Today’s guide will explain everything you need to know about chatterbait, spinnerbait, and jig trailers. Soft plastic trailers are a popular addition to your fishing setup and have been proven to improve your success rates when bass fishing. Naturally, you want to know the different options available and how they differ/what features they boast. All of this will be explained to you in our detailed guide below:
What is a Soft Plastic Trailer?
As the name suggests, soft plastic trailers will trail behind your bait or jig while in the water. They’re a separate accessory of sorts that you don’t technically need to purchase. In some instances, having the right bait or jig is enough to ensure you get a good catch. Nevertheless, soft plastic trailers are highly beneficial as they can attract more attention, speeding up the chances of you getting a bite or ensuring you get more bites within your session.
These trailers come in a whole host of varieties but they’re all designed to perform similar functions. In essence, they’re created to look like creatures or other small fish in the water. They’re designed to be quite long, usually with appendages that flow and move with the current. You can find them in many styles and patterns too, and they’re all made to get the attention of the bass you’re searching for.
Again, as the name suggests, soft plastic trailers are made out of very soft and pliable plastic. It almost creates a gummy effect, and they feel somewhat rubbery. This is what gives them their unique style as the lightness and pliability of the soft plastic allows for the trailers to stream and flow through the water, acting almost exactly like the creatures they’re trying to mimic.
Jigs are popular fishing lures because they work really well and are good at what they do. However, a trailer is often needed to enhance the effects of the lure and get the attention of more fish – especially when bass fishing. You will find a multitude of jig trailers for sale, some of which are completely different from others. We will recommend the best products for you to look at at the end of this guide – as we will with the other two trailer categories. In this section, we’ll simply review the different types of jig trailers you should consider:
- Craw Trailers – Ideally used to mimic a crawfish, this trailer is super effective as the plastic claws flop around and create noise and motion in the water. Most of the time, this type of trailer is used when swimming a jig along boat docks. This is simply because of the extra motion it can produce, which works well in this fishing setting.
- Bass Chunk Trailers – In terms of commonality and popularity, the bass chunk trailer is the most widely used in angling. It matches perfectly with a jig because it has so many extra bits that move around in the water. Most will come with straight tails that glide through the water, usually combined with pincers, claws, and all sorts of moving appendages. If you’re in open water without many obstacles around, these trailers will help you get lots of bites.
- Creature Bait Trailers – An interesting consideration if you want to add more size to your lure. They don’t represent a living thing, and they don’t generate any specific movements in the water. By adding more bulk to your bait, it makes it more noticeable. Typically, you will use these in colder waters.
- Grub Trailers – The last option we’ll talk about for jig trailers, and it’s the humble grub. A lot smaller than the other options, this imitates a baitfish surprisingly well. It is best used in colder conditions when you’re looking to hug the bottom in search of some hungry bass.
The chatterbait is often referred to by a series of other names. You may know it as a bladed swim jig or a vibrating jig, but all of these terms relate to the same thing. It’s an exceptionally popular bass fishing lure because of how successful it has been in the professional scene. Essentially, a small piece of metal attached to the front of a bass jig gives this lure a vibrational effect. In turn, this can make the lure easier to spot in the water, attracting more bass.
As with the above category, we’re now going to explore what types of soft trailers are best for a chatterbait setup:
- Craw Trailers – Again, this variety pops up here and is largely seen to be one of the two main trailers to use when equipped with a chatterbait rig. The pincers and tail are the main talking points here. With chatterbait trailers, you need a decent amount of moving parts as the vibrations help to kick them to life. It’s found that craw trailers typically have the best effect here, flailing around behind the lure to really grab the attention of all the bass in the area. They’re also very useful when you want your bait to take its time getting down to the bottom as they offer a lot of resistance in the water.
- Swimbait Trailers – Almost a complete contrast to the craw trailer, a swimbait trailer is designed to be more streamlined and offers a faster passage through the water. They cut through the water and create less resistance, meaning you can fish quicker. These trailers are recommended when you want to get your bait down as fast as possible – particularly if there’s a lot of vegetation nearby. Craw trailers aren’t very good in vegetation as the extra parts and appendages can get stuck and tear the trailer free.
Either of these two options will work well depending on your fishing style. However, it’s key to note that swimbait trailers perhaps lend themselves slightly better to chatterbait setups because they allow for more side-to-side movement. A craw trailer is definitely still effective, but it restricts vibrational movement slightly.
Spinnerbaits are another popular type of lure for people to use when bass fishing. In truth, the term spinnerbait refers to a family of fishing lures that include metal blades that create a spinning sensation when the lure is in motion. With that in mind, what types of trailers are the best for this particular lure?
- Flukes – Often referred to as soft jerkbaits, the fluke is a fantastic trailer to add to a spinnerbait. It doesn’t provide a huge deal of action to the lure, but that’s not the point of it. The accuracy this trailer displays to minnows is what entices the bass to your hook. It’s also available in many colors, so you can choose the right one based on where you’re fishing. Also, the lack of action is ideal if you’re in cold water, which is where flukes work the best.
- Swimbait – Again, swimbaits are excellent for the spinnerbait setup. Like flukes, there isn’t a huge amount of movement created on the lure. However, they accurately replicate baitfish, which a lot of small-mouth and spotted bass love. So, they will attract lots of attention and are perfect in finesse fishing scenarios.
- Grubs – Yes, grubs also work very well with spinnerbaits. All three of these trailer options have one thing in common, and it’s that they don’t move around like crazy. The nature of a spinnerbait means it vibrates and spins on its own, so you don’t need extra movement adding to this. Grubs work very well when you want to slow down your retrieval as they add some extra weight to the lure.
After seeing each of the different types of trailers for jig, chatterbait, and spinnerbait lures, it’s time to see which products are worth looking at. This section is split into three different categories, displaying the recommended trailers for each one.
Recommended Jig Trailers
- BiCO Battle Craw – An excellent craw trailer option that’s 3.75 inches in length. It has a subtler design than most trailers in this category, and it’s made of a durable soft plastic that lasts for a very long time.
- Berkley Havoc Pit Boss Bait – A creature option for you to consider, made by a trusted manufacturer and designed to add more bulk to your jig.
- Zoom Fat Albert – Offers a twin tail grub trailer that provides a soft flapping action without too much movement in the water. Great when the water is neither warm nor cold.
Recommended Chatterbait Trailers
- Yamamoto Zako Swimbait – A slim swimbait trailer that works well with a vibrating jig. It has a large belly and a realistic design that even includes baitfish gill lines!
- Strike King Rage Tail – If you want a craw trailer for your chatterbait, this is the one to consider. Provides lots of action underwater and is made of very high-quality materials.
Recommended Spinnerbait Trailers
- Z-Man Slim Swimz – A swimbait with lots of finesse. This has a scaled-down paddle tail that mimics baitfish almost perfectly, grabbing the attention of any bass passing by.
- Yamamoto Double Tail Grub – A wonderful soft plastic grub trailer that helps slow down your retriever to encourage more bites.
- Zoom Fluke – One of the best flukes on the market! It offers little in the way of action, but the realism is uncanny. It mimics minnows extremely well, attracting plenty of attention.
Other trailers exist for each category, but these are our recommendations based on what the pros say. Use all of the information in this guide to help you understand trailers and how to use them when bass fishing.