How Noise Impacts Fishing
Most anglers know that noise can impact your fishing success. However, there’s a lot more to it than a clanking anchor chain that can spook the fish you’re stalking. Even things like a VHF radio or a stereo can cause nearby fish to move away from your boat. The closing of a cooler lid and even footsteps can ruin your day of fishing by creating a sudden exodus. While we’ve not seen ears on a fish, they do have a keen sense of sound. This sudden sound can cause a reaction from the fish when they hear something out of the ordinary like a rod dropping on the deck or an anchor hitting the deck. That sound goes a long way and in many cases twice as far as it does on land. This rule applies to both inshore and offshore.
Inshore fisherman should cut off the outboard long before getting to the target area. Use the trolling motor and troll slowly and quietly along the banks. Make sure to have your rod and reel in hand, ready to cast. This tactic will minimize the chances of making noise while moving to grab the rod or dropping it. Redfish are more sensitive to noise while Speckled Trout are less sound sensitive. This allows fisherman to troll as a means of locating schools of trout prior to casting unlike being able to troll to locate Redfish. It’s even been thought that some fish can identify the noise of a crab boat gathering nearby as the crabber checks his pots, then the fish move in to feed off the by-catch.
Offshore anglers with inboards have different challenges such as mono line wrapped in the prop. This can spook the fish and decrease the bites. Even the sound of an engine’s harmonic balancer can scare the surrounding fish. Plus, the water disturbance from a boat’s trim tabs and barnacles on the boat bottom will decrease the catch.
It’s safe to say that noise plays an important part in the success of your fishing day. First, use common sense. Check for obvious things like heavy objects that may fall onto the deck or noise producers like radios and big footed passengers. Then minimize the water flow over your trim tabs and hull. Best of all “Think Quiet”.
Tim Wilson - Coastal Carolina Fisherman e-Magazine