Silent or Jingle?

For the last few weeks, entrances to stores have been a little noisier than usually with holiday bell ringers.  When the jingling first arrives on the scene they attract my attention and I am more inclined to spread some Christmas cheer.  However at the risk of sounding Grinchy, after a while I start avoiding the noise, looking for other entrances.

As yet another example that my thoughts rarely stray far from fishing, I suspect that the relationship between sound and fish reaction may be similar.

There is plenty of evidence that sound can attract fish. Keith Sutton wrote in his book, “Out There Fishing” that piranhas are attracted to splashing, “like iron filings to a magnet.” I have read where anglers on lakes in Mexico also splash the water with their hands to fire up bass. On an episode of “Hookin’ Up with Mariko Izumi,” a chartered captain thumped a pool cue on the bottom hull of his boat to bring up large striped bass from the depths.

To give lures this added appeal, many contain rattles or BBs. These can be especially effective in areas where the water is not clear, and where fishing pressure is less.  Sometimes, however, fish can become desensitized to the same sounding lures. There are new lures that make more of a clack or knocking sound with movement and even crankbaits containing electronic sound-making devices for a new audio presentation.

Winter’s cooler waters mean more reaction strikes so I am more likely to cast noise-making lures. Slower moving fish aren’t actively chasing down prey, but may still slam lures when startled with something right on their nose.

A mistake many anglers make is assuming that a steady sound would be the ticket to a strike.  However, you rarely see the Bassmaster Elites with a steady retrieve for noise-making crankbaits. Michael Iaconelli, for example used a pattern of three strong cranks and a sudden stop during a late season event. It is this change from sound to stop and back again, where the hits often occur. Another technique I watched the pros use is to show the fish one lure (either noise-making or silent) for a few casts, when switch. Bam!

Noise can be a good thing for fishing but you may not want to jingle ALL the way.


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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.