History of the ChatterBait
Sep 30th, 2022 by Keith Worrall
Modified Sep 30th, 2022 at 10:15 AM
Chronicling the Original ChatterBait®
Why all bladed jigs aren’t created equal
“If at first the new idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it,” claimed some chap named Einstein. Or, to paraphrase the dude who founded Amazon: Endeavoring to create something truly new implies a willingness to be misunderstood. Maybe automobile inventor Henry Ford said it best: “If I had asked the public what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse.”
Ladson, SC (September 29, 2022) – Proof the tackle architects at Z-Man® were on the right path arrived pretty much in synch with the 2022 ICAST New Product Showcase and the unveiling of their newest mind-bending creation.
Exhibit A: Z-Man’s HellraiZer™ Tail Blade surface lure was met with equal parts awe and uncertainty—exactly the sort of reception you’d expect from a lure with so many . . . eccentricities. Comments ran the full spectrum, from ‘It’ll never work’ and ‘WTF?’ to ‘Looks like a topwater ChatterBait!’ and ‘Refreshing to see something this innovative from an American fishing company.’
Of course, the HellraiZer—which slinks across the surface with an inarguably unusual sound, vibration and action and which has begun to show signs of an authentic fish-catcher— did not win. In case you’re keeping score, at their respective ICAST introductions, neither did the Original ChatterBait Bladed Jig nor the preeminent ChatterBait JackHammer™ to follow. (We’ll humbly accept all the subsequent badges of honor.)
All of which aligns with the abovementioned notions of actual innovation; namely, that initial objections to a new, unfamiliar, radical idea only strengthen their ultimate status as groundbreaking, classic, and finally, undisputed category trendsetter.
Admittedly, the HellraiZer doesn’t exactly resemble any other topwater lure released since 1937 (see Jitterbug.) But if you’ll recall, neither did its bladed jig predecessors.
The Original Bladed Jig
Masterminded by the same man working in the same lure shop that hatched the HellraiZer, Ron Davis’ Original ChatterBait once garnered disapproving glances and complete dismissals from every angler who saw it.
Imagine, then, standing in the shoes of Bryan Thrift—among the first professional anglers to tie on a ChatterBait, circa 2004. Picture yourself fishing the 2006 FLW tournament at Lake Okeechobee, making those first exploratory casts to giant Florida bass, 8- and 9-pound beasts that had never seen a ChatterBait in their lives. Looking back, no one is surprised by the ferocity with which those Okeechobee bass attacked Thrift’s bladed jig, the lure that catapulted him to two straight major bass tournament wins. As word spread, the ChatterBait went from gimmick to overnight sensation—and soon, the basis for dozens of imitations thereof.
Z-Man currently crafts 17 different ChatterBait Bladed Jig models.