The ‘JackHammer Classic’

Coveted Z-Man® ChatterBait® bladed jig dominates Bassmaster championship once again

Ladson, SC (March 17, 2020) – After another inspiring performance at the 50th annual Bassmaster Classic—and an ever-expanding tournament stat-sheet that reads like a sports dynasty— the Z-Man ChatterBait JackHammer™ has become, arguably, the hottest bass bait in the nation.

Consider the past three Bassmaster Classics. In 2019, tournament champion Ott DeFoe flung crankbaits but noted that his key lure on Championship Sunday was a “3/8-ounce unnamed bladed jig, chartreuse-white, with an unnamed pearl white, fluke-style trailer.”

Inevitably, fans and media arrived at the same conclusion: the winning unnamed bladed jig was, in fact, a Z-Man ChatterBait JackHammer.

2020 Bassmaster Classic winner Hank Cherry jumped out to a big lead on day one, thanks to a Fire Craw pattern ChatterBait JackHammer. (Photo by BASS / Andy Crawford)

At the 2018 Classic, contending angler Gerald Swindle made a confession: “I caught every bass this week on a half-ounce ChatterBait, the JackHammer. I’m not sponsored by ‘em; I paid fifteen-ninety-nine a piece for ‘em, just like y’all do. I got about eleven-hundred dollar’s-worth of them; I won’t lie to you.” Swindle wasn’t alone, as numerous other Classic contenders wielded what was at the time the hottest unidentified bait in bass fishing circles.

Well before last week’s Classic was underway, of course, the JackHammer had certainly become a well-known commodity— a bigtime confidence lure celebrated for its propensity to induce mega bass bites. At the 2020 Lake Guntersville Classic, seven of the top thirteen anglers—none of them sponsored by Z-Man— called the JackHammer an instrumental lure.

Matt Herren with a double clutch of Z-Man ChatterBait JackHammers. (Photo by BASS / Andy Crawford)

The Champ – Wielding a ½-ounce Hite’s Hot Craw-colored ChatterBait JackHammer, Hank Cherry effectually locked up the Classic on day one, having boated the tournament-best bag of 29-pounds 3-ounces. Among Cherry’s day-one JackHammer limit were two monster 7-pound largemouths and enough total weight to give him a nearly 8-pound cushion. While Cherry rounded out days two and three with a jerkbait and a jig—winning by nearly 7-pounds—there’s little doubt his Friday JackHammer program made the winning difference. (Did we mention Cherry wasn’t paid to fish a ChatterBait?)

2nd Place – In spite of copious post-tournament coverage focusing on lipless crankbaits, second-place finisher Todd Auten actually caught ten of the fifteen bass he weighed on a ½-ounce ChatterBait JackHammer. Auten retrieved the lure through shallow eelgrass, in attempts to trigger prespawn bass made somewhat sluggish by the cooling water. Each time the ChatterBait grabbed a plant stalk, Auten would rip the lure free, often inciting an immediate strike.

Of particular intrigue was the JackHammer pattern tied to Auten’s bladed jig rod—a bright orange number known as Fire Craw. Earlier this year, Major League Fishing Tour angler Jordan Lee showcased the pattern at a tournament, prompting fellow anglers to snatch up as many of the red-hot color as they could find. (The radiant orange JackHammer pattern has apparently become such a hot seller that recent eBay auctions have fetched between $60 and $100 for a single lure.)

4th Place – Rod rigged with a ½-ounce Clearwater Shad-pattern JackHammer, fourth-place finisher Seth Feider targeted clumps of hydrilla in 5 to 6 feet of water. Feider noted that the hydrilla grew slightly taller than the adjacent eelgrass, perhaps providing loftier cover. The Minnesota based angler triggered many of his largemouths by speeding the bait up with a quick turn of the reel handle and a pop of the rod. On Sunday, Feider said the JackHammer proved a key bait in his impressive 21-pound 13-ounce limit, which helped vault him from 11th to 4th.

In addition to 1st, 2nd and 4th place finishes, four more anglers in the top 13 called the JackHammer one of their most important baits:

  • 6th place – John Crews cast a ½-ounce JackHammer (Hite’s Hot Craw), a flipping jig and a Spro crankbait.
  • 10th place – Matt Herren clutched a pair of rods tied to ½-ounce JackHammers, a White and a Green Pumpkin pattern. He also tossed an XCalibur lipless crankbait.
  • 11th place – Jason Williamson threw a White 3/8-ounce JackHammer, a ½-ounce jig and a Booyah lipless crank.
  • 13th place – David Mullins relied on a ½-ounce JackHammer (Spot Remover) and a 6-inch swimbait.

Grae Buck weighs 18-4 on the final day.

Not to be overlooked was the performance of Bassmaster Classic rookie and Z-Man pro Grae Buck. Armed with his favorite big bass lure, Buck weighed a respectable bag of 18-pounds 4-ounces the final day, enough to rise in the standings and earn a 20th place finish. “Day two, I caught my biggest bass on a Green Pumpkin Shad JackHammer with a Z-Man RaZor ShadZ™ trailer,” recalls Buck, who qualified for his first Classic after winning the 2020 Bassmaster Eastern Open at Oneida Lake, NY.

“On Sunday, I caught my limit on a Rapala DT-6 crankbait and then went searching for kickers. Throwing the same JackHammer combo, I caught a 5-plus and a 4 and culled out two of my smaller bass. The limit moved me up five places in the standings.

“Out of the five biggest fish I have caught in my life,” Buck attests, “four of them ate a ChatterBait JackHammer. I caught my personal best 9-pounder this year on Sam Rayburn during the first Tackle Warehouse (FLW) Pro Circuit event. The JackHammer simply catches the largest bass in the lake. But it also produces lots of bites—that’s a winning combination in a tournament, or just for a fun day on the water.”

Designed by Japanese lure maker Evergreen International, in cooperation with professional angler Brett Hite, the ChatterBait JackHammer remains the most refined and highest-grade bladed jig ever produced. Smartly integrated elements such as a flat-bottom, low center of gravity head and super hard stainless steel blade enable the JackHammer to start vibrating immediately, stay deep and “hunt” in an erratic, side-to-side motion that consistently produces big bites.

Z-Man pro and Classic rookie Grae Buck is pumped on his final practice day.


About Z-Man Fishing Products: A dynamic Charleston, South Carolina based company, Z-Man Fishing Products has melded leading edge fishing tackle with technology for nearly three decades. Z-Man has long been among the industry’s largest suppliers of silicone skirt material used in jigs, spinnerbaits and other lures. Creator of the Original ChatterBait®, Z-Man is also the renowned innovators of 10X Tough ElaZtech softbaits, fast becoming the most coveted baits in fresh- and saltwater. Z-Man is one of the fastest-growing lure brands worldwide.

About ElaZtech®: Z-Man’s proprietary ElaZtech material is remarkably soft, pliable, and 10X tougher than traditional soft plastics. ElaZtech resists nicks, cuts, and tears better than other softbaits and boasts one of the highest fish-per-bait ratings in the industry, resulting in anglers not having to waste time searching for a new bait when the fish are biting. This unique material is naturally buoyant, creating a more visible, lifelike, and attractive target to gamefish. Unlike most other soft plastic baits, ElaZtech contains no PVC, plastisol or phthalates, and is non-toxic.


Cory Schmidt

Traditions Media, LLC

[email protected]

(218) 821-4148

Jim Edlund

Traditions Media, LLC

[email protected]

(612) 481-7396

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