Earlier this summer I had a guide trip with a gentleman; we started out running some topwater baits around and caught a couple but I was anxious to get to some deep fish that I had found the day before. I got to the deep fish, set up and made a pull across the hump and we each caught a fish. I made 3 more pulls across the hump and each time he caught a fish but I did not, the fact that I wasn’t getting bit wasn’t that big of deal to me as the day was really about him catching fish but it got me thinking. I had rigged his rod with a silent/non-rattling crankbait and I had a crankbait with a rattle in it, both the same color pattern. So, I took a moment to experiment and rigged another silent crankbait on my rod and we made another pull across the hump. For 3 ½ hours we went back and forth across that hump catching at least one; had a couple of doubles on the same bait and more instances than I could count where we each caught a fish at the same time.
Also this summer I found a deal on Hydrowave unit and have been using it regularly. For those unaware of the Hydrowave, it’s an electronic device that plays sounds of bait fish during various situations through a speaker mounted on your trolling motor. Since installing the unit I have seen many instances where I would be fishing offshore and the bait would rise to the surface and begin moving around (when I didn’t see any bait on the surface when I first pulled up). I have seen fish on the sonar come straight up off the bottom and come to within feet of the trolling motor investigating the sound. On several occasions I have been able to produce schooling activity when there wasn’t any before, literally making the fish come to the surface and start feeding.
My point of the above two paragraphs is that in both instances: SOUND made the difference in the fish catching. So often we fishermen get caught up in color, action and speed of our baits but do we consider the sounds that our baits make as much as we should? Are we making noises in or with our boats that help or hurt our fishing?
As far as the baits go, I think all we can do is try different baits with different sounds and let the fish tell us which they want that day or hour.
I think we can do more with our boats and equipment to help ourselves. A very common practice amongst touring pros is to turn off their sonar; fish can hear and feel the pinging of the sonar and on heavily pressured waters can be affected by it. I have begun to turn off my sonar (without turning off the whole unit) at the console when I get up front. If I am fishing shallow/quiet places I turn the sonar off up front, and using the Hydrowave I not only to stimulate the bait and fish but also mask the sounds in and of the boat. I don’t tend to worry about boat noise when fishing out deep as there is usually so much noise from other boats running around.
I am sure there are other ideas that I have missed but I hope this information gives you some ideas on how to help your fishing with “sound.”
There is “NO” substitute for time on the water!