The Chatterbait Breakdown

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The Chatterbait Breakdown

If there's one bait that's changed the way anglers have fished in recent years, it's the evolution of the chatterbait. A combination of a jig, a spinnerbait, and a crankbait morphed into one. Producing action and fishability that fish have not seen in the past. The chatterbait produced by Z-Man Fishing Products has a renowned reputation in the industry because of their innovation of the chatterbait and their ElaZtech soft plastics and history as one of the industries biggest silicone skirt suppliers. In 2006 the chatterbait began to take center stage in the fishing world as many local and professional tournament anglers started to reap the rewards of this new bait. From there, the rest is history. The chatterbait has changed and adapted to be utilized in all bodies of water. From largemouth, smallmouth to spotted bass and beyond. Now there is plenty of variety for every angler in all scenarios and at each price point. With such variety, what do they all do? What are the differences between them all? Below let's take a look at some of our favorites and break down the strengths and variety they're offered in.

 Original

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The original chatterbait is where it all began when a new idea combined a custom hex-shaped blade that had the flash of a spinnerbait and vibration of a crankbait with the profile of a jig. Built with a 5/0 heavy-duty hook and available in a variety of fish-catching colors. 

The combined qualities of the best fish-catching baits on the market have revolutionized how we fish. The original chatterbait is where it all began and since then has been the blueprint for bladed jigs across the market. The original is still widely loved for good reason because it has stood the test of time. The unique action and versatility allow this bait to excel in areas you throw your spinnerbait, crankbait or jig. This bait gives fish a new look and feel, making it a great place to start your chatterbait experience at an affordable fish catching price.

Elite 

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Built to improve upon the original chatterbait now with a longer custom 5/0 Gamakatsu hook, hand-tied silicone skirt, molded trailer keeper, and an upgraded thicker, more robust blade and line tie.

The original chatterbait proved to succeed in catching lots of fish and winning anglers lots of money. The elite was built to highlight features that improved on the previous model. Now more durable and longer-lasting than the original with its quality features. A versatile bait for all situations. From stained, dirty water for largemouth around cover to clearwater smallmouth burning it across a flat. The Elite does it all, from an affordable price point to its improved components, this bait was built to last.

 Project Z

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The Project Z was designed with similar great components of the original and elite chatterbait’s. Still featuring the same special blade but now with a swimbait style head, a 5/0 Mustad hook, more skirt colors, and an improved quick clip line tie.

The new head design allows this blade to swing more freely, creating its own unique hunting action that is more erratic than many other chatterbaits. With more wobble action, this bait can deflect off cover or snap through grass more aggressively. Paired with the right trailer provides a stout and bulky profile that correlates well with its action. As with every model of chatterbait, no action is alike. The Project Z brings something new to the table to dial in a bite. 

Project Z Weedless

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This Project Z Weedless Chatterbait features a swimbait style head, 5/0 Mustad hook, improved skirt colors, and blade with an improved quick clip line tie now with a heavy fiber weed guard.

The Project Z chatterbait just got better now with its weedless, snag-resistant ability. Offering the same great features with a heavy-duty weed guard makes this bait even more effective around cover. The weed guard provides extra protection and allows that bait to work its action effectively. Having the ability to fish this bait like a jig adds a new weapon to the arsenal. The original Project Z already performs well around cover, add a heavy-duty weed guard, and this bait is ready to go off the beaten path!

 Freedom

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A partnership between Zman and Freedom Tackle brings a chatterbait to the game we haven't seen before. Zman’s patented blade design with Freedom’s interchangeable swinging hook design. Comes standard with a 5/0 VMC long neck hook, custom head, and custom skirt designs.

The Chatterbait Freedom is so unique because of its ability to be customized. Freedom’s swinging hook design, allows a hook change to be made to suit the presentation you desire. Whether you need a weedless option, a heavier or lighter hook to adjust the action, there is plenty of room to use your imagination. With the free-swinging head, the action on this bait will be as unique as any other chatterbait and will vary based on the hook and trailer you add. And ideal chatterbait in and around heavy cover because of its natural weedless abilities with a swinging hook. The Chatterbait Freedom comes highly recommended if you are looking to adjust and tinker your bait to dial in just the right action and weight you need.

Freedom CFL

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Zman and Freedom Tackle again bring a unique chatterbait featuring Freedom’s interchangeable swing head design. Now with a zinc football head, VMC flipping hook, spider cut silicone skirts, molded trailer keeper, custom skirts and head designs with painted blades.

If you are looking for a chatterbait to fish in deeper water, look no further. The features of this bait are designed to be fished on the bottom, whether it be on  ledges, shell beds, rocks, or brush. A swinging football head design allows this bait to stay down, giving you more contact with the bottom during your retrieve. The zinc head is a harder material than lead creating a unique sound as the blade bounces off the head. The interchangeable hook design gives you the ability to choose the hook you want. Think of this bait where you might through a football jig, a swing head, or a crankbait you'll be surprised at its versatility. 

CrossEyez

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Modeled after the ZMan CrossEyeZ Jig series now as a weedless chatterbait. Improved components and professional design by angler David Walker. A custom 5/0 O’Shaughnessy hook, dual-coated adjustable weed guards, lead and wire trailer keeper, hand-tied skirts, and featuring a custom stainless-steel blade.

The CrossEyeZ chatterbait focuses on the weedless durability and compact size to separates it from others. An adaptation to many other features of prior chatterbaits but in a compact package. Think of throwing this bait where you might throw a jig around cover. A bait that provides vibration and hunting action as you swim it in and around cover. Hoping this bait off the bottom around cover as well is a sneaky trick that will get you bites. Optimal when fishing wood, docks, rocks, and grass because of its ability to deflect and avoid snags.

Jack Hammer

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Designed in conjunction with Pro angler Brett Hite and Evergreen International, teaming up to create one of the most effective and popular chatterbaits on the market. Built with high-end components such as a stainless-steel blade, a custom 5/0 Gamakatsu heavy wire flipping hook, upgraded stainless steel snap, premium hand-tied silicone rubber skirts, color-matched and detailed head designs, painted blades, double wire bait keeper, 3d eyes, and labeled weight size on the head of the bait.

Aside from the high-end components, many features make this bait superior. A channeled groove at the head allows the blade to have a low center of gravity. This prevents the blade from dropping out of the eyelet while letting it sit low enough to strike the head on each side to create a unique chattering sound and quicker vibration. This bait's unique sound and hunting action is unlike anything else on the market, as the blade vibration begins sooner upon your retrieve. Meaning it allows you to start and stop the bait without it missing a beat and without sacrificing the action. This bait recovers exceptionally well when snapped out of grass. The flat head design allows this bait to be skipped easily and provides the durability to be fished aggressively due to its quality components. Coming in at a higher price point for good reason, you won't find another bait similar with the quality and fish catching abilities!

Jack Hammer StealthBlade

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From the design of pro angler Brett Hite, the StealthBlade is built with subtlety in mind while maintaining many similarities and high-end components the original Jack Hammer offers. A custom-built clear polycarbonate blade, specialized oval split ring line tie, custom 4/0 light wire Decoy fluorine-coated hook, hand-tied silicone skirts, dual wire keeper, and custom head design.

Sharing the same core qualities as the original Jack Hammer but with a smaller profile to fit its stealthy nature. While still featuring the beloved hunting action, the clear polycarbonate blade and oval split ring create a channeled groove that gives the bait a low center of gravity, which provides its unique and subtle vibration. A low-profile bait with a smaller clear blade, thinner skirt material, and light hook is ideal when faced with pressured fish, clear or cold water, or any finesse fishing scenario. Finding the right trailer to balance out its smaller profile and softer action is key to this bait.

Big Blade

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Designed by one of the Godfathers of the chatterbait, pro angler Bryan Thrift. The staple features from original chatterbait are in mind with advanced hardware and a bigger profile. Now with an XL ChatterBlade, 6/0 Mustad hook, dual molded bait keeper, hand-tied skirts and nine custom color skirts with matching heads.

The Big Blade chatterbait thumps harder, displaces more water creating more vibration and erratic action. Think of this bait where you might slow roll a spinnerbait in dirty/stained water conditions. Also, out deep when around a school of fish when you want to move water and garnish attention. Matching the profile of bigger baitfish and targeting bigger fish is where this chatterbait excels. It'll be tough to ignore the amount of vibration and action this bait brings during your retrieve. 

Mini Max

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Everything you love about a chatterbait is now built in a compact yet durable size. Zman patented head-to-blade connection with a downsized ChatterBlade, heavy-duty 2/0 hook, hand-tied skirt, dual molded bait keeper.

The Mini Max is the compact chatterbait you want and need in your tackle box. Smaller than the CrossEyeZ, and a similar profile to the Elite. Still offered in your most common sizes but in a stout, compact package. Ideal when you want to downsize but you don't want to lose the performance from a standard size chatterbait. A slightly subtler vibration that is balanced and made to last. A killer bait when fish are keyed into smaller baitfish. When the pressure is on and you need to downsize this is the chatterbait you want. 

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  • Stan Miketa