Perhaps you’ve been out in the boat with a line in the water and wished you had some tunes. Maybe you have even had the music playing and wondered if this wasn’t counter-productive to reeling in the fish because it might possible scare them away. In truth, you may not have to worry too much.
Will music scare the fish away? Most fishermen will tell you that they have never had a problem playing music and cranking in fish. For those who have done it, they haven’t noticed a big drop in how many fish they can catch. At the least, it doesn’t seem to do any harm.
Are Fish Affected by Music?
Music does affect music because even though they live underwater, they do have ears. You can’t see their ears, but they do have ear parts inside of their head that can pick up noise and vibrations from the water. You have one difference here in how fish hear music in that the soundwaves can ripple through the water, and it can disturb them.
With that said, a lot of people play music in their boat, and it doesn’t seem to slow them down. They still seem to be cranking in the fish with relative ease.
Fish will respond to music in different ways. Some sounds could enhance their mood for biting, but some music could frighten them away.
Did you know sharks are even attracted to death metal music? The sharks hear the low frequency vibrations on their body, and they sense it as squirming prey, and it sends them running toward it. In other words, it’s not that they like metal music, but they think it is an injured fish.
What you play can have an impact on how they respond.
What to Understand About Sound in Water
The sound in water tends to travel at four times the speed of what it does in the air. That should give you some idea about why fish tend to be more sensitive to music. The noise that usually comes from the air won’t vibrate down to the fish.
With that said, a stereo that you have grounded or mounted into your boat will pass downwards into the water, and it could alert the fish to your presence. The boat will act as somewhat of an amplifier, and this will make it sound even louder. In particular, low frequency noises will especially make a lot of noise.
Two Camps of Fishermen
I have noticed that you have two camps of fishermen. You have those that think the music will have a negative impact on the fish, and you have those that think it either has no effect whatsoever, or they believe that it even helps the fish to come closer. In some cases, they might even be right, depending on the music.
Why Crank Up the Music?
With everything said, I usually belong to the camp of not playing music while fishing. Perhaps it comes from fishing with my dad and uncles, but we never had the music playing. Instead, we listened to the birds in nature and enjoyed everything around us. The occasional fish jumping on the water. In my opinion, that is what fishing should be all about.
I think you should enjoy the nature around you, rather than play music. A lot of us don’t get to be in nature a lot, so why not enjoy our time while we’re out there?
You have a lot of fishermen who feel the same way, and they would prefer peace and quiet out on the lake. The noise from a radio carries, and no one wants to hear your terrible music. With that said, to each his own. Do what works for you.
Miscellaneous Noise on the Lake
Here’s when your music most likely doesn’t make a difference. Let’s say that you have waterskiiers or tubers out on the lake. In all likelihood, playing some music while out there isn’t going to have a huge negative effect on the fish. At those points, you probably won’t even go noticed as the fish will be more afraid of other things like the noise coming from these boats.
Playing Music Quietly Probably Doesn’t Matter
In all likelihood, if you play your music at a reasonable level, it probably won’t have a negative impact. In fact, most fishermen who do it say they don’t notice a difference. With that said, on a day where the fish aren’t biting, you may want to keep the music off because it isn’t helping the cause.
What are Some Bands That Fishermen Say Work
Some of the bands that some fishermen have said work while out on the water include:
- Lynyrd Skynyrd’s (Free Bird, in particular)
- Snoop Dogg
- Guns n’ Roses
- Jamie Johnson
- George Jones
- Led Zeppelin
- Waylon Jennings
- Merle Haggard
- BB King
Some fishermen believe that music on the water is even beneficial, and they believe this to the point that they will even play music while at a fishing tournament and claim that it helps them. You have two camps of fishermen here. As you can see, also, you have a wide range of bands that fishermen think seem to work.
Panfish and Baitfish Flee It
Some of the fish that music will have the biggest negative effect on are the panfish and the baitfish. For example, sunfish, bluegill and perch might initially make their way toward the music, but as it gets louder, they will most likely dart away. You may want to keep from playing music when fishing for sunfish.
This is because they will feel startled at the noise, and they’re used to fleeing from predators. They will most likely take the noise for a predator.
Are Fish Sensitive to Noise?
Fish especially seem to react to low-frequency vibrations, and in many cases, it can scare them off. For example, when the noise drops below 10 hertz, it can cause a reaction in them. If the sound is intense, it can cause them to flee the other direction. Nevertheless, most fish will hear the best between 30 hertz to 1,000 hertz.
You have some herrings that can even hear ultrasound, and some European eel can hear infrasound. Most fish will respond to music, but how they respond to it will largely depend on the circumstances.
How are You Fishing?
Especially if you already happen to be trolling, you can turn on the music, and the fish probably won’t even hear it above the trolling motor. It doesn’t add much to the noise in comparison. If you’re just staying in one place, you may want to keep the music down to voice level. Don’t let it get too much louder than that.
Do Trolling Motors Scare Fish?
Perhaps one of the loudest noises around, motors can and do scare the fish. In fact, it’s even one of the loudest noises. Even a trolling motor can and will scare the fish. With that said, the noise will depend on the chosen level of speed. The higher your level of speed, the more it will scare the fish. Nevertheless, trolling motors tend to be quieter.
That said, the fish that you tend to troll for don’t get scared by much. Muskies and northern pike even head toward noise within reason, and they don’t get scared away by much. They have been known to go after fish half their size and eat them. In fact, if you’re interested, check out my article, What Do Northern Pike Eat?“
You might be asking yourself, “Will music scare the fish away?” Well, that depends on who you ask. You have some people who believe that it will scare them away, and you have other people who don’t think it makes much difference or could even bring the fish in closer. Try an experiment for yourself and see if fishing with music works for you.
If you’re looking for a radio, check out the Panasonic RF-2400D. It will make for a great companion in the boat for those times when you don’t necessarily want all peace and quiet.