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The Hottest Bait on the Bass Circuits?

Industry News| Views: 1012

LADSON, SC  – Bassmaster Elite Series angler Brett Hite calls it ‘the Ferrari of bladed bass jigs.’ It’s a statement that’s hard to dispute when you consider the Phoenix, Arizona based bass fishing pro has won over a million dollars on bladed jigs. 

Within the past month alone, the ChatterBait JackHammer vibrating jig has chalked up a pile of cash and two major tournament wins on the BASS and FLW circuits. You begin to understand why so many top anglers today brandish the radical bait — the fruits of a two-and-a-half year, collaborative project between Hite, Z-Man Fishing and influential Japanese luremaker, EverGreen International.

Previously available in 3/8- and ½-ounce sizes, Z-Man will release a new ¾-ounce size ChatterBait JackHammer, just in time for the 2018 Bassmaster Classic.

“Everything about the ChatterBait JackHammer is high-level and ultra-refined,” says Hite. “It took us a full year, for example, just to perfect a process for applying detailed paint finishes to the bait’s stainless steel, hex shaped ChatterBlade®. This is a super-tuned, efficient bladed jig that starts vibrating with the very first turn of the reel handle.”

Hite adds that the bait also features a flat-bottom, low-center-of-gravity head with a specialized channel groove for blade protection. “We insisted on the sharpest Gamakatsu® heavy wire flipping hook available. The premium silicone skirt is hand-tied and color-matched to the jighead and blade. And a double-wire trailer keeper locks soft plastics tight to the jighead. Even the line-tie is tricked-out — a high-grade Decoy® Egg Snap. Like I said, Ferrari,” Hite laughs.

Fresh off a Bass Pro Shops Central Open win on Ross Barnett Reservoir, Bassmaster Elite Series angler Stephen Browning was singing the bait’s praises. “I boated almost every bass on a pair of ChatterBait JackHammer bladed jigs,” he said. “I tied up a black/blue bait with a matching Z-Man DieZel MinnowZ during the darker morning hours, and followed it up with a solid white ChatterBait and white Razor ShadZ trailer in the afternoon. I felt the DieZel vibrated differently than the RaZor, and gave the bait more loft, which was key in dingier water.”

Browning also noted that the low-profile jighead on the JackHammer slid over shallow eelgrass and woodcover exceptionally well. “What’s great, too,” Browning noted, “is the bait’s double-keeper system, which holds ElaZtech softbaits tightly in place. Even when the bait picked up blades of grass, I could slap it on the water and clear it without having to re-rig the trailer. Huge time saver. I also felt like the blade gave off a slightly different, perhaps higher pitched sound than other baits. I had a lot of confidence in it.”

Not two weeks earlier, Chris Johnston wielded a white Z-Man / EverGreen ChatterBait JackHammer to win the FLW Tour event at Florida’s Harris Chain of Lakes. Interestingly, Johnston’s winning blade jig was as gift from his buddy, fellow FLW pro, Jeff Gustafson, who earned a 2nd place finish with a similar JackHammer vibrating jig. In total, five of the top-ten finishers also employed ChatterBait brand lures during the event, most of them retrieving the vibrating jig through patches of hydrilla.

For Browning the winning retrieve consisted of slow-rolling across 2- to 4-foot spawning flats, using occasional upticks in reel rotation to speed up the bait’s swimming cadence and vibration. “Ninety percent of my bass bit right after I turned the reel handle fast one time.” For Johnston and Gustafson, a ripping and popping retrieve activated the lure’s blade, and accounted for most of their strikes.

“The JackHammer definitely shines around vegetation and cover,” adds Hite. “But what’s amazing is that it’s just as deadly in clear water as it is in dark, dirty lakes, rivers and reservoirs. Work it along bottom or bulge it up near the surface.

“The new ¾-ounce size fills a critical gap in the ChatterBait spectrum. For working a bait down in deeper water, really thumping it around wood cover, the heavier ¾-ouncer is a valuable tool in my tackle box. My rule of thumb for fishing the bait is to speed it up or slow it down just enough to tick the vegetation or wood. It’s just an amazing, versatile bait.”

The pre-eminent vibrating jig available today, the ChatterBait JackHammer is the result of a comprehensive project between Z-Man Fishing and Japanese luremaker, EverGreen International, designed by Bassmaster Elite Series angler Brett Hite. Available in 3/8-, ½- and the new ¾-ounce size, the ChatterBait JackHammer features ten color-matched patterns, compatible with a variety of ElaZtech softbaits.

Joe Sills Hi there, did you know? Each week, we curate a list of the Top 5 stories in fishing and send them right to your inbox. Reading Tackle’s Top 5 is one of the best ways to become or remain an industry expert. -Joe Sills, Digital Editor

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