UPCOMING EVENT: T-H Marine BFL - 2019 - Lake Okeechobee

FISHING LEAGUE WORLDWIDE

Review: Z-Man ChatterBait Jack Hammer

ChatterBait Jack Hammer

Spending $16 for a ChatterBait might sound ludicrous to some people, but maybe their priorities are all wrong. I think I’ve bought about a half-dozen Z-Man ChatterBait Jack Hammers now, and though they’re certainly expensive for non-hard baits, they do work very well. How you justify the cost is up to you.

 

ChatterBait Jack Hammer

The construction details

The argument for spending so much on a vibrating jig begins with better components and construction, and by and large I think the Jack Hammer, which was designed by Brett Hite and built in cooperation by Evergreen and Z-Man, succeeds in justifying its place atop the ChatterBait ranks.

The blade is similar to, but not exactly like a standard ChatterBait blade. The main difference is at the tip. The upward bend begins closer to the top, so a larger portion of the blade is left flat. The angle of the bend at the tip also appears shallower. Combined, I expect those slight tweaks are part of the reason the bait has more thump than some of the standard ChatterBait models.

The head of the Jack Hammer has a more weight-forward design than the usual vibrating jig as well. The blade is set back a hair, not as much as on the Picasso Shock Blade, but more than usual. One drawback of the Shock Blade is that the blade hits against the head and wears the lead down after a while. That happens a tiny bit with the Jack Hammer.

The weight-forward design extends to the keeper on the Jack Hammer, which is wire and double-barbed instead of lead. Though there is a little lead on the shank past the skirt, much of the weight is really concentrated under and slightly behind the blade. With so much weight up front, the bait can drop more quickly and vertically, and I suspect it contributes to how well the Jack Hammer stays down in the water column. Finally, the paint jobs are quite durable, and the painted-on weight identifications are handy and surprisingly long lasting.

The final three components are the hook, the skirt and the snap. The hook is from Gamakatsu and is unimpeachable. It’s sharp, strong and just the right size, but both the skirt and the snap leave a little to be desired. The skirt is hand-tied, which contributes to the extra cost and has led to some inconsistencies. There are plenty of true stories about skirts falling off in a matter of a few casts or one or two fish. Of course, I’ve caught 20 pounds multiple times on one Jack Hammer with no skirt issues, so the ideal execution of the skirt is fine. The snap is a Decoy Egg Snap, and it is sized very well, but it needs to be watched because, in my opinion, it’s not as strong as some of the other options out there. I’ve replaced one with a heavier snap and saw no ill effects, and I’d be very interested to see an option with the same snap that is on the Z-Man Custom ChatterBait.

For $16, you don’t really want any issues. Assuming Z-Man irons out the hand-tied skirts, I think the only real issue is the snap, which might be a design choice with a function I’m simply not tuned in to.

 

ChatterBait Jack Hammer

How it fishes

When you actually start slinging the Jack Hammer around, I think you’re almost guaranteed to have a positive experience with it. It seems to skip a little better than some other vibrating jigs, the fish like it and I believe it has a tendency to run a little deeper. I’ve mostly matched it up with a Yamamoto Zako or a small swimbait such as a Reaction Innovations Little Dipper, but I’m sure it works well with almost any trailer you’re feeling.

It runs through grass and open water just fine, but it still sticks up in wood like any ordinary vibrating jig. There are some vibrating jigs with weed guards, and I think they have a place around wood, but for the most part the standard style can get the job done if you’re careful. Most vibrating jigs come through and over rock pretty well, and I’ve fished this one around rock a lot with good results.

 

Jody White

The verdict

I believe the Jack Hammer has a little more thump than a standard vibrating jig, and I’m certain the hook is better than what’s on most other vibrating jigs, but I don’t think it’s so good that it’ll end up head and shoulders over other baits. It’s very expensive, and there are plenty of other things to spend $16 on. Yet, if you do shell out, you’re getting a bait that will put ’em in the boat.

 

Details

Company: Z-Man

Product: Z-Man ChatterBait Jack Hammer

Colors: 9

Weights: 3/8 and 1/2 ounce

Price: $15.99 each

Tags: jody-white  tech-tackle-reviews 

/news/2019-01-15-top-10-baits-from-sam-rayburn

Top 10 Baits from Sam Rayburn

Fishing deep-diving crankbait, dragging Carolina rigs and working finesse baits such as drop-shots were the keys to success at the FLW Tour opener at Sam Rayburn. Here are the bass-fishing baits that the top pros used. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-09-cecil-s-final-morning-of-practice

Cecil’s Final Morning of Practice

Russell Cecil is one of a number of standout Texas anglers fishing the FLW Tour opener this week on Sam Rayburn. After a lackluster rookie campaign in 2018, fishing near home is a great opportunity for the Willis, Texas, pro to get the year started off strong. Though the conditions are far from normal, a few hours on the final day of practice reveal that Cecil certainly has a read on the bass. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-07-figuring-out-rayburn-with-powell

Figuring Out Rayburn with Powell

Hensley Powell has quickly and quietly amassed quite a record with FLW. In just three years fishing the Costa FLW Series, he’s earned over $90,000, and he got a win at Table Rock in the Central Division in 2018. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-07-sam-rayburn-lake-tour

Sam Rayburn Lake Tour

This year, the FLW Tour kicks off in Texas with a showdown presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn. Big Sam hasn’t hosted too many FLW Tour events in the past, but it’s loaded with bass and bass fishing history. The lake is much higher than normal right now, which will no doubt produce different fishing than is typical for winter on Rayburn. READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-06-practice-starts-at-rayburn

Practice Starts at Rayburn

Day one of practice for the FLW Tour presented by Polaris on Sam Rayburn started this morning. We hung around takeoff to see friends we haven't seen in months and to get the season underway.  READ MORE »

/news/2019-01-04-high-water-will-factor-at-rayburn

High Water will Factor at Rayburn

Typical winter fishing on Sam Rayburn would call for a lot of lipless crankbaits, Carolina rigs and a focus on offshore structure and submerged grass. However, for the FLW Tour opener January 10-13 a lot of that may be out the window – or at least a lot different than many of the Rayburn sticks in the field are used to. Sam Rayburn has risen steadily since December 10th, and as of January 3, the lake is at 171.43 feet, which is 7 feet over full pool of 164.4 feet. READ MORE »

/tips/2019-01-02-2019-rookie-rundown

2019 Rookie Rundown

No matter how you get to the FLW Tour, you’re only a rookie once. This year, 34 pros are taking their talents on Tour for the first time. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-19-how-to-catch-winter-spotted-bass

How to Catch Winter Spotted Bass

Some of the best fishing of the year in the South occurs on the reservoirs with spotted bass in Georgia and the Carolinas. As a guide on Lake Lanier, FLW Tour pro Rob Jordan is adept at staying on the spots all winter. He knows when to fish deep or go shallow, and how to apply a jigging spoon, jig, underspin and crankbait to take full advantage of the opportunities. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-19-rookie-profile-ron-nelson

Rookie Profile: Ron Nelson  

While plenty of the Tour’s new pros have impressive resumes, few boast records as well-rounded and superlative as Ron Nelson’s. After years of success at the Costa FLW Series level, it’s finally time to see what the Michigan angler can do against the best in the nation.   READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-14-how-to-fish-umbrella-rigs-for-bass

How to Fish Umbrella Rigs for Bass

Castable umbrella rigs, also called Alabama rigs or A-rigs, were first deployed in tournament bass fishing by Paul Elias in the 2011 FLW Tour Open on Lake Guntersville. Since then, they’ve garnered a lot of controversy and caught a lot of bass. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-10-sinking-a-staysee-for-winter-bass

Sinking a Staysee for Winter Bass

Fishing late and early in the season is often challenging. Because the water is cold, it can take a lot more patience to find fish or to coax them into biting. If you truly want to put your patience to the test, you might consider fishing a jerkbait ultra-slow. If you want to try for superhuman patience, you might want to fish a jerkbait like Cody Murray. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-05-hallman-s-5-go-to-baits-for-new-lakes

Hallman’s 5 Go-To Baits for New Lakes

Deciding how best to figure things out on a new lake is one of the toughest challenges Tour pros and regular anglers alike encounter. Sometimes familiarity with the style of lake makes it easy, but other times you eventually need to stretch well outside of your comfort zone. Bradley Hallman has had success all over the country, and he’s got a stable of baits that he likes to rely on early in the process of breaking down a new lake. Your starting baits might be a little different, but Hallman’s approach to new water is worth considering. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-12-04-review-graph-glass

Review: Graph Glass

Graph Glass is a tempered screen protector that you can self-install on the most popular models of fishing electronics. For about $45 to $60 per unit, it protects the screen from flying tungsten or other projectiles, and there are other benefits as well. As far as I can tell, it’s a real winner of a product. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-11-30-cecil-s-shallow-cranking-menu

Cecil’s Shallow Cranking Menu

You can get by with a favorite crankbait or two for a lot of situations, but expanding your arsenal might not be a bad thing either. For cranking less than 6 feet deep, Cecil has six main baits he relies on, with a slightly different application for each. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-11-27-review-berkley-maxscent-creature-hawg

Review: Berkley MaxScent Creature Hawg

Back in 2017 at ICAST I opined that the new Berkley PowerBait MaxScent lineup would be good for smallmouths and more convenient than Gulp!, but wouldn’t make much of a dent in the flipping game. Then a couple weeks ago I burned through four Berkley PowerBait MaxScent Creature Hawg packs in two days and ordered a pile more. I don’t know if the rest of the world is doing it, but I’m certainly on the way toward proving myself wrong. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-11-26-carolina-rigging-with-castledine

Carolina Rigging with Castledine

Todd Castledine has long been one of the most fearsome anglers to fish against in Texas. The Nacogdoches pro is good at nearly everything, particularly sight-fishing, but one of his secret weapons is undoubtedly a Carolina rig. From using it for finding offshore structure to catching finicky bass, he’s almost always got one or two tied up on the deck of his Ranger – and you should too. READ MORE »

/news/2018-11-12-corn-wins-wild-card

Corn Wins Wild Card

Faced with brutal conditions for the final event of the 2018 T-H Marine Bass Fishing League season, everyone who managed to catch anything in the Wild Card on Old Hickory Lake in central Tennessee accomplished something. READ MORE »

/tips/2018-11-07-hallman-s-favorite-bait

Hallman’s Favorite Bait

We all have favorite baits. Usually, they develop over time due to a level of comfort with the technique, some signature successes and that extra feel of confidence when you can lock it in your hand. For some, it’s a topwater. If you’re from Florida, it might be a big jig or a punching rig. If you grew up on the Tennessee River, you might cherish a deep-diving crankbait or a swimbait. READ MORE »

/news/2018-11-05-top-10-baits-from-lake-guntersville

Top 10 Baits from Lake Guntersville

You can flip it, frog it, punch it and fish any number of moving baits through it. It’s grass, of course, and Lake Guntersville is full of it. That’s why so many grass-fishing baits were in the mix among the top 10 finishers at the 2018 Costa FLW Series Championship on Guntersville. READ MORE »

/news/2018-10-31-guntersville-lake-tour

Guntersville Lake Tour

Winding through Tennessee, north Alabama and Kentucky, the Tennessee River is studded with some of the most legendary reservoirs in bass-fishing history. Many would argue that Lake Guntersville is the best of the bunch, and though that is up for debate on any given year, Guntersville’s place in fishing history is undeniable. This week, the lake is under heavy pressure from a local championship event, anglers out to have fun and the 198 pros and co-anglers in the Costa FLW Series Championship. Here’s a look at what they’ll encounter on the water. READ MORE »