Overnight sensation: the Chatterbait
“The Chatterbait works best when either a spinnerbait or swimming jig would be a choice, says Ron Davis. The Chatterbait has a tremendous vibration and frantic action like a startled critter hightailing it.”
The Chatterbait begins as a jig with a silicone skirt and soft plastic trailer, and then appends a blade to the jig eye, which some say makes it akin to a spinnerbait. Except the blade doesn’t spin like on a spinnerbait. The blade makes a Chatterbait wobble vigorously like a crankbait.
In mid-January 2006, FLW co-angler Bryan Thrift of Shelbyville, NC, blew the lid off the Chatterbait, crediting it for his first place win in the Stren Series event on Lake Okeechobee, Fla. In the two months since, Thrift spilled the beans, Ron Davis’ business problems have gotten much bigger and much better. First quarter sales forecasts for Rad Lures have skyrocketed from 50,000 to 75,000 pieces & there are currently over two million Chatterbaits on order now — with no end in sight.
“I had no idea that Bryan’s win would do what it has done. Bryan was even apologetic about it. First, Bryan felt sorry that we got flooded beyond our wildest dreams with orders,” says Davis. “We are now working round the clock to get Chatterbaits to the people who want them.”
He continues, “Second, Bryan apologized because he had won two Stren Southeast series events as a co-angler in 2005 but did not publicize the Chatterbait at that time. Bryan didn’t realize the impact that publicity by him would have on sales. In one event, Bryan was so far ahead that all he needed to do was catch one fish on the last day to clinch the co-angler win. When Bryan got that fish early in the morning, he sat out the rest of the day so his pro partner could get some rod time with the Chatterbait to win the pro side of the event.”
“Top national pros, if they hadn’t been using it, surely were aware of the Chatterbait and now that it’s out in the open, they either have to use it — or possibly risk the consequences of not using it,” says Bassmaster Tournament Trail pro Ben Matsubu, who used the Chatterbait to help him take third and $33,000 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir at the Southern Tour stop in March 2006.
“Every lure has its place,” adds Davis. “When Bryan Thrift won Okeechobee, he was smack in the middle of 15 to 20 boats. The only other guys getting any bites at all were some of the best flippers in Florida. They were flipping into thick mats for fish hunkered down in dense cover.”
“Meanwhile, Bryan was getting hammered on the Chatterbait on a day when fast-moving reaction baits weren’t working,” continues Davis. “Watching Bryan, many of the other boaters started slinging spinnerbaits, trying to do what they could to copy his success, but not catching any fish. While people say the Chatterbait blade makes it like a spinnerbait, fish may see it differently. What I mean is people who throw spinnerbaits, you can come down the bank behind them with the Chatterbait and catch fish they didn’t catch.”
“The Chatterbait is somewhat snag-free but not entirely snagless. It works best where there are no thick weeds or wood,” claims pro Tom Monsoor from La Crosse, Wis. (Note: Monsoor is rightly famous for making his own style of swimming jig.) “Another situation where I feel the Chatterbait will do best is earlier in the season while the water is still too cold for my own swimming jig to produce,” he adds. You can find Monsoor’s Swimming Jig at Basspro.com
“The Chatterbait is like a lipless rattling crankbait in that it gives off heavy vibrations and therefore works in dirtier water than my own style of swimming jig,” continues Monsoor. “An example is the last FLW Tour event on Pickwick. I caught all my fish on my own swimming jig in clear water the first day. The water dirtied up so much the second day that I had to switch to the Chatterbait in order to continue to do well in the dirty water.” Another high quality swim jig is the Outkast Pro Swim Jig.