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Image of a sport fisherman holding a bass with a ChatterBait in its mouth

Z-Man ChatterBaits

By Discount Tackle Staff

A ChatterBait (aka vibrating jig or bladed jig) refers to a skirted swim jig featuring a blade and a hook made by Z-Man Fishing. The blade hits against the lead, tungsten, or zinc head of the jig and in combination with the color schemes and swimming action, creates an alluring combination of vibration, colors, sounds, and motions, fishing enthusiasts can use to reliably attract and catch fish!

All told, the hex-shaped blade hitting against the jig head that produces the characteristic clicking (or "chattering") is the most defining feature of the ChatterBait. Such incredible characteristics and features make these fishing lures famous for successful fishing in stained, muddy, low-visibility waters, where fish use their lateral lines to track movements via sound waves and vibration. They also be used a search baits, quickly covering large swaths of water of any clarity level in order to suss out where fish are hiding.

Nothing beats the thrill of fishing and catching lunker-sized smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, spotted bass, walleye, trout, panfish, redfish, pike and more with a ChatterBait. Regardless of the type of fish, you are trying to capture, using Z-Man ChatterBaits can guarantee an exciting fishing trip.

In this post, we will review some of the most popular Z-Man ChatterBaits, with varying specs and features. We will also offer a few tips to help you get the most out of fishing your ChatterBaits for the most common game fish species anglers target with these bait, like freshwater largemouth, smallmouth, or spotted bass and inshore saltwater targets like redfish (aka red drum), striped bass, and speckled sea trout. 

Popular Z-Man ChatterBaits

Let’s start with a brief review of fifteen premium-quality ChatterBait products from Z-Man.

1. Z-Man Original ChatterBait
The Original ChatterBait enjoys incredible popularity, thanks to its trademark hex-shaped blade and groundbreaking original, patented design. The Original swim jig delivers unmatched action and vibration for providing an all-in-one fish-slaying package. The Z-Man Original is widely prevalent among seasoned and amateur anglers.

2. Z-Man Original ChatterBait Elite
The Z-Man Elite takes inspiration from the Original but offers much more for guaranteeing top-performances in recreational fishing tournaments. With its elaborate head paint scheme, 5/0 Gamakatsu hook, copper wire hand-tied silicone skirt, and a robust quick clip line tie, the Elite is a crucial fishing lure that you must have to offer an irresistible presentation to your catch.

3. Z-Man Evergreen Jackhammer ChatterBait
The Evergreen Jackhammer ChatterBait ranks among the most refined, sophisticated, and well-crafted vibrating swim jigs to ever hit the fishing industry. 

With its rugged and super-thin stainless steel blade and low center of gravity head, the ChatterBait vibrates in a side-to-side and erratic motion. The unique design allows it to skip beneath docks and overhanging trees, while the strength of the premium components ensures you never lose a fish to tackle failure.

4. Z-Man Jackhammer ChatterBait Stealth Blade
The fabulous JackHammer StealthBlade is a revolutionary addition to the bladed jig collection from Z-Man. The polycarbonate blade is the driving force behind this ChatterBait, which produces a unique vibration and sound. However, it begins thumping like its predecessor, with the first half-turn of the reef handle. Equipped with a custom Decoy fluorine nanocoated hook, the ChatterBait requires less hook-setting effort and can penetrate the jaws of the bass. The StealthBlade's fish-shaped head tracks and low center of gravity guarantee excellent results.

5. Z-Man CrossEyeZ ChatterBait
The CrossEyeZ is the mutual creation of fishing ace David Walker, and Z-Man pro, featuring a 5/0 O'Shaughnessy hook bolsters hookup. A v-shaped and coated multi-strand wire weed guard guarantees optimal snag resistance around grass and wood.

Thanks to molded lead and wire spikes, the dual trailer keeper provides ultimate trailer security. The ChatterBait is durable, and the unique design reduces fouling by offering bold and robust vibration.

6. Z-Man ChatterBait Freedom CFL
The Freedom CFL offers incredible durability and impressive vibration. Even on the fastest retrieves, the jig stays down. It makes maximum bottom contact on slow dragging retrieves. Plus, it features a heavy-duty VMC flipping hook, a custom trailer keeper, and a spider-cut skirt to improve its fish-catching capabilities.

7. Z-Man Project Z ChatterBait
Avid anglers love the exclusive Project Z ChatterBait because it takes the world-famous fish-catching performance of The Original to the next level. The bladed swim jig offers incredible versatility and boasts a streamlined head design for allowing the blade to swing freely, creating more vibration. Whether you are employing a more methodical stop-and-go retrieve or ripping the bait through grass, the upgraded components of this ChatterBait promise an unmatched performance.

8. Z-Man ChatterBait Freedom
Freedom makes its way where no other bladed jig can reach. The bait impresses with its m jig design advanced interchangeable hook design, and the bladed swim jog makes room for efficient weedless rigging with an extensive range of soft plastic trailers. Thanks to its swinging hook design, the ChatterBait offers excellent motion. You can customize the bait, like other Freedom products, according to your desired fishing scenarios.

9. Z-Man Project Z Weedless ChatterBait
The tournament-winning design of this model with upgrade features makes the Project Z Weedless a must-have addition to your fishing gear. The product features a strong fiber weedguard for preventing fouling and snagging around docks, brush, grass, wood, and laydowns. Other components include super strong line ties, 5/0 Mustad UltraPoint hooks, 3D eyes, and stainless blades for adding more versatility to its features.

10. Z-Man ChatterBait Mini
The down-sized ChatterBait Mini offers the same vibration and action as the Original. The smaller blade makes it an excellent fishing gear accessory for clear-water fishing.

11. Z-Man ChatterBait Micro
Don’t underestimate the performance of the ChatterBait Micro because of its compact size. The Micro delivers the same vibration and action as other products from Z-Man. However, its specs and features make it an excellent addition for ponds or crappie fishing.

12. Z-Man ChatterBait FlashBack Mini
The FlashBack Mini features a holographic soft plastic minnow body and creates unique bait for catching bass, trout, panfish, and more. The baits deliver an exaggerated side-to-side motion on retrieval, and the distinctive vibration makes it irresistible to gamefish.

13. Z-Man DieZel ChatterBait
The Diezel model works excellent for saltwater fishing and features a robust 4/0 Mustad hook for adding more versatility to its performance. A robust Fastach clip and a stamped stainless bait keeper make it a great ChatterBait for crushing the jaws of snook, redfish, stripers, flounder, and more.

14. Z-Man ChatterBait WillowVibe
The WillowVibe connects an aspirin-shaped jighead with a stainless steel willow leaf-shaped blade. The result is a rapid-fire and intense vibration, perfect for targeting schooling fish. Its unique components, including 3D eyes and a sharp 2/0 black nickel hook, rank among the most effective ChatterBaits available on the market. It’s ideal for small swimbaits, scrounger-style heads, and spotted/striped bass, and other saltwater species.

15. Z-Man Eye Strike Skirtless ChatterBait
The fabulous Eye Strike Skirtless bladed swim jig is just what you need to attract saltwater species and bass. With its exclusive design and incredible features, such as the oversized eye jighead design coupled with the brand’s hex-shaped chatterblade, the ChatterBait can take your fishing passion to another level.

The Success of ChatterBaits in Tournaments

After several tournament successes, the ChatterBait hit the bass fishing scene in 2006 and became a hugely-popular bass lure. The unique hex-shaped chatterblade and the patented design, along with its vibration, sound, and action, make ChatterBaits a crucial component of every tournament.

The Original ChatterBait became so popular that it would disappear off the shelves as soon as it arrived. Today, many variations and upgrades of the Original help anglers enjoy exciting fishing seasons and tournaments. As bladed swim jigs' design continues to improve over time, anglers are sure to get more out of these fantastic fishing baits.

Unlike other hot lures that rise to popularity following a tournament success but quickly vanish from the scene, the ChatterBait bladed jig is now a staple for tournament anglers.

Tips for Using ChatterBaits

The ChatterBait offers plenty of vibration and action. However, you can add more buoyancy, bulk, and action for attracting bass with a plastic trailer connected to the bladed jig. In addition to that, you can add more color by choosing a contrasting hue for your plastic trailer.

The choice of blade colors greatly matters for getting the most out of your ChatterBait. Seasoned anglers recommend choosing chrome in clear and sunny conditions, green or black for imitating crawfish, and gold for fishing in dirty water.

Mistakes to Avoid when Using ChatterBaits

Don’t Use Overly-Stiff Rods
If you use a rod that is too stiff, then your hookup ratio will suffer. Going for a softer rod will help the fish get the bait better.

Overlooking the Trailer Size

Trailers play a crucial role because they affect how deep your lure swims in the water. When you are fishing around submerged grass or docks, you would like to keep the bait high in the water column. Use a bulkier or a boot-tail plastic to keep it high up. You can also choose a slimmer plastic because it has less resistance.

Don’t Reel Too Fast

When it comes to using ChatterBaits, faster reeling does not help. That’s because it will mess the lure’s action. The ChatterBait does all the action itself and offers an erratic motion. So you don’t have to reel the bait fast to ensure it works well. A slower reel will help you catch more fish.

Final Thoughts

If you are on a budget, the Z-Man Original ChatterBait is still the top choice for seasoned and amateur anglers. The model underwent quite a few design upgrades in the last couple of years. The JackHammer is also a valuable addition to your gear because it has a great hook and goes through the grass well. In comparison, Project Z ChatterBait works best for super shallow waters. However, you can also choose other products from the brand that does an excellent job attracting bass, trout, salmon, and just about any fish.

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