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Ridgeback Rattler Downrigger Weights
3232 S. Grove
Monroe, MI 48162
Dave Mull , Editor, Great Lakes Angler Magazine
I have to tell you, the more I use Ridgeback Rattlers, the more I’m sold on them. And I’ll be the first to admit I was skeptical. We caught most of our fish on cut bait behind Ridgebacks over the weekend, again we had to fish deep and didn’t have any problems with tracking issues. You have an exceptional product that deserves a place in every fisherman’s boat.
Editor, Great Lakes Angler Magazine
Joe Yeager , President of LOTSA
I used two of your 9 lb ers (1 black and 1 original) over the course of the year on Lake Ontario. I felt the Black one outperformed the original (too much flash) through out the year. I’ve had times when they have been the best on the boat, times where they were about the same and a few times when I had to take them off to catch fish. I start out with them each trip and let the fish tell me what they want. I consider them one of my “go to” tools to catch Kings with.
An excellent example of this was the Spring Scotty Downrigger Tournament. The first Tournament day I had to take them off to catch Kings. On the second day we had a good box and needed one more good King to complete it. It was mid day and the Kings had turned off for us and everyone. We had changed many things to no avail. I put down the Rattler on my center rigger with a 4 foot lead to the same spoon we had been fishing on it. My crew was not happy as they felt that would really turn off our program based upon our previous days experience. Five minutes later the rod went off with a big King that placed us in 7th out of around 80 boats! I made some believers that day!
President of LOTSA
I had a chance to run the Rattlers again this past summer. We had times when we could see fish come up off the bottom to check out our Rattler, we then switched back to a round ball and the fish stopped coming off the bottom until we switched back. Also could see a big difference on the graph with the Rattlers down, they leave a larger “sonar” trail in the water. We will keep on fishing them as I know they work.
Joe Majewski , Everett, Washington
I was very excited about the Ridgeback Rattler. I believe that there is a fishing methodology that can be built around it. I think that it can be used as a primary attractor component and offer an angler a simple, hardware free rod, reel and lure combination. This along with the precision that a downrigger system offers, would be an effective salmon trolling technique.
Jeff Provost , Marquette, Michigan
“I purchased a set of 9 lbs. Ridgeback Rattlers this past July. I was very eager to give them a shot based on information of the GLA web site. I ran two riggers all summer. I would alternate between the Ridgeback Rattlers and Tru-Trac weights (10 lbs). When it came to running the I experimented a lot. The most successful program was a 10′ lead off the Ridgeback Rattler with a stacker line rn about 12′ above with a 50′ lead. I got more hits on the stacker lines, but I noticed when I took the Ridgeback Rattles up and replaced them with Tru-Tracs, I got less hits. So even if the Ridgeback Rattlers weren’t producing fish, they certainly brought them into my spread. I averaged 10 hours per day with an average of 2.5 days per week on the water between July and the end of August.
I have recently upgraded boats and will be running a four rigger spread next summer so I look forward to putting the Ridgeback Rattlers to use full time.
I bought two from Bob’s Outdoors mid-summer this year. We ended up 24th out of 110 in the Cheboygan tournament (should have been top 10 but lost a nice King at the net). Due to work this was the only tournament I could fish this year. I have been running the Ridgebacks on the center two riggers and higher and tighter than the out downs and that’s worked well. I’ve found that attractor/flys and attractor/cut bait combos work better on the outdowns with spoons on the Ridgebacks. This is what we ran in the open water. Now in the St. Mary’s river (Sault Ste. Marie) I almost think they are too much. The water in the river is pretty constant 30-35 feet with a 3-4 mph current. I have dropped down to one Ridgeback and had better luck then with two, still keeping the Ridgeback higher and tighter than the other riggers. Also we ran a lot of j-plugs up here in the fall and the plugs seem to produce off the Ridgebacks but not as tight to the boat, maybe 15-20 feet back as opposed to 10-15 feet. I am very pleased with the performance as far as tracing and blow back in deeper water and where we are with stronger currents.
Got two 9 lb. Ridgeback Rattlers last winter and, although I am only in my second year of (not) frequent salmon trolling, there are definitely times they seem to make a difference. I had quite a bit of success on a free slider spoon on an 8 foot lead above the Ridgeback Rattler anywhere between 10 (spring) and 40 (more arc in line) feet down.
The main thing I noticed with the Rattlers compared to the TruTracks that the fish did notice them. Many more fish moving in the sounder graph with the Rattlers in the spread.
The last trip was the first one using both Rattlers and sharks. I ran the Ridgebacks on my out-down riggers and the sharks on the inside riggers. Like many have reported, the number of fish I saw coming up to look at the rigger weights on the graph was more than I had seen in many years. Twice one came from 140 feet down on the bottom to the Ridgeback at 70 and a shark at 90 feet down. One hit the spoon on the Rattler. The other peeled off but then the rod on the rigger with the shark at 90 feet popped. I know what fish that was!
Caption Bruce Nicholson, KCK Sportfishing Charters, LLC
I am a charter captain out of the port of Whitehall. Been fishing 20 years there. I gotta tell you that about mid July a buddy of mine who captains a boat in Whitehall and port Clinton brought back 4 Ridgebacks from Ohio at the end of the walleye season. This was the first time I had the opportunity to run them. I only have three riggers and he let me use two of the Ridgebacks. I am convinced that they outfish other weights now. On numerous trips I would average 4-6 fish on the riggers out of a 10-12 fish trip average. The Rattlers caught 3-5 of them compared to the round ball 14 lb. on the shoot from the probe. As a matter of fact, I won the local salmon tourney in August. It was weigh your best 6 fish. We had 13 fish that day and 4 of the 6 we weighted in came on the rigger with the Rattler on it. So it also attracts and catches big fish. Unfortunately my buddy got in a little steering problem when a customer screwed the autopilot up and he cut off two riggers in his prop and you guessed it they were the two with his Rattlers on them. Se he claimed my two back. From about the 24th of August on I didn’t have them and my rigger fishing slowed dramatically again.
You have a great downrigger weight. I wasn’t convinced and didn’t want to spend the money to try them, but now I am convinced. Heck I could even mark the bubbles on my graph Raytheon L750 and on my buddy’s Furuno.
Caption Bruce Nicholson
KCK Sportfishing Charters, LLC
Boat name: Chantilly Lace III
Whitehall/Montague Sportfishing Association
I purchased one of your 9 lb (black) downrigger weights. The Ridgeback Rattler has worked well for me, however I do not fish tournaments. The first thing I noticed about the Ridgeback Rattler was the Sonor reading. I was in 40 feet of water, and could plainly see the disturbance made by your product on my Lowrance Locater.
I have used several types of setups behind the Ridgeback Rattler with success. The best setup for me was a J-plug gets more action due to the turbulence created by the Ridgeback Rattler. I have also had good luck using a Mepps Aglia spinner 15 to 20 feet behind the Ridgeback Rattle.
This Downrigger weight has helped me to quickly test the attitude of fish. If I see fish coming off bottom (on my locater) and the downrigger trips, I know the fish are in an aggressive mood. If they are aggressive, I’ll put out an aggressive spread. (Dipsy Divers, and high speed cranks) I’ll also troll faster.
If they follow the Ridgeback Rattler, but do not strike, then I know the fish are in a neutral mood. When this happens, I keep the Ridgeback Rattle out working and use a “stealth” presentation, usual a wire line rod with a Dodger and fly or a crankbait trailed just off and increase the stretch for all of my lures.
I’ll also use my other downrigger to put a single spoon or small crankbait 20 feet lower and 75 feet behind my Ridgeback Rattler presentation. When the fish “disengage” from the Ridgeback Rattler, they’ll sink low in the water column and when they turn away, this other presentation comes past right in their face. This often gets a reaction strike.
Using this method, I am quickly able to fine tune my presentation according to the mood of the fish, which cuts down on wasted time considerably. I have caught several fish when the radio was full of talk from other boats that had gotten skunked. I have also trolled through an area recently fished by other boats and caught fish with the other “Skunked” boats watching.
There are times when the Ridgeback Rattler may be too much, (too aggressive) which is why I am considering buying one of the “Baby” Ridgeback Rattlers. It is an awesome product, and I won’t leave the boat dock without it.
“Hey Chip, been out 3 times this spring (2005) and caught 12-15 each trip, all off my downriggers. I’m sure your Ridgeback Rattlers are the ticket! In the spring last year (2004) it was 50/50 with riggers and dipsey’s or lead. I’m running only protype spoons right now, but I changed it around and they STILL hit on the downriggers! You have me hooked!
Paul Kik, Captain Salmonhead
“Just wanted to send you a note about my success with the RidgeBack Rattler. This past weekend in Grand Haven, I landed 79 fish in 4 days and I only fished a combined 18.5 hours! This has been the best weekend I have ever had in big lake fishing. I used the Ridgeback Rattlers religiously and kept my leads short. Most of the time leads were at a short 8′. A variety of colors in spoons worked and depths up to 100′ down. I have two riggers and had RR on both of them. One was the new heavyweight and one was last year’s standard weight. What I really like, besides their fish catching ability, is they show up on my graph so well, even when set quite deep. With round balls, I often loose sight of the ball on the graph. The Ridgeback Rattlers show up well at all depths I routinely fish.
Again this past weekend, Saw and caught many fish that swim up to 30′ of water depth to check out the Rattler. Quick adjustments can be made to make the fish to bite the lures.
Check out some of the pics.
Todd Derby, Captain Blind Date
“Wanted to give you an update on the Rattler. We fished in our first tournament this past weekend in Michigan City. During our prefish we found plenty of Coho and they were easy to put in the boat. Not much size but none the less easy to catch. Day one we caught 12 fish (10 Coho and 2 steelie) in about 2 hours. Then changed our program to a King presentation to find a big one which we did (12.5#). After Day one we were first place. (Amateur Division)
Day Two was similar, found fish immediately and was boating them with the exception, this day we lost 4 of our fish and we were stuck on 9 fish and the bite turned off. Until this point we had not ran the rattler, we put Ridgeback Rattler on one of the riggers and ran it and within the 1/2 hour we boated our last 3 fish. Overall we end ended up in a tie for 5th place missing 3rd by 4 OUNCES and second by 3 pounds. Again, the Rattler helped us out!!!!”
Craig MacPhee, Captain SICK TIME
“….Let me tell you what. Once we got the Ridgeback Rattlers doubled up on the outside riggers, they out fished our other rigs 4 to 1. This is not an exaggeration. They were doing so good we thought maybe it was just the action of the particular lures we were running. So what we did was switch to lures that hadn’t produced all day. Well, guess what, they took off and they took off good! During one stretch they went off as fast as they were going down. Scouts honor!! All I can tell you is a big THANK YOU from Larry Hartwick and I.”
“….We have concluded that there is DEFINITELY something to your Ridgeback Rattlers”
John Richmond AKA Salmonmaster
“I think the fish were attracted to the Ridgeback Rattler and they would hit anything in the vortex that it creates. I ran a Ridgeback Rattler and a normal downrigger ball and the fish hit both of them about the same. However, when I asked my friends how many hits they had on their normal weights, my hits were double the amount they had. So I know the Ridgeback Rattler works.”
Ben Milosevic, Captain of “Balls R Drag’n”
“At the Pro-King Harbor Beach Tournament, I managed a 3rd place with over 185 points with two of your Ridgebacks down along with my other weights. Out of 50 boats, I landed the most fish in weight, but took 3rd because of the point system…Bravo for the Ridgeback!”
Dale Bartlett, Captain of “Team Bandit”
“Very pleased with the Ridgeback Rattler Downrigger Weights so far and Chip is an Excellent guy.”
Curt Feldpausch, Captain Purple Taco
“Pre-fishing for the Grand Haven Offshore Classic, I smoked a 40″ 20# King off the Rattler. As a matter of fact, we took 4 more fish all over 12#. Two others came off the Rattlers. The Rattlers have not hurt my catch in the least bit. And the tracking is exceptional!!”
“Fisherman catch fish. The accessories you have aid you in our sport. I know we can’t afford to have everything. There is just toooooo many gimmicks out there on the market and they all promise to put magical fish in the box. The Ridgeback Rattler is NOT one of them. Chip has definitely got something here.
Tom Allen, Captain A-Tom-ik Flies
“I picked up 1 Ridgeback Rattler and ran it and had success, like with the sharks and torpedo’s, it didn’t out perform….held its own but didn’t out perform.”
“Now here is where the story differs. I started running two Ridgeback Rattlers in a five rigger spread. Where I have been fishing from 5:30 am to 7 am the action is awesome! I honestly couldn’t see where a weight could make a difference when you can’t keep the rigs in the water. I put the Ridgeback Rattlers down at about 7:15 am. There is no doubt in my mind the normal bite that slows at 7 am and comes to a stop at 9 am, continued longer. We picked away until 11 am that day taking fish until we quit. This is just several outings trying the new Ridgeback Rattlers, from what I have seen they will definitely be getting an honest shake for further reports.
Bob Roskey, Captain of “Cuttin’ Fool”
“….. here are pictures of fish caught with the Ridgeback Rattler. More to come soon. These downrigger weights are GREAT!”
I wanted to send you a note and tell you how pleased I am with my Ridgeback Rattler’s. I have now been running them for a couple of months and they have been great. There are a number of design elements that make them a great product from a usability point of view. The flat bottoms make handling them on a bouncy boat much easier. They mount onto the hook on my Cannon downrigger with ease and they track true in the water with much less weight than the 12# balls they replaced.
Those reasons alone would be enough to select them over tradition style weights, but they have been part of the new program I have been working the last month, which has better than doubled my catch rate. The combination of the Rattler’s and cut bait with Twinkie rigs and flashers has been remarkable. I fish out of Waukegan Illinois and have been doing so for the past 12 years. This by far has been my most productive year with 179 fish taken this season on 26 trips. 54 have been Kings with the majority taken over the last 5 weeks up to 26 pounds. I was on vacation last week and went out later than normal and by myself. Leaving the dock between 10 am and 11 am. Two Rattler’s on the corners 80 and 90 down in 100-120 feet of water along with a wire dipsey had my limit in the boat during the typically slowest part of the day in less than 3 hours on three different trips.
Here are a couple of shots from this past week but I will get some more after my trips this weekend. Thanks again for a wonderful product and great service.
Rob Burkhard , Captain of “Team Riptide”
Capt. Mike Diel, Reel Diel Fishing
Just wanted to give you a quick update. First, I love the weights. I’m sold on them being an effective attractor as well as a weight. Used them in the currents of the Niagara and was real impressed with the way they track. Down to around 140′ they tracked like a 10lb weight at 50′. Once I got down to around 160′ they started to blowback like a typical weight. I was running the releases above the RR.
So we are trolling using my standard balls for 3 hours and take only 2 lakers. Both coming off dipsy/dodger/fly combos. So I switch one weight to the RR and drop it to 100′ were we are marking hooks. Troll for about 15 min. see a hook right when we go by I watch it (the fish) come to the “trail”. So I pop the spoon from the clip…bam 1st king. Okay switch to 2 RR run ‘em deep and change speed around hooks. 5 more kings in 2 1/2 hours. I can’t wait to run these for the Spring LOC. Our biggest was around 23lbs. Will get back with you after a few more trips.
Capt. Mike Diel
REEL DIEL FISHING
Capt. Tomi Kolsi, FINLAND
The Ridgebacks worked awesome on Lake Vanern in Swedish waters. Fish were on the surface so we had to use longer release lenghts. I’ll write you a full report when I sum up all the strikes and catches from our notes.
We trolled a s***k on one rigger and a Ridgeback on the other to test them out and the Ridgeback beat the s***k, no questions asked.
Sincerely, Tomi Kolsi
Email of 7-15-06 from Tomi Kolsi, FINLAND
Yesterday Ridgebacks outperformed others, again. We found a good school of baitfish and immediately had a strike from it, on the second run over it a triple hook up and managed to land only one because they tangled the lines and straightened other hooks . On the 3rd and 4th run we had 1 fish per run, small and approx 5 kg fish got away… 2 other boats followed us to that spot fishing same depth and similar baits and they only had 1 fish on, at the same time we had 7 strikes, 4 of them on downrigger and Ridgebacks!!
It looks like I finally found a set up that works in here for the time being :
downrigger system :
60ft big oki release 3ft
50ft release 10ft
40ft release 12ft
55ft release 5ft
45ft big oki release 8ft
35ft release 15ft
Chip by the way, we don’t even have the s***ks on our boat anymore. We’ve done enough cross testing and the Ridgeback Rattler have taken their place on the end of our downrigger cables!!
Sincerely, Tomi Kolsi, Finland
Capt. Richard Hajecki
Man these last two weeks were amazing!! We fished between Wilson and the Niagara River mouth and absolutely murdered the kings. The Ridgebacks worked flawlessly.
We plucked 18-20 lb. kings off the bottom in 100-145 FOW. One thing I realized is that when a fish came shooting up to the Ridgeback it would swim with it for awhile. Usually with the other weights they would swim up to it and take off just as quick. I would watch these salmon swim in our spread for 20-30 seconds on the screen. Another example was when 6 lb. coho went from 15 ft. deep down to my rigger/Ridgeback and took the offering. And people say that salmon eat coming up to their prey!
I made sure that while docked I had the Ridgebacks hanging from my downrigger weight holder. Everyone that walked by noticed them and asked about them.
Sincerely, Capt. Richard Hajecki
Capt. Andrew Wondrash, MAX’D OUT
We fished our first tournament with Ridgebacks and I just wanted to thank you for a very fine product. We boated a 20.9# king on Friday and ended up in 6th place big king with that fish. Looking forward to running the Ridgebacks this year.
Sincerely, Andrew Wondrash, Two Rivers, WI
Capt. Scott Gauthier, BUZZ ON
Chip, The Ridgebacks are awesome. I have no doubt they make a difference and they played a major roll in our recent victory in the Michigan Brown Trout festival in Alpena. I’m sold on them!!
The fish not only see the Ridgebacks, but they FEEL them and come from great distances to investigate. Definately a great product.
Sincerely, Scott Gauthier
Mr. Wahl with some fine Lake O kings taken behind Ridgeback Rattler Downrigger Weights.
Ladies Team “Fishing Again”
On July 24th 2008 Ladies Team “Fishing Again” won the ladies tournament at the Alpena Brown Trout Festival. Total weight 48.95 with one lake Trout tipping the scales at 21.40 lb and 38 1/2 inches long. Caught on a Purple Haze Meat Rig with a Light Blue BTB soaked in Herring Oil, behind a 11# Ridgeback Rattler @ 132 ft down in 140 ft of water. This is the largest Lake Trout caught in the Brown Trout Festival history of 35+ years.
I’m enclosing a spreadsheet of last year’s fishing log. A phenominal year that I say must have something to do with the Rattlers I run. We use a spread of four downriggers with 9lb Ridgebacks running at depths up to 225ft. I’m one of the few non-professionals on Flathead Lake that puts these kinds of numbers in the boat while trolling. Some of the charter boat captains regularly email me to see what I’m hitting and where.
Every fish where there is an entry under “rig” was caught behind a Rattler. The rest were jigging, mostly for Lake Superior Whitefish.
I’m aggressive in my turns, throwing hard zigs and zags if a marked fish does not strike. 1 in 3 hits after this manuever. And the Rattlers stay in their arc, no cross-ups.
I think you have a winner and count the Ridgebacks as a key to success!!!
Harbor Beach, MI is far from being dead. Thanks to your RR’s and our dipsy program we slammed the stealhead. We had 5 stealhead behind your Ridgebacks 50feet down 10-15feet back and 4 more stealhead on our dipsy program. However we lost 3 stealhead, these are the six we landed on Memorial Day. We had a mixed bag of 19 fish (6 stealhead, 8 lake trout & 5 walleye). Our walleye and lakers came on core rods.
Your RR’s really made our fishing great from April to September! Once again thanks for all your support for the Can Can… hope to see you next year.
I just wanted to let you know we really found your Ridgebacks useful
this year. It seemed like a very tough year on this side of the lake and
we found the Ridgebacks really helped on those days. Here are
a couple picks from days when they really stood out. It seemed as though
all the boats were struggling and we were able to pick thru and find some
good fishing. Most fish on the tough days came on or near the single
Ridgeback we were using. Maybe it was coincidence, but they found a home in
our spread when it comes to deep water
Chip, With the price of gas it pays to use Ridgeback Rattler Downrigger Weights!! Some pics of me and my boys from a recent trip to Pentwater.
HEY MIKEY, EVEN STRIPERS LIKE RIDGEBACKS!!
Pictuers of Robbie Weis and Chip from Fall 2009 at Norris lake, TN
All fish caught on a white lead head jig while being trolled behind 7# Ridgebacks.
Capt. Rod Rogers, Angler and Author
I’ve been using Ridgebacks for over five years now. Kind of a secret
I’ve had fish chase those things to the top on retrieve after another
fish is on the line
My other four are black, but the black is pretty much worn off by now.
Your weights are the “best” behaved weights on the market. They track
and allow my to run a full spread of four even with a big blow on the beam.
These folks were all retirees on their first ever charter fishing boat.
34 hook-ups and 26 in the boat in 4 hours. July 26th, 2011
This is to be a spare in case I ever loose one. Yellow Zinc is good.
This pic is Flathead Lake on Lake Trout.
Rod Rogers — angler & author