Inevitably, every bait wears out its welcome at some point. But rather than completely shifting to another scenario, chatterbait anglers can often extend their bite — and adapt to changing conditions — by pairing their bladed package with the similar, yet more-subtle swim jig.
Bassmaster Elite Series and FLW Tour pro Brett Hite, one of the most-accomplished chatterbait anglers, has won several national events with bladed swim jigs.
These days, Hite’s main tournament tool is a 3/8-ounce Z-Man ChatterBait Elite. Sporting a stout 5/0 Gamakatsu hook that’ll handle the biggest of toads, the bait features an EZ Skirt with a low-profile hub and a molded trailer keeper that holds Hite’s 4 ½-inch Yamamoto Swimming Senko in place.
As for trailer colors, Hite keeps it simple. During mornings and cloudy periods, he’ll throw black/blue and switch to green pumpkin for brighter hours. With the latter, he enhances the tail with chartreuse dye.
“Any baitfish usually has a little lighter tail, whether it’s a bluegill or even a shiner,” he said. “It has a little contrast on the tail.
“I don’t know if it makes a difference, but it looks good to me.”
Strategically, Hite backs up his ChatterBait with a swim jig, also fitted with Swimming Senkos. The strategy, he said, is twofold.
“I like using that swim jig after I go through an area where I catch maybe two to four (fish) on the ChatterBait and then go back through there,” Hite said. “That swim jig is just like a finesse ChatterBait for me. It doesn’t make all the vibration, but it has that same action. It’s just a little more subtle.
“I also use the swim jig when it gets glassy and we have high, bright skies. The fish seem like they don’t want the heavy vibration that the Chatterait makes. Or if I roll through an area and they get wise to the ChatterBait after I catch a couple, I’ll switch it up with a one-two combo of ChatterBait and swim jig.”
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