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Rattling up some Walleyes
By Perry Good
Sound travels at a rate of about one mile per second through water,
which is five times faster than its speed through air. Fish have
developed extremely acute hearing, especially on low frequency sounds.
Anyone who dives below the surface assumes that the underwater world
is silent simply because humans have difficulty hearing in that medium.
Science has shown that the opposite is true. A moving school of bait
fish sends out sound waves. The noise of a tackle box scraped along
the deck of a boat is echoed through the water. Footsteps along the
bank send vibration into the water. Some fish can hear the sound
made by a worm wriggling into the bottom. Fish have become adept
at detecting and reacting to these various sounds that signal food or danger.
Humans and other mammals respond to sound also. Behavior scientist
have demonstrated that dogs and other mammals respond to a bell or light
prior to eating and begin salivating before the food arrives. Humans
respond to a siren or a horn that is honked, because we associate those
sounds with danger and caution.
When a fish is injured or its normal swimming impaired, it gives off
distress vibrations. These are totally different sounds than those
of a healthy creature or one swimming unencumbered. Predators recognize
distress vibrations and hone in on them from considerable distances with
a purpose. They know that a fish in trouble is an easy meal not requiring
the expenditure of much energy. And, the predator seems to know exactly
from where the sound is coming even though it is far away. There
is also some evidence that chemical factors may be involved and help predators
locate injured prey.
This is why tackle manufacturers like ,
and Normark have put rattles in many of their lures. For example,
one of the hottest lures is the Northland Buck-Shot jig. The Buck-Shot
jig is like any other jig only it has a modification. The jig is
still a live bait delivery system that can be enhanced by live bait such
as nightcrawles, leeches or a minnow, but it's modification is that it
has a rattle chamber that emits a vibration to attract and trigger fish
to strike. The same thing holds true for the Rattlin Jungle Jig,
which is dynamite on those finicky bass that hide back in the shadows.
Not only does the bass hear the initial splash, but it rattles so the fish
can find that prey that has just fallen into the dark timber laden, weed
choke environment. Normark has done the same for years with it's
and Fat Rap. The sound is what attracts the fish to keep them coming
on an attack path straight towards the lure. Sound is another sense
that the fish use to locate and identify food. Water conditions and
specie of fish will determine what sounds you should try to imitate.
If you are fishing for Bass or Northern Pike a noisy lure is the answer.
Likewise, if you are fishing in stained water then you want the walleye
to be able to hear your bait. Rattling Rapalas are a good example
of a noisy bait that will take a variety of fish under these conditions.
If you are fishing in a clear lake quiet baits that produce wobble and
vibration are what you want to use.
Besides rattle, wobble and vibration don't overlook color.
Try to match bait already found in the environment. Use flash tape
to highlight crankbaits to give that extra flash. Along with flash,
you might want to change to a dramatic color. Chartreuse and the
new Firetiger colors aren't part of the environment but in stained water
they are a visible target for fish. The type of terrain that
you are fishing will determine color also. If you are fishing over
sand maybe crawfish color, or next to a weed bed or drop off, a perch color
will trigger fish.
Feeding within a lake, stream, or other body of water often becomes
a chain reaction. Fish hear the sounds of other fish feeding and
often begin to look for food themselves. The sounds of a tail thumping
and splashing can have a positive effect on many fish at the same time.
In essence, the fish are attracted to the rattling noise and
like other animals they are inquisitive and interested in what is going
on. This is essential because once you have their attention catching
is made easier.
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