Bladed jigs, such as Z-Man’s famous ChatterBait, have a quarter-sized metal disk attached to a leadhead jig, skirt and soft plastic. The lure doesn’t look like anything a fish would eat, but the vibration and flash of the blade prove too much for big bass to ignore.
Best Bass Baits and Lures: Bladed Jigs
Vibe Kayaks pro Jake Suvak says, “I always carried bladed jigs in my tackle box, but when I moved to Florida, the lure became one of my favorite go-to baits.” Although his tournament schedule often dictates where he fishes, in his free time Suvak heads to Lake Toho or Headwaters Lake. “In a perfect world, I would fish hydrilla all day,” he says. The bladed bait’s design makes it practically weedless and excellent for attracting attention in heavy vegetation.
When to Use a Bladed Bait
The perfect conditions for this lure are clear or slightly stained water with a little wind. The wind creates ripples that break the sunlight and hide the blade on the lure. The fish see the flash and hear the noise, but they don’t see the blade. In submerged grass, I grab my bladed-jig rod. I work the lure fast enough to swim over the grass.
How to Choose a Bladed Jig
Water clarity is the primary factor when choosing my lure. In clear or slightly stained water, I choose a Mr. B Lure Company bladed jig with incredibly detailed skirt that allows me to match the local bait in the lake. My favorite colors are Cooks CW Shad in crystal clear water, and the Cooks DW Shad if the water is a little stained. In dirtier water, I turn to the Z-Man JackHammer. I like the heavy vibration the Z-Man blade creates as it bangs against the jighead. In dirty water, brighter colors will draw in fish. When the top of the vegetation is less than five feet below the surface, I go with a 3/8-ounce lure. For deeper water, I use a 1/2-ounce jig. The key is to swim the jig just over the grass. In deeper water, I’ll switch to a reel with a slower retrieve ratio so I don’t rip the lure back to the kayak.
Best Blade Baits
Mr. B Lure Company Bladed Jig
Z-Man CBJH38-10 Chatterbait Jack Hammer 3/8 oz Bruised Green Pumpkin Pumpkin
Bladed Jig Tackle Box
Rod: Scenko Stix 7’6” MH Chatterbait rod. I like a longer rod with parabolic action. The length picks up line quicker and the parabolic action bends deeply to load the rod when I get the lure stuck in the grass.
Reel: Lew’s Tournament Pro LFS Casting Reel 7.5:1. To slow the retrieve in colder water, I switch to a reel with a 6.4:1 retrieve ratio.
Line: 15-pound Seaguar fluorocarbon is strong to pull a fish out of the hydrilla but not too heavy to interfere with the lure’s action.
How to Use a Bladed Jig
The best way to fish a bladed jig is around submerged vegetation, especially hydrilla. I allow the lure to snag in the grass, then I give it a snap to break it free. This snap often elicits a bite. I also swim the lure along the edge of a hydrilla, occasionally bumping the lure into the grass. My biggest tip for working a bladed jig is find ways to change the action. I often twitch the rod tip or briefly speed up my retrieve. I even change the way I snap the lure free of vegetation. Instead of giving the rod tip a hard yank to break the lure free, I continue reeling, building tension in the line until the lure shoots out of the grass.
Bladed Lure Fish Story
One of my best weekends on Lake Toho, I was fishing the Anglr Head-to-Head challenge. Since this was a fun tournament, we were allowed to hit the water early before the competition started. With only a few minutes before the start of the tournament, my bladed jig got stuck in the hydrilla. As I pulled my jig free, I hooked a big bass. I landed the seven-pound, 23-inch fish at the same time I heard the call to start the tournament. While I couldn’t log the monster bass towards my total, I ended up catching a weekend stringer over 100 inches.
This article was first published in Kayak Angler Issue 46. Subscribe to Kayak Angler and get the magazine delivered to your front door. Download the Kayak Angler Magazine+ app to seamlessly glide between the digital archives, the latest articles and videos.
In a perfect world, I’d fish hydrilla all day. | Feature photo: Jake Suvak