Rise of the Topwater ChatterBait®
Jul 18th, 2022 by Keith Worrall
Modified Jul 18th, 2022 at 9:43 AM
Rise of the Topwater ChatterBait®
Groundbreaking Z-Man® HellraiZer™ carves out radical new topwater category
Ladson, SC (July 17, 2022) – To harness the sound and action of a ChatterBait® bladed jig and to transfer its pent-up energy straight to the surface . . .
No one knows for sure when Ron Davis first envisioned his original surface slashing ChatterBait. That includes Davis himself, whose workshop harbors an astonishing collection of never-before-seen, occasionally theoretical fishing lures. Some of these, Davis reserves for his personal fishing experiments. Others, like the new Z-Man HellraiZer . . . let’s just say this one was too good to remain undercover any longer.
“I remember fishing the early versions of Ron’s remarkable topwater lure and hoping I could keep it to myself for a while,” laughs Z-Man ChatterBait pro Bryan Thrift. “After fishing the definitive Z-Man HellraiZer this season, I can tell you this lure has an action and a vibration every angler needs to experience. The HellraiZer definitely has that familiar ChatterBait feel—a combined sound and a swimming motion no topwater lure’s ever had before.”
The Z-Man HellraiZer takes an innovative, explosive approach to topwater bassin’.
Davis, whose original ChatterBait launched tournament careers and attracted waves of imitators starting in 2004, recalls the HellraiZer’s origins. “Going back almost to the beginning of the ChatterBait and Bryan Thrift’s first big tournament wins, we knew we had something pretty extraordinary on our hands,” notes Davis, a lifelong lure craftsman. “All along, though, I kept returning to my passion for topwater fishing for big bass and stripers, and potential ways to bring the distinct vibration of a ChatterBait topside.
“From the beginning I wanted to create a very specific type of topwater action. Needed to really resemble something alive and frenzied, like an injured fish or a fleeing critter. We’ve all seen how prey swims with these almost dizzy, disoriented side-to-side surface movements—always propelled by a tail or kicking back legs. It’s not a mechanical walk-the-dog action, but something more natural you might mistake for a real animal in distress. When you see it in the water, you just know it’s something alive.”
Next, Davis designed a precisely weighted tail blade to trail the lure’s body and create the illusion of organic propulsion; to mimic the chaotic tail and leg kicks of a prey animal in distress. Oscillating on a wire shaft, direct-connected to the lure’s body, Davis’ modified ChatterBlade® drives the lure’s energetic action and game-winning vibration.
“I knew if I could duplicate the desirable sound and action of a ChatterBlade—make this the lure’s driving force—I’d have something that really grabbed the fish’s attention,” explains Davis, who exclusively fishes lures of his own design.
Finally, Davis carved a distinctive body shape—slender, elongated and finished with an eyelet and split ring strategically planted in the lure’s chin, well back from its nose. Davis wasn’t content until he achieved a specific side-to-side fleeing action, and that required him to position the lure’s line-tie in a non-traditional location.
Yielding exceptional hookup rates, a treble hook rides the lure’s midsection, while a second feathered treble trails the blade, providing bonus color, flash and natural flow. Further elevating hookset success is the lure’s low-profile position; the HellraiZer rides low in the water, preventing it from being blown out. For increased sound attraction, twin steel BBs in the lure’s body clack audibly and remind you it’s out there talking to bass throughout the retrieve.
“Admittedly, the first time you see the lure, you scratch your head a little,” says Z-Man pro Miles “Sonar” Burghoff, describing the HellraiZer’s eccentric physique. “But for me, that changed right away, when I caught a bass with the lure on my very first cast. This thing’s legit.”
The HellraiZer’s blade-driven design and underbelly line tie produce crazy action up top.
Thrift likes to remind anglers that headlining the packaging on Davis’ original ChatterBait was a simple tagline: Simply designed to catch fish. Not fishermen. “I think the same thinking applies to the HellraiZer,” he notes.
Like a buzzbait, Burghoff and Thrift explain that retrieving the HellraiZer begins by immediately cranking the lure to the surface. From there, a simple straight retrieve— rodtip pointed slightly down— activates the HellraiZer’s unexpected frenzied, fleeing action.
“A straight, medium to fast retrieve works awesome,” suggests Thrift. “Fish it the same way you work a ChatterBait. You can also slow it way down and still maintain that palpable vibration and cool wakebait-like action. The blade creates that awesome ChatterBait sound, adding a visual bubble trail that leads bass right to the feathered treble hook.
The HellraiZer was inspried by Ron Davis’ original ChatterBait, which launched tournament careers and
waves of imitators starting in 2004.
“Throw it over submerged grass, docks and riprap,” Thrift continues. “The HellraiZer’s an exceptional lure late in summer and fall, especially during blueback herring runs. Heck, I’ve even caught some really big redfish with it. And stripers and smallmouths absolutely destroy this thing. Fish haven’t really seen this action in a surface lure before, so I think we eventually might see a big tournament or two won with it.”
For Davis, creating a truly original surface lure began with a simple idea and a time-tested concept. For anglers, unleashing its power and fury starts with faith and that first cast over nervous water.
Available in September, the new 5-inch (5/8-ounce) Z-Man HellraiZer casts like a bullet and works at almost any retrieve speed. Ten blade/body color combinations cover any water color or fishing situation, including Ghost Shad, Snow and Matte Black for low light conditions. MSRP $14.99.
Experience Z-Man’s HellraiZer Tail Blade Topwater Lure at ICAST’s On the Water event— Tuesday, July 19. Or see us at ICAST booth #5130 for a first look at this original topwater lure.