Ladson, SC – “This little blade really sings,” asserts Z-Man pro Luke Clausen, assessing the new, baby-sized bladed jig at the end of his line. After studying the lure’s physical assets, Clausen goes subsurface, contemplating how bass perceive the fresh-from-the-oven ChatterBait MiniMax on its levels of action and sound.
“Everyone’s throwing ChatterBaits these days—and for good reason,” notes Clausen. “But that means bass eventually tune out the same baits and vibration, cast after cast, day after day. It’s been a major motivating factor driving the development of this new, bite-sized ChatterBait: to produce a subtler sound, profile and a vibe that stands apart from traditional bladed jigs.”
From the first crank of the reel with Z-Man’s finely-honed ChatterBait MiniMax, lively tremors up the line sing an alternative tune— albeit, a few octaves above the usual bladed jig melody. As Clausen notes, too, its downsized blade and frame yield advantages such as the ability to burn the bait like there’s no tomorrow.
Turbo-boosted by a thumbnail-sized ChatterBlade®, the new ChatterBait MiniMax Compact Bladed Jig is balanced out with a high-grade 2/0 black nickel hook, dual molded conical trailer-keeper and premium wire-tied silicone skirts. Echoing the trademark ChatterBait sound and action on a higher-frequency scale, the MiniMax features Z-Man’s patented direct head-to-blade connection—the exclusive, undeniable force that continues to propel the ChatterBait’s on-water dominance.
“With this sweet little dude tied on, you can go right in behind anglers who’ve just swept through areas with regular ChatterBaits and other lures and really clean house,” notes the likeable Clausen, a topnotch MLF/Bass Pro Tour angler. “I’ve thrown it in heavily fished Florida lakes and I suspect it will eventually be a player there as well as in Texas and beyond. Can’t wait to show it to smallmouths on clearwater fisheries up north.”
Clausen continues: “Certainly, bass eat the MiniMax because it shudders, thumps and goes erratic like a full-sized ChatterBait. But when bass target smaller forage, the downsized bladed jig becomes a convincing match. And it’s a great choice for smaller lakes and ponds—for fish that see lots of baits and are tougher to fool. Love that I can throw the little quarter-ouncer on a spinning rod; the bait just catches fish everywhere, especially in pressured places where the bigger bass have been caught before.”
Among those pressured places are Susquehanna and St. Lawrence rivers, the haunts of legendary smallmouth bass guide Joe Raymond. “On the ‘Susky’ and a lot of other waters, we’re seeing unprecedented numbers of people out fishing,” notes Raymond. “The fish—especially the big smallmouths—have become a lot tougher to catch. When everyone is fishing the same-size bladed jig, the fish feel that same vibration, or underwater footprint, over and over again. They get used to it, and eventually, don’t respond to it.
“But when you swim a smaller bladed jig like the MiniMax near those same fish, you get a totally different response because the vibration operates on a completely different frequency. Matches the underwater signature of smaller forage, and big smallmouths are tricked by it.”
An overlooked advantage of the MiniMax’s sound, suggests Clausen, comes from its direct blade-to-jig connection. “We designed the bait so the blade would constantly collide with the nose of the jighead. Clack-clack-clack. You can’t do this with any other blade-to-jig linkage, and it’s absolutely one of the under-the-radar aspects of the bait’s appeal. Beyond the primary vibration of the blade oscillating through the water, a lot of anglers believe this secondary clacking noise is the secret sauce.
“If you suddenly notice your MiniMax’s jighead has two little rubs on either side of the eyelet, don’t return the bait! That just means it’s working, doing its thing—and you’re going to catch fish.”
Clausen calls out an additional benefit of the downsized blade. “Because we coupled the MiniMax’s blade with compact, but relatively heavy jigheads up to ½-ounce, we’re able to burn this little bait faster than a traditional ChatterBait. The smaller blade essentially balances the bait, stops it from rolling over. Also means it’s killer in heavy current and rivers because it stays down in the water column.”
For MiniMax trailers, Clausen opts for 3- and 4-inch finesse paddletails, craws and creatures. “The Baby GOAT™ fishes awesome on this ChatterBait,” he suggests. “Rig it ‘flat’ to slow it down, or orient the GOAT vertically, so it swims and acts like a double paddletail. The 3-inch Slim SwimZ™ is another natural MiniMax complement.”
Ideal for rivers, Raymond remains a fan of rigging his ‘finesse ChatterBaits’ with the 3.5-inch Z-Man GrubZ™, presenting a streamlined yet lively morsel in heavy current.
Bite-sized and super-efficient in the water, the ChatterBait MiniMax delivers a bite-sized lure with muscular bladed jig performance. Available in November, the ChatterBait MiniMax features ¼-, 3/8- and ½-ounce sizes. Eight elite skirt patterns are color-matched to each jighead. Among the exclusive patterns are a new refined Fire Craw color and a special “Spot Remover” pattern with a neutral, clear-coated jighead. MSRP is $8.99 each. For more information, visit www.zmanfishing.com.