By Joshua Davey
I am going to start this blog off by stating that I am very far from an expert when it comes to this style of fishing. In fact, I only tied my first chatterbait on a couple of weeks ago. But guess what? They have skyrocketed to my go-to confidence bait in the fresh, particularly for large callop (yellowbelly) and redfin during winter here in the southern states.
So how did this come about? I’d be lying to you if I said it was my idea to tie one on. Long story short was on a three day trip up the Murray River here in South Australia with the goal of catching a large cod. As I did a trolling run along a cliff face, my mate went to the front of the boat and proceeded to cast a steez cover chatter ahead of my trolling run. I am not kidding when I say this, he would have caught the most callop in the shortest period of time that I have ever seen! And a couple of them were absolute crackers.
So what did I do? As soon as I got home I went straight to the shops and grabbed some, obviously… Since then, I have been experimenting with different techniques, trailers and species and have been having some extraordinary success. These chatters come in two different sizes, 1/4 oz and 3/8 oz although I have found myself using the latter more often during this winter bite. I have also started adding the 3.2” Bait Junkie Minnows to the chatters, just to add a little more bulk and presence to the lure. For those that are familiar, we don’t exactly have the cleanest freshwater to fish in here in South Australia. So adding that extra bulk and vibration from the paddle tail has certainly helped in my opinion.
When it comes to fishing these, I have found there to be three distinct techniques that have got me the most bites. Well, kind of two techniques but ill elaborate shortly. The first is what ill nickname the “drag and drop”, first cast out to a likely looking area and let the chatter sink to the bottom. After a short pause, slowly lift your rod tip at a speed you just feel the chatterbait working, dragging that chatter along close to the bottom. Drop your rod tip while retrieving the slack line and give it a pause up to 10 seconds long (this is typically when the fish hits!). I have found this technique to be particularly effective when fishing open areas without much structure and on slow, shot down schools of fish.
The other technique is just a standard slow roll, however I have noticed there are two different actions you can get out of the lure dependent on the speed of the retrieve. The preference being for an ultra-slow roll until you just feel that lure working. It will give off a very faint vibration. This seems to give the lure a more subtle presentation, while still providing enough sound and vibration through the water column. Speed up that slow roll jus the slightest and you will feel a considerably different action from the lure, it is much more aggressive through the rod tip and has a considerably greater presence in the water. Vary up the speeds on the day to see what the fish are honed in on, but more often than not the subtle vibration has been the undoing of the fish down here. This technique has been particularly effective when casting at structure such as fallen trees or along rock bars on cliff faces. Don’t be too scared to get it in there, as the weed guard deflects much of the snags and touch wood, haven’t lost one yet!
So, if you are looking to expand your freshwater lure arsenal and try something new then look no further than the Steez Cover Chatters. They have done wonders to my success in the freshwater scene down here, don’t be shy and give them a crack!