Picking the Right ChatterBait Trailer

Picking the Right ChatterBait Trailer

ChatterBaits are among some of the most versatile and effective fish catchers ever created. These baits can be fished in open water or around cover, in clear water or muddy and throughout all four seasons. As effective and versatile as these baits are on their own however, the right trailer selection can make them even more so. Let’s take a look at some of the common trailer options, how they differ and in what settings each works best. 

Swimbait -

Swimbait-style trailers, like a soft-plastic MISSILE Baits Shockwave or Z-Man MinnowZ, add to the profile of a ChatterBait, while also adding a little action to the rear of the bait. This type of trailer works best when fishing in clear water and/or down in dense vegetation. In clear water, you rarely want a big flapping craw-style trailer on the back of a ChatterBait, unless you’re trying to keep the bait high in the water column— but we’ll talk more about that in a minute. 

Instead, you want the more subtle action that a swimbait trailer has when fishing in clear water. These trailers also offer less resistance than a craw, thus allowing you to fish the bait deeper in the water column at the same rate of retrieve. This is particularly important if you’re fishing through submerged vegetation and want to let your bait get down in the grass. And the straighter swimbait trailer also catches on the vegetation less, allowing it to come through cover cleaner. 


Craw - 

Craw-style trailers like a Strike King Menace Grub or Rapala Crush City Cleanup Craw are great in cold and/or muddy water when you want to slow your bait down, as well as when wanting to keep your bait higher in the water column. Because a craw creates more resistance than a swimbait, it allows you to fish the the same ChatterBait slower than you can with a swimbait trailer. This makes a white craw trailer on the back of a white ChatterBait a great selection for stained to muddy water. 

Since craws spread out side-to-side as well (like the wings of a plane) craw-style trailers create more lift and help a bait ride over cover better. This makes craws the best selection when fishing around wood, to make a ChatterBait more weedless. But even more so, a wide craw trailer will keep the bait from bogging down in the grass when fishing over top of thick, submerged vegetation.


Split-tails, soft-plastic jerkbaits and grubs - 

A wide variety of soft plastic baits can serve as ChatterBait trailers. Split-tails, soft-plastic jerkbaits and grubs are among other good selections. All of these baits will allow a ChatterBait to get lower in the water column than a craw, some even offer lest resistance than a swimbait. 

Soft-plastic jerkbaits like the Z-Man ChatterSpike or Z-Man StreakZ work great when wanting to fish a ChatterBait even deeper in the water column, or faster. A soft plastic jerkbait is also a great selection in more pressured or super clear water situations, since it has a tighter action and thinner profile than a swimbait even. 

Split-tail trailers, like the aptly named Z-Man ElaZtech Split Tail TrailerZ, work really well when wanting to skip a ChatterBait. This trailer folds easily and creates very little drag on the water’s surface, allowing the bait as a whole to skip near effortlessly. Because this bait is made of ElaZtech, like all Z-Man soft plastics, it’s also super durable despite its thin profile. 

Grubs, like a Zoom Fat Albert, also work well on the back of a ChatterBait, offering a different look, as the usually soft-flowing, ribbon tail is sent kicking by the vibration of a ChatterBait. 


All of these soft plastics are great options to play around with when sampling trailers for the back of a ChatterBait. Remember, though you could pick one of these trailer options and certainly catch some fish in most situations, each trailer has specific characteristics that make it ideal for particular situations. Learning which works best when will make you a better and more effective angler over time. 

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