heavy-wire Gamakatsu flipping hook, which is by far the best hook on any Chatterbait but what’s weird is the size is not listed anywhere. It also comes with a Decoy Egg Snap, which is a high quality clip to connect your line to the blade with. Instead of a molded-in keeper like the other models, the Jackhammer has a double wire keeper.

The head is designed to have a lower center of gravity, with channel groove in it for blade protection. It of course has the 3-D eyes and a high quality air brushed paint like the other premium chatterbaits, but the blades are also painted to match the overall pattern of the bait. The skirt is also hand tied, so there is less of a chance of it slipping.

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  • 3/8 oz.
  • 1/2 oz.
  • 3/4 oz.
  • 1 – 1/4 oz.

5. The Freedom

Z-Man wanted to make a Chatterbait with the a swinging hook, and what better way than to partner with Freedom Tackle Company. Together, the were able to implement Freedom Tackles unique swinging hook design in to a Chatterbait, and the Freedom Chatterbait was born. They come with a 5/0 VMC hook but you can change it to whatever hook you want.

That’s the advantage of this design, you are able to switch out hooks and trailers on the fly. Freedom Tackles proprietary design makes it so easy that you can have a bunch of different trailers rigged and ready to interchange quickly on the water. The design also allows you to rig your trailers weedless, something you could never do with a Chatterbait.


  • 3/8 oz. | 5/0 hook
  • 1/2 oz. | 5/0 hook

6. The Mini

At only three inches long and made in only a quarter of an ounce, the Mini is the finesse version of the Chatterbait. Like with all finesse lures, these baits can be very effective in clear water or when bass are being finicky. Being smaller in size and effective in clear water makes them one of the best smallmouth lures you can use.


  • 1/4 oz.

7. The Micro

Also only three inches long but at only one eighth of an ounce, the Micro is the smallest member of the Chatterbait family. These are designed for fishing with micro lite tackle, mainly for targeting crappie and other small gamefish. Being probably the least popular version, it only comes in four colors


  • 1/8 oz.
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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>