Noise Affect Fish


Understanding the effect of noise on fish behaviour can seriously boost your fish taking abilities. We are always told to keep noise to a minimum when fishing, but what if there are actually some noises that could attract our prey, What noises can help you catch fish, To harness the power of noise, we first need to think about noise from the fish’ perspective.


Fish have two organs which can detect vibrations we know as noise. The otoliths sit in the fish’s inner ear and detect distant noises. The lateral line runs the length of the fish’s body and picks up noises which are near to the fish itself.


But noise is more important to some species. Typically, offshore species in shallow water rely on their auditory senses more than deep water species. Deeper water species are much more visual when searching for prey, or other fish but they will hear the lower frequency noise produced by an incoming school of dolphins. This may be a reason why offshore Tuna fishos don’t submerge much of the leader. It could be that rather than being spooked by the line, the Tuna are spooked by the low-frequency vibrations omitted by a strumming leader.

Shallow water species are much more auditory. As a result, anglers who fish in shallower waters, around structure or in the surf, have to think about the noises they may be omitting far more than offshore fishos. Evidence has proven that when several reef species hear the noise of a boat, their natural impulse is to hide until the noise has passed. However, there are some species that are attracted by noise.


I once went out with a group of Kingfish fishos who operated out of Sydney. I was surprised to see them pull up to a favourite spot of theirs, pull out a bag of stones, and navigate a figure eight while one bloke clattered the bag against the side of the boat. Sure enough, as soon as we had rigged up and dropped our bait in, the Kingis were ready and waiting.

I was also amazed to hear that Snapper regularly take the bait meant for Kingis, despite all the commotion. So why do these species take our bait amid all the racket, My guess is that the racket and commotion simulate a wounded food fish and attract the predatory species.


So where does this leave us with inshore species, Well, in inshore waters where visibility is poor, a lot of species rely on noise to hunt. Species which love to chow down on yabbies’ or mud crabs, will scour the bed for the clicking of their claws. But, I don’t know many fishos that can do a good impression of a crustacean’s claw. Therefore, it is probably best for inshore fishos to err on the side of caution and just remain silent.

Understanding sound from the point of view of your target species will give you the edge over the competitors. While I am no fish whisperer, the idea of controlling sound to work in my favour is something that has fascinated me for some time and I have been experimenting with on many recent trips.


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Jake Taylor
Jake Taylor

Jake is a global traveller who has recently called Australia his home again. If he's not travelling, he is writing about it and his experience.