How to Rig the Z-Man Willowvibe Chatterbait

How to Rig the Z-Man Willowvibe Chatterbait


The Z-Man Willowvibe is a favorite from the February Regional Pro series box, and that's because it is a certified fish catcher! The Willowvibe is one of the most versatile ChatterBaits, and moving baits in general, on the market. We break down how different situations can call for different trailers on the Willowvibe. Whether it be a swimbait, creature bait, or finesse fluke, there are many different trailers that get bit on the Willowvibe. Check this video out for more tips, especially if you'll be fishing docks and ponds this spring...

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Video transcript:

Speaker 1:
What's up, guys? And welcome to today's video, where I'm going to talk to you about a deadly effective alternative to a Chatterbait.

Speaker 1:
All right, guys. So unless you've been living under a rock, you know that a Chatterbait is one of the most effective baits out there. But there are times when the Chatterbait bite tapers off, especially when you're coming off of your primary feeding times, or before you're leading into your primary feeding times, or when the water's super cold, or when the water's super hot. So I'm going to talk to you today about putting these dudes down and picking up something new from Z-Man that has been deadly effective for me.

Speaker 1:
All right, so that new offering from Z-Man is called the WillowVibe. Now, I'm going to explain this as a Finesse Chatterbait. And for those of you that know me, you know that I would rather rip my fingernails off with pliers, dip it in alcohol, and rub it around in salt, than fish a true Finesse presentation. So when I need to slow down to catch fish, figuring out a way to not fish a straight-up Finesse presentation and still be able to catch numbers of fish and quality fish, is something I'm always looking for. And this guy right here is the answer to that problem.

Speaker 1:
So what I mean by that is when the WillowVibe is paired with Z-Man's Elaztech Plastics, you can scoot this thing along the bottom. But when you stop it because of the buoyancy of the bait, it stands up, and you can fish it like a Finesse presentation. In fact, you can almost think of this bait as the combination of a Shaky Head and a Scrounger, kind of rolled into one bait. You can vibrate this thing along the bottom. You can swim it. You can grind this thing along the bottom. You can hop and pop it. You can scoot it. You can steady-reel it. But where it really shines is when that dock bite really starts to take off, because this thing skips way better than any other Chatterbait out there. And when you've got those small, young-of-the-year bait fish that are really moving up, this thing right here just seems to excel.

Speaker 1:
Now, I did a lot of fishing with this thing when it first came out, and I paired it with the Finesse Shads from Z-Man. And that Finesse Shad was a perfect pairing, but a lot of times, I wanted to fish it on the bottom. I wanted to fish it a little bit slower. And you can't argue with the success of a Ned Rig. So what I did is I paired it up with one of these Ticklers, and man, my success rate, especially on a little bit bigger fish, went through the roof. It's not to say that this bait with the Finesse Shad doesn't catch big fish; I just haven't caught as big a fish on it as I caught with a Tickler.

Speaker 1:
So if you take these TRD Ticklers and you rig it just like you would a bait fish-style presentation, the cool thing about this is, when you're dragging along the bottom, when you're scooting it along, you get that little bit of extra action from those Ticklers. It displaces a little bit more water when you're moving it on a steady retrieve, and it looks like a mud minnow or other forage that isn't in that shiner, minnow, or shad family. And it just gives them a little bit something different. If I'm fishing over grass, for example, and it's a light-colored hydrilla or milfoil, and I want something a little bit darker to stick out, that thing right there is deadly.

Speaker 1:
When they move up on sandy bottoms, because that sand is reflecting the sun, and that sand is white to a orange-white color, especially down here in the South, that darker color contrast sticks out really well, and you catch a lot of fish on it.

Speaker 1:
But let me show you a quick modification that I also really like to do to this thing, and it's way more effective than I thought it would be. And I actually came up with it on accident. I was out fishing. I wanted to throw the WillowVibe, because they were schooling on small bait fish. They were scattering them everywhere, and I needed to catch a few fish. So they were schooling on smaller bait fish, and I had thrown a Jerkbait. I'd thrown a couple of other things, and I was having moderate success, and I remembered that I had the WillowVibes with me. But I forgot to bring the Finesse Shads, and I forgot to bring the Tickler, so I just happened to have some regular, old-fashioned TRDs on there. And just for the sake of comparison, this is your TRD Finesse. So what I like to do is split the difference between those two and cut it off, by just simply using some scissors and then rigging it onto the WillowVibe. Let me show you what I'm talking about.

Speaker 1:
So what I like to do is take my standard WillowVibe head. I like to use a little bit heavier head when I'm doing this, because this is more of a deep water presentation. This, in particular, happens to be a half-ounce. And so you've got your standard TRD Finesse, and you've got your standard TRD. So what I like to do is split the difference and trim that thing down, where it's about half-way between the two sizes. You don't have to be real specific about it, but I just take a pair of braid scissors, and I trim that dude off just so. And then all I'm going to do is rig this on there, just like I would any other tail. Just like so. I'm going to push it up there. You're going to get a good bite on it, and you're going to pull it back off, so you can get it nice and set up for success.

Speaker 1:
So guys, there you have it, if you're looking for a bait to add a little bit more consistency to your fish catches, especially when the fish aren't feeding very heavily. If you're wanting something that you can combine power and finesse, check out the WillowVibe from the folks at Z-Man. Pair it up with a Finesse Shad. Pair it up with a TRD Tickler. Or pair it up with your standard TRD. Downsize it a little bit. Leave it full size. Experiment. But this thing right here flat catches fish.

Speaker 1:
Whether you're looking for numbers, you want to catch big fish, knock out that tournament limit out of the gate, get a kid or a new angler interested in fishing, and still fish a bait that has real big fish potential, be sure to check out the WillowVibe. Experiment with your rigging on the different type of Elaztech tails, and I promise you: This thing will put fish in the boat for you.

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