Chatterbait vs. Spinnerbait

One thing a lot of people struggle with, including myself sometimes, is trying to decided when to throw a chatterbait over a spinnerbait or vice-versa. In this article, I will break down the variables that help me decide which lure to throw in certain situations.

I want to start off by saying that I am biased towards a chatterbait in this argument, but I will remain neutral for the article. It’s not that I hate a spinnerbait or anything like that, I just have a lot more confidence in a chatterbait because I have caught many, many more fish on one.

Chatterbait: I’m going to start the comparison of the two by saying that when throwing a chatterbait, I always use a trailer. I like a paddle-tail swimbait or a fork-tail swimbait. I also only really throw three main colors of chatterbaits. Shad imitation (white/chartreuse, etc.), black and blue, and a natural color (like a green pumpkin variation). I like the black and blue when the water is murky, I like the natural when either the water is really clear or I’m trying to imitate a bluegill, and I like to throw a shad imitation in any water color as long as there are shad in the lake I’m fishing. My ideal condition for a chatterbait is cloud cover because it’s harder for the fish to get a good look at the bait. However, I do prefer it to be sunny if I’m throwing a white chatterbait with a silver or gold blade because of the reflection of light.

Like I said earlier, I prefer to throw a chatterbait over a spinnerbait most of time. Most people prefer to throw a chatterbait in the grass over a spinnerbait because it rips out more easily, and that’s true, but I also prefer to throw a chatterbait in and around wood, which is weird because most people like a spinnerbait in this situation. A lot of people seem to have trouble throwing a chatterbait around wood, which happens sometimes, but I have caught fish more times in those areas than I have been stuck, so I’ll take my chances at a snag every once in a while.

Spinnerbait: I said that when I fish with a chatterbait I always use a little swimbait trailer, well on a spinnerbait, I always, always use a trailer hook, and I’ll tell you why. When a fish strikes a chatterbait, it is attacking a single fish, so it’s locked in on the strike; however, when a fish hits a spinnerbait, it believes that it is attacking a small school of fish, so instead of locking in and striking one, it will swipe at all of them. Hence the trailer hook. If it’s locked in, it will eat the bait and you’ll be able to set the hook, but if it swipes it may not get the main hook, so it’s always good to have a trailer hook for a fall-back.

There are a few situations when I prefer a spinnerbait over a chatterbait. When I’m around rocks, I love to slow roll a spinnerbait just over the top of the rocks, and I also prefer a spinnerbait in super muddy water. I’ll take either a bright spinnerbait (like a blue/chartreuse) or a dark spinnerbait (black) with a big Colorado blade or two and make a lot of commotion, drawing more strikes.

If you can think of anything you think I missed or if you have your own opinions, leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail at with any questions you may have. Also, please subscribe to our page to receive notifications every time we post a helpful article like this one. Thanks and have a great day!


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