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Best Chatterbaits & Trailers for Bass Fishing

By: Nick | Updated: December 16, 2023

Chatterbaits and one of the most popular lures in bass fishing. New lures and trailers continue to get released its hard to keep up with what the best options are. Below I’ll share the chatterbaits that standout to me that you should consider adding to your line up. When it comes to trailers, there again are countless options. I’ve narrowed it down to just a handful of trailers and my favorite sizes, weights, and colors for each.

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Best Chatterbaits

 1. Z-Man Jackhammer

Largemouth bass caught with a jackhammer chatterbait

You cant talk about chatterbaits without starting with the Jackhammer. It’s hands down the best chatterbait on the market. Its built with high end components, a super strong 5/0 gamatatsu hook, double wire keeper, and a very solid head design. The skirt is thin and flows extremely well. The blade is heavy and painted to match the head and skirt.

The best thing about the Jackhammer is the blade is directly connected to the jig. This allows it to start wobbling faster than other designs.

It’s much more expensive than other chatterbaits but your getting the top of the line chatterbait. This bait has won countless tournaments and caught a ton of giant bass.

Best Jackhammer colors: Green Pumpkin Shad, Spot Remover, Bhite Delight

Z-man Jack Hammer

Hook Size - 5/0

Hoot Type - Heavy Wire Gamakatsu

Trailer Keeper - Double Wire

Skirt Wrap - Hand Tied

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 2. Z-Man Jackhammer Stealth Blade

The Stealth Blade Jackhammer is similar to the original Jackhammer except it has a clear, slightly smaller blade. The clear blade creates a slightly different vibration that isn’t quite as aggressive. It has a tighter action that is more of a balance between a chatterbait and a swim jig.

The blade starts up quickly and has the same excellent build quality. I use it in situations where I would want a finesse-style jackhammer. It works great in clear water or over pressured lakes where bass are seeing Jackhammers all the time. If the jackhammer bite isn’t catching them, try a stealth blade.

Best Jackhammer Stealth colors: Clear Water Shad, Green Pumpkin Shad, Spot Remover

Z-Man Jackhammer Stealthblade

Hook Size - 5/0

Hoot Type - Custom Decoy fluorine coated hook

Trailer Keeper - Double Wire

Skirt Wrap - Hand Tied

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3. Z-Man Mini Max

The Mini Max is a downsized chatterbait with built premium components. The blade is about half the size of the Jackhammer. This allows the blade to vibrate much faster and tighter which creates a higher pitch vibration.

It has a smaller 2/0 hook that is heavy duty and strong enough to handle giant bass.

The Mini Max is perfect for the fall and smaller fisheries.

Best Mini Max Colors: Gizzard Shad, Spot Remover

Z-Man Mini Max

Hook Size - 2/0

Hoot Type - Heavy-duty black nickel hook

Trailer Keeper - Dual-Molded Lead Barb

Skirt Wrap - Wire Tied

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4. Z-Man Custom

The Z Man Custom is from the same makers as the Jackhammer. It comes with a smaller 4/0 hook and only has one wire keeper instead of two on the Jackhammer.

The custom is the best bang for your buck chatterbait. It’s about a third of the price and only a slight decrease in quality. They are perfect for trying out a chatterbait for the first time or the seasoned vet who doesn’t need the absolute best.

Custom’s are only available at Tackle Warehouse so unfortunately you won’t be able to find them at your local tackle shop. They are well worth the short shipping wait over their competitors though.

Best Z-Man Custom colors: Threadfin Shad, Green Pumpkin, Bhite Delight

How to Choose the Right Chatterbait

The key thing to look for in a chatterbait is how quickly the blade starts to vibrate. The faster the blade starts the better. Ideally you want the blade to start up within the first handle turn of your reel.

For this reason, I avoid all chatterbaits that use a double-slit ring connection between the blade and the jig. Blades that are directly connected to the jig startup much faster than other connection methods. If your chatterbait takes 4 or 5 handle turns before it starts vibrating then you are missing out on fish.

If you cast to a piece of cover and make 4 or 5 reel turns then your lure is already a couple of feet away from your target before it functions properly. The bass sitting on the cover would never see the action you are paying for.

With bladed jigs there a few factors that separate the good from bad lures. The first is the quality of and strength of it’s hardware. Chatterbaits catch big fish, you need the blade, split rings, and hook to not bend out and lose the fish. The other key to a quality is how quickly the blade starts up. You want a blade that starts to vibrate as soon as you start to reel in.

When fishing a chatterbait you will mostly be casting to a target. You want the blade to start wobbling right on target. The longer it takes to start up, the further away your lure is away from the strike zone.

Chatterbait Sizes by Depth

Chatterbait SizeDepth
1/4 oz2-3ft
3/8 oz4-5ft
1/2 oz6-7ft
3/4 oz8-10ft

Best Trailers for Chatterbaits

By choosing the right trailer you can further enhance your lure’s appeal. Adding a trailer increases the bait’s bulk, movement, and vibration.

Craw Style Chatterbait Trailers:

  • Yamamoto Cowboy – Has Huge double tail grub-style claws that produce a ton of movement and flow when going through water. It is great for slow-rolling along the bottom. It is the perfect trailer for adding some bulk and drawing in big bites.
  • Strike King Rage Tail Craw or Rage Tail Chunk – Both produce a ton of tail movement and pair perfectly with a chatterbait. They are great when you need a smaller profile craw trailer.

Swimbait Style Chatterbait Trailers:

  • Yamamoto Zanko – This bait was specifically designed to be a chatterbait trailer. Its tail produces a very tight and subtle kick while the riveted body gives the mid-section a lot of movement. These two different actions in the trailer allow it to pair perfectly with chatterbaits.
  • Keitech Fat Impact – Very popular swimbait trailer that is used with many other styles of fishing. When using a keitech as a chatterbait trailer you do need to rig it differently or make a slight modification. The first and simplest option is to rig it upside down. The reason you want to rig it upside down is because chatterbait blades displace a lot of water above the bait which kills that tail action of a keitech when rigged normally. By flipping it you are allowing the paddle tail to get the resistance it needs to produce great secondary action. The second option is to cut the paddle off the tail and rig it the right side up. Cutting the paddle tail off leaves you with a small sliver of a tail that will produce a tight fast swim action. With one of these changes, you will see much better results when used on a chatterbait.
  • HogFarmer Spunk Shad – This bait has a very different action than the previously mentioned trailers. It has a tiny pointed tail that gives it a shimmy and shake action that pairs perfectly with a chatterbait.

Best Colors for Chatterbait and Trailer

The best chatterbait color is green pumpkin shad. It has a dull color blade, with a light color skirt and a little green pumpkin. It’s a super natural color that works anywhere. You can pair it with a darker trailer to go for a buegil presentation or you can use a lighter trailers and mimic a shad profile.

best colors for chatterbaits will depend on the trailer you use. For craw style trailers natural colors work best, look for black and browns, green pumpkin, black and blues.

For swimbait trailers match the hatch with shad or bluegill colors. The same jigs or worms colors you have had success with in the past will also work for chatterbaits.

In stained or dirty water, black and blue or chartreuse colors are reliable options. Remember, the goal is to match the color, shape, and movement of the bait fish in your body of water.

Selecting Chatterbait Trailers

When it comes to chatterbait trailers, the possibilities are endless. A trailer will allow you to optimize your chatterbait for the way you will be fishing it. Both swimbaits and craws make great chatterbait trailers.

  • Craw trailers are better for hopping bottom
  • Swimbait trailers are better when fishing mid-column.

The most important thing about picking out a chatterbait trailer is matching the trailer’s action to the speed of the blade’s vibration. You don’t want a fast-moving blade and a slow-action trailer or vice versa.

When a trailer and blade are going separate speeds it throws the overall presentation completely off. You need the trailer and blade going at the same speed to be effective.

Recommended Rod & Reel

Rod Type


Rod Length

7’2″ – 7’5″

Rod Action

Moderate-Fast, Fast

Rod Power


Final Thoughts

If you are going to fish a chatterbait and you can afford it, buy a Jackhammer. It is without a doubt is the best and most consistent chatterbait on the market.

If the Jackhammer is out of your price range then the Custom is a great option from the same company. I have tried other brands but after losing them I never replace them simply because they just don’t compare to what Z-Man is putting out.

To learn when or how to fish chatterbait, check out our complete guide to chatterbait fishing.