ProTips & Videos

Click on the following links and find out what the Z-Man Fishing team has to say!

Fishing With The ChatterBait® Back to Top

The Chatterbait® is one of the most unique, fish catching lures to hit the market in a long time. The most common use of this lure is a constant retrieve, in other words, cast out and reel in. Although this retrieve will do the job on some occasions, the Chatterbait® is much more versatile and can be use in many ways. You can fish it like a jig, fish it like a spinnerbait, or even fish like a lipless rattle crank bait.

Pro tip 1: When using it as a jig, one should think about weight size. 3/8 oz to 5/8 oz seems to be the most effective sizes. Color choice of the darker colors, black/blue, brown/orange, pumpkin, or green pumpkin seems to be the most effective. Blade color is optional but I prefer either a dark scaled blade (Pro2 black/blue) or a black nickel blade (Chatterbait black/blue). Heavy cover calls for a weed guard model (Pro2) open water such as rocky points, the standard swim jig will work equally well. (Chatterbait). The retrieve should be very similar to the normal retrieve of a jig.

Pro tip 2: Another effective way to use the Chatterbait® is to work it like a spinnerbait. You can "slow roll" it, retrieve at a constant medium retrieve, or use a fast retrieve (burn it). The beauty of the Chatterbait® is that you don't have to be a pro to use it and catch fish. A lot of fisherman use a standard cast and retrieve and the results are excellent.

Pro tip 3: Make sure when you don't confuse the Chatterbait® with other swim jigs. The Chatterbait® has the blade attached directly to the eye of the hook. By design the blade needs to wobble back and forth striking the head of the Chatterbait®. This creates two fish attracting things, a rattle or clattering sound (we all know bass like the sound of rattles) and a wobbling erratic action. The closer the blade is to the head the better the action.

Pro tip 4: "It's all in the retrieve." We talked about the Chatterbait® having an erratic action. Because of the blade to head design the Chatterbait® when being retrieve will be coming straight back in and then for no reason it will erratically veer off course. This sudden darting action is a tremendous strike getter. A real good tip on retrieving the Chatterbait® is every 4 or 5 turns of the reel handle interrupt the speed you are retrieving with a quick speed up of your retrieve. This will cause the swim jig to dart either left or right giving it even a more erratic action.

Fishing With The SwimmerZ™ Back to Top

The swim bait has become a very popular and effective lure for catching extremely large bass. Starting on the west coast, the swim bait has found its way many a bass fisherman's tackle box. The first thing you want to check when choosing swim bait is its action. There are many styles and types of swim baits on the market but not all are the same. All of the ElaZtech™ SwimmerZ have what I would call a "tri-axis action". When retrieved you want the swim bait to wobble from side to side, the tail to waggle from side to side, and the "boot or tail" part to paddle in a up and down motion. Swim baits come in many different sizes. The most popular and commonly found in the tackle shops are the 4" and 6". Both of these sizes seem to be the best producers.

Pro tip 1: Rigging swim bait is a critical part of using this lure. There are various types of swim bait hooks on the market that work well with these baits. Some you thread thru the head as you do when rigging a worm and some have a barbed keeper or "cork screw" that allows you to stick or twist the keeper into the nose of the bait and then bury the hook into the body of the bait. All Z-Man SwimmerZ™ come with our patented TriggerHook™. This new innovative hook allows for quick rigging and a higher "hook set to land ratio".

Pro tip 2: Z-man's ElaZtech™ is formulated and manufactured of a material that allows them to float. By using a standard off set hook with little or no weight, you can fish this SwimmerZ™ as a top water lure. The hook acts like a keel on a sailboat and keeps the lure in an up right position. When the bass are on a top water bite, this is an excellent way to fish this lure.

Pro tip 3: By adding a little more weight to the hook, you can swim the ElaZtech™ SwimmerZ™ just under the surface using a slow steady retrieve. With the correct amount of weight, you can vary the retrieve by twitching your rod tip to give the swim bait a darting action much like that of a jerk bait.

Pro tip 4: If you have sufficient weight on your swim bait hook, do not hesitate to fish these SwimmerZ™ on ledges or deep water structure. By letting the bait go to the bottom and then slow reel them in, you cover fish holding areas that most fishermen won't find. This is a very effective way to catch some really large trophy bass.

Pro tip 5: This is a tip that most bass fisherman would like to keep to themselves but one that I would like to share with you. By using a weighted swim bait hook and then adding a standard bullet shaped slip sinker, you can first, reel this bait at a high speed retrieve without it wanting to spin or turn on its side. This high speed retrieve can trigger strikes when the normal retrieve is not working. Using the same rig, fish it slowly over and thru deep water structure. By just adding a slip sinker you expand you ability to cover a greater range of water and structure.

Fishing - Rigging The Floating LizardZ® Back to Top

If you could look into the tackles boxes of every bass fisherman in America, I would bet that the majority of them would have some type of plastic lizard. This is one of the most popular fish catching styles of bait used by all bass fishermen. There are many types and colors offered but the one thing that I look for in my choice of lizards is its ability to float. The first thing this does is increases the range of depth you can fish this lure. You can fish it on top, fish it suspended, or fish it on the bottom. The Z-Man LizardZ will cover the water from top to bottom. Its durability and buoyancy sets it apart from all of plastic lizards.

Pro tip 1: No matter what type of weighting system you are going to use, I always like to rig the lizard weed less or "Texas Style". Thread the hook through the nose of the lizard and pull the hook to where the eye of the hook just goes into the nose. Then turn the hook and imbed the point into the belly of the lizard and bring it out the back. Then take the point of the hook and stick it just under the skin on the back of the lizard. This allows for a better hook penetration when setting the hook.

Pro tip 2: Fish the ElaZtech® LizardZ as top water bait. Rig it "Texas Style" with no weight to fish it as floater. Works great when the fish are just about ready to go on the beds and are cruising the shallows or when fishing heavy grass and the fish are holding by openings in the mats.

Pro tip 3: Rig it "Texas Style" with a bullet sinker. The determining factor here is how deep you are fishing, the rate of fall you desire, and the type of cover you are fishing. Remember, the majority of the strikes you will get will be when the bait is falling. When using an ElaZtech® LizardZ you can control the rate of fall with the weight you choose. The floaters always want to stand tail up when they are on the bottom and I find this to be a life like and far better presentation than a lure that is laying flat on the bottom. If you are fishing heavy brush, you can peg the sinker tight to the head to allow the lizard to get down thru the brush for a more thorough presentation.

Pro tip 4: Rig it "Carolina Style". This is where you have the weight some distance away from the hook and lizard. This can be accomplished by either pegging the bullet weight a desired distance from the bait or using a barrel swivel and attaching a leader for the hook and lizard to one end of the swivel and the weight and line to the other end of the swivel. Again, this is where the ElaZtech® LizardZ really pays off. Instead of lying on the bottom, it will float above the weight as if it we swimming and ready for the taking. This style is really good for deep water ledges, deep water points, rock piles, or brush piles. For those who use this method, it is commonly called "draggin". Simply makes the cast, let it sink to the bottom, and the just slowly drag a short distant, stop, and drag.

Fishing - Rigging The ToobZ™ Back to Top

The first plastic worm was designed and made in 1949. Since the beginning there has been hundreds of body shapes designed for catching bass. One of those is the tube bait that hit the market in the mid seventies. This little bait is a round nosed, hollow bodied, cylindrical tube with multiple cut tail like strands coming off the end of the lure. Now available in many different sizes and colors the tube bait has become a staple in tackle boxes thought out the US. The Z-Man ElaZtech® ToobZ™ or Swim ToobZ™ has added a new dimension to this type of fishing. Unlike the plastic tubes, the Z-Man ToobZ™ are buoyant. When at rest, the stand nose down with the tail up. This presents a more life like presentation that fish can not refuse.

Pro Tip 1: Using a lead head jig, slide the jig head into the ToobZ™ and push the eye of the hook thru the upper portion of the nose. This is not a weed less rigging system and normally used for rocky points or rock pile structure. Using a lead head jig with a wire weed guard thread the hook thru the nose, bring the hook out of the body and snug the lead head up against the nose of the tube. The Texas rig is another way to rig the ToobZ™. Using this method, you can either let the slip sinker slide freely up and down the line or peg the sinker anywhere for flush against the nose to 10 to 12 inches up the line.

Pro tip 2: Z-Man's ElaZtech® ToobZ™ or Swim ToobZ™ are floating tubes. These lures can be fished as a top water bait or swimming bait. These ToobZ™ work extremely well when fishing mats of grass. Cast the bait on to the grass, move it to an opening, let sit or slightly twitch it and hang on.

Pro tip 3: Using the lead head jig either internally or externally is an excellent presentation for off shore structure. In smallmouth country this is a very effective way to catch trophy size smallmouth. It also works well on southern lakes the have clear water.

Pro tip 4: Using the Texas rig method is great for flipping and pitching. This weed less rig allows you to get to those hard to reach places that hold good quality fish. The pegged weight and cylindrical body of the ToobZ™ makes it more weed less than a skirted jig and comes through the heavy cover better. If there is a lot of bait fish in the area, try the ToobZ™ instead of the skirted jig. The bait more resembles a bait fish and the skirted jig imitates a crayfish.

Pro tip 5: When fishing heavy cover, either wood or grass, the bite normally comes on the drop. Even when swimming and then stopping or bouncing the ToobZ™ off the bottom, the strike will come on the fall. During this part of your retrieve you need to be on point for that subtle little tap or jump of the line.

Pro tip 6: Pegging the weight a short distance up the line is more of a Carolina rig presentation. This approach, especially if you are using the floating ElaZtech® ToobZ™, is excellent for fishing deep points and ledges. Again, we want to imitate bait or prey fish that the bass are feeding on.

Fishing - Rigging The ZinkerZ™ Back to Top

The do-nothin or sink bait has become bass bait that most bass fisherman has made part of their fishing arsenal. This bait looks like an earth worm that is straight, round, and fat with a slight tapper at both ends. By adding heavy amounts of salt and or sugar sand, the bait is weighted to sink slowly to the bottom without any additional weight. What sets the ElaZtech® Zinker™ apart from the other lures of this type is its durability. Because of the heavy load of salt or sand, these lures are very fragile and normally will only last for 1 or 2 fish. The Zinker™ by design will out last any plastisol sink bait by a factor of 10X. Most commonly used in mid to shallow water presentations, this bait is a great choice for both largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Pro tip 1: Wacky style. To rig this bait wacky style, simple thread the hook thru the center of the worm and leave the hook exposed. I like to use a small diameter wire hook when fishing the sink bait wacky style. I don't want a heavy wire hook that will detract from the falling action. When fished this way, the Zinker™ will slowly float on a horizontal plane to the bottom. Because of the fat body and slightly tapered ends, the bait will have a little fluttering action on both sides of the hook that will cause very aggressive strikes. This fluttering action seems to be the key to these aggressive strikes. The down side to this system is a greater chance snags.

Pro tip 2: Wacky style (circle hook) this is a relatively new twist on a proven method. Being bass fisherman, we are always experimenting and trying new ways to improve on existing methods. I don't know who tried it first, but some fisherman bought some small size saltwater circle hooks and tried them on these do-nuthin worms. The results were we now have a good wacky style presentation that gives us a more weed less or snag resistant method of fishing these worms. The hook up ratio seems to be good and the majority of the time you will find that the fish is hooked in the side of the mouth. The best part of the circle hook method is the conservation aspect. The circle hook was designed to eliminate the gill or gut hooking of fish. A point to remember when fishing the Zinker™ circle hook style, do not make a hard hook set. Just simply point the rod at the fish and reel to a tight line. The hook will automatically catch in the side of the fish's mouth.

Pro tip 3: Texas rigging with a light slip sinker. This method changes the fall of the do-nuthin and adds a new dimension to the presentation. Being that the Zinker™ is already weighted the addition of a small weight to one end of the worm will cause it to have a gliding action as it goes to the bottom. Unlike the normal worm that has a straight downward fall, you cast past your target, hold your rod tip up and allow the worm to gently swim or glide to the to the target.

The Difference Between Bladed Swim Jigs & Spinnerbaits Back to Top

Invented in 1951, the "safety pin" or overhead blade style spinnerbait is probably the most popular spinnerbait design for bass anglers. The most prominent features of this design is a wire frame that is bent roughly 90 degrees and embedded at its base in a bullet-shaped lead head with a single hook behind it. Dressed with a skirt and various types of blades, the spinnerbait has been a reliable fish catching lure for many years.

The "Original Chatterbait®" hit the market in 2004 and became the rage in 2005 after a tournament win in south Florida. Both have a lead head, a hook, and a blade but the "buck stops there". The goals are the same, but the results are vastly different. The spinnerbait does put off some vibration and flash when retrieve but this vibration and flash pails in comparison when compared to a swim jig. The Chatterbait® also has a noise factor when retrieved. There is not a spinnerbait made that can achieve the rattling or clattering sound created by the Chatterbait®. Yes, you can add rattles, but the spinnerbait is designed to be a straight running lure with no side to side motion, thus the rattles have no motion that will cause them to sound. When comparing the two, the Chatterbait® also has a larger range of retrieval presentations. With the spinnerbait your are pretty much limited to a standard medium retrieve, the slow roll, or a high speed retrieve. Yes, you can stop your retrieve and let the lure drop, but by design, the spinnerbait does not have an inviting appearance when tumbling to the bottom. The Chatterbait® can do all the above and more. When dropped is has a natural life like appearance when falling to the bottom. Varying on the speed of retrieve, the Chatterbait® will give you a darting action, a wobbling action, and a straight line action all on the same retrieve. You can vertically jig the Chatterbait®, bump it along the bottom, jump it off the bottom, wake it on the top, pitch it, flip it, and skip it. Try some of the techniques with a spinnerbait and you will wind up with a backlash form the dark side.

Pro tip 1: When should you choose a Chatterbait® verses a spinnerbait? EVERYTIME YOU GO FISHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Charlie Ingram's Pro-Pointers Back to Top

Normally I take what I have learned on the tournament trail and apply it to the Fishing University. However, what I have learned while filming Fishing university with ElaZtech® and ChatterBait® products have helped me a lot on the tournament trail. While I don't like to speak as ElaZtech being "tough" I think that the best two words to describe it is that ElaZtech is pliable while being durable. In other words the softness gets you a lot more strikes while the durability lets you make many more casts during a days fishing because you do not have to re-rig so much.. This is very important during a days fishing.

The Chatterbait is probably the most unpublicized tournament lure that is in the pro tournament fisherman's arsenal today. It is a lure that while most people fish it in shallow water, it can be fished in several different manner, shallow or deep, fast or slow, steady retrieve or intermittent retrieve. It is truly a lure that can be fished under any conditions and that can be adjusted to the mood of the fish. The more you fish it, the more you learn about how truly beneficial it can be to your arsenal

TriggerHook™ Instruction Sheet Back to Top

UltraShrimp™ Instruction Sheet Back to Top