The phrase “Can you hear me now,” was made famous by a popular phone service. These words relate now to a popular fishing jig. Savvy anglers know that fish respond to all their senses to feed and survive so it makes sense to appeal to as many as you can.
Charles and Vicky Sablatura own and operate the ChickyTackle company where they make the Rockport Rattler jig head. Appealing to the sense of sound is what their jighead is all about, but there is more. “We hired a marine scientist out of Texas A&M Corpus Christi,” says Charles. “I wanted to know what would cause a fish, that was not feeding, to become aggressive enough to make a reactionary strike.”
Simply put, the scientist reported that fish have several senses and if you can tickle those senses you can get fish to strike whether he is hungry or not. “That’s what we try to do with our jigs. We use bright colors, light reflecting eyes and we mold a rattle inside.” The rattle is molded into the head along side the hook. Both the head and the steel in the hook work to resonated sound outside the soft plastic body that covers the hook. Charles and Vicky received a patent in 2009 and introduced their jig to the saltwater market.
The Rockport Rattler name comes from the fact that the company got started in Rockport, Texas. “We got our start in Texas,” says Vicky, “manufacturing jigs for redfish, trout, flounder and drum.”
A lot of thought went into developing the Rockport Rattler to help anglers catch fish. “We solved several problems,” states Charles. “First, the rattle is built in and you are not likely to lose it. It won’t squirt out when a fish bites. Second, you are not going to change the action of your bait because you are not inserting the rattle in the back of the plastic as is normally done. Manufactures spend a lot of time and money to give their plastic baits the proper action and the jig should not alter that action. Finally, because the rattle is along side the hook it produces a much louder noise. We have tested our jigs underwater in a quite room with a DB meter where they test out 4 times louder than inserting a plastic inside the plastic itself.”
Charles describes the Rockport Rattler as an integral part of an angler’s offering. “Our jig head is no longer a passive component in a bait presentation, dragging a piece of plastic through the water. It is an active participant. It provides the sound, the vibration, that gets that sensory system going on the fish to cause a strike. The light reflecting eyes attracts attention to the head and anglers get lots more head strikes instead of tail bites. We can out-catch any other jig head on the market and that has been proven.”
The company downsized their successful saltwater jigs and jumped into the crappie market about a year ago. “I read something that said there were more panfish anglers in the US than any other species,” said Charles. “It was hard for me to believe, but that sounded like a market worth exploring.”
The crappie jigs are the same concept and technology, but the smaller sizes are what crappie anglers wanted. The Rockport Rattler is equally adept for pushing, pulling or single pole jigging. “Think of 6 to 8 rods,” says Charles, “in a spider rig setup. The wave action on your boat is making those rod tips bounce up and down. It’s like having a whole band of maracas under the water rattling up those fish.”
The success of the Rockport Rattler was demonstrated recently at the Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters Classic on Mississippi’s Lake Grenada. Pro anglers Matt Morgan and Kent Watson are Rockport Rattler pro staff anglers. They finished the first day of the tournament in the lead. “In order to catch those fish we had to get right on the edge or right on the top of a ditch and swing our jigs back and forth,” stated Morgan. “When you are moving those Rockport Rattlers back and forth with the trolling motor, kind of right to left, they swing up and down.” Morgan explained that once they go up and come down the minnow provides live action that makes those rattles set there and tick, tick, tick. “Once we let that boat come to a momentary stop it made those fish react with a strike.
“The Rockport Rattler has helped our catch rate go up.” That first day of the Classic the Morgan-Watson team had six poles out, rigged with six ¼ ounce Rockport Rattlers on the bottom hooks. Out of 20 fish caught on the day 15 were caught on the Rockport Rattlers.
Watson reported having 7 fish by 10:00 using the Rockport Rattlers. Four of the 7 fish were over 2 pounds. “Catching fish early allowed us to scout for day two,” said Watson. “We left that spot and planned our strategy for the next day.”
“Rockport Rattlers are a reinvention of the jig head,” says Morgan. “ A lot of people don’t know about them, but they are going to be more and more used. People are going to become more aware of them because of the success that comes from fishing them.”
Charles Sablatura says, “We feel like we are changing the paradigm on jig heads and we are very proud of that.” Anglers are using the jig as a dinner bell for fish. In fact, that is their company tag line – “Dinner Bell For Fish.”
For more information on Rockport Rattlers visit their website at www.rockportrattler.com. For more information on the Bass Pro Shops Crappie Masters All American Tournament Trail visit their site at www.crappiemasters.net/home. For information on rod holders for spider rigging and other applications visit http://www.driftmaster.com/Spider-Rigs.html.