In South Texas, the ChatterBait is king right now according to MONSTERBASS Ambassador Drew Cox. He and fishing partner Joey Miller rely heavily on a vibrating jig throughout much of the year, the fall in particular.
“We absolutely kill them this time of year on a ChatterBait,” said Cox. “The biggest bass we’ve had this fall is just over 7-pounds. Last year we had two 8s and a 9 in the same day. All on a ChatterBait.”
There’s a particular vibrating jig of choice for the duo, the Z-Man Jackhammer.
“We really like to fish a Z-Man Jackhammer, more in the natural colors like silver, grey and pearl. That matches most of the forage right now, because most of the bass are keying in on the smaller gizzard shad and the threadfin.”
Though there are numerous baits that mimic shad well, the vibrating jig reigns supreme simply because it outperforms all others according to Cox.
“The proof is in the pudding. You can watch them blowup on top and you can throw a Spook or a Whopper Plopper all day long, and you’ll catch maybe 3 or 4 fish. The moment you throw a ChatterBait out there that actually looks like the small little minnows and shad they’re chasing and you get it just below the water’s surface, it’s on fire.”
Cox will vary his retrieve depending on how the bass are positioned in the water column.
“If we see that they're actively hitting the surface and pushing baitfish up towards the surface, we will increase the speed a little bit to make sure that bait stays a little higher in the water column.”
If the bass aren’t along the surface, Cox employs more of a slow roll approach, bumping the bait on the bottom.
“It’s a somewhat slow, methodical, easy going retrieve. Just enough to make that blade kick, bumping it along the bottom. The bottom could be 3-feet, the bottom could be 6-feet.”
Whether easing the bait along the bottom, or fishing it just below the surface, Cox likes to incorporate a little extra action intermittently.
“We give a couple little fast cranks of the handle just to make it standout or look like a fleeing shad. Or just pop the tip of the rod one or two times, and then let it go back to the steady retrieve. A lot of times, as soon as we make those erratic changes, that’s when we get a bite.”
The water clarity in south Texas suits a vibrating jig well, making it an easy selection for Cox.
“Down here, clear water is hard to find. You might get two to three feet of visibility on a good day. Most of the stuff we’re fishing though, we’re in that 6-inches to maybe a foot of clarity. It’s pretty stained up water.”
“I think that’s why the ChatterBait is so good right now. They can feel that thump amongst all the other baits.”
Over the last month, the ChatterBait has produced multiple 40 fish weekends for Cox and Miller. The conditions have been favorable for the more aggressive action this lure offers.
“Right now, as the weather is really changing and those fronts are a little bit bigger, a lot of times we’re keying on a windblown points, primary or secondary, and at the same time we’re really keying in on fishing a falling barometer.”
“On top of that, if you can find any moving water with current. It’s another bonus for us. And of course, early morning and in the afternoon, we hit a lot of those shallow flats that are adjacent to deeper water. A lot of the bass that are schooling are going to push those baitfish up onto that big flat and have a buffet.”
For the duo of Drew Cox and Joey Miller (aka JD Fishing Adventures), the vibrating jig is irreplaceable in the fall. If you have a little stain in your water and a similar type of forage for the bas to feed on, perhaps you should give a ChatterBait a try too. Cox believes you’ll be glad you did.