How to Reduce Noise for Stealthier Fishing Excursions

Tips for Reducing Noise While Fishing

If you make too much noise, you'll scare away all the fish. Even amateur anglers know this, but not all boaters and fisher people know the best strategies for reducing noise so you can enjoy even stealthier fishing excursions.

What can you do to keep the fish unassuming and improve your fishing trip results?

Why Reducing Noise Is Important

Do fish have ears? The answer is yes, but the question is meant to evoke a thought; why is reducing noise so important for fishing?

Most fish are under constant threat in their natural environment. They are subject to predation, unless they’re at the absolute top of the food chain, which means they need to be hyper-sensitive to their surroundings. They use a combination of different senses, including sight, sound, and vibration detection, to become alert to changing environmental circumstances.

If and when they hear something startling, or detect an abnormal vibration, they typically flee the area. To make matters worse, water is excellently conductive for sounds and vibrations, allowing it to carry sound four times faster than air. In other words, if you make too much noise, the fish are going to hear you and they’ll scatter to a new location, making it impossible for you to fill your fish box.

Here’s some good news: sound isn’t great at penetrating the surface of the water. That means the fish won’t be able to hear your conversations as long as you’re using a normal speaking voice (under most circumstances).

How to Reduce Noise for Stealthier Fishing Excursions

So, what strategies and practices can you employ to reduce meaningful noise on your fishing trips?

  • Use the right motor. Internal combustion motors tend to be very loud, since they rely on explosions to provide propulsion. Electric outboard motors can be a great alternative, supporting your boat with plenty of speed while keeping the extra noise to a minimum. You can also seek out a motor specifically designed to be as quiet as possible. Choose your boat and your motor carefully.
  • Use your fish finder wisely. Most fish finders rely on sound waves traveling through the water as a kind of sonar to help you detect fish locations. While this can be a useful tool to help you secure a good fishing spot, the sound waves are sometimes so loud and far-reaching that they actively drive fish away from the area. Choose your fish finder carefully and use it strategically so you don’t sabotage your expedition.
  • Choose the right area. If you follow all the strategies and precautions on this list, you can reduce your noise to a minimum and minimise your chances of scaring away promising fish. But your caution may be rendered irrelevant by noisy or inconsiderate boaters who are also in the area. If you choose to fish in an area that's heavily trafficked or wildly popular, you're setting yourself up for disaster. It's much better to choose a fishing spot in a relatively remote location, where you're less likely to encounter other boaters.
  • Avoid shifting. Shifting gears on your boat can create a loud noise that can be heard well below the surface of the water. It’s important to shift consciously and strategically to avoid startling the fish away with this noise.
  • Reduce your speed when approaching. It should be intuitive, but the faster your boat travels, the more vibrations and noise it’s going to produce. This is true even if your boat has an electric outboard motor, or a motor specifically designed to be as quiet as possible. As you approach your destination, attempt to reduce your speed to a minimum.
  • Test for electricity leakage. Some fish are sensitive to electromagnetic fields, so if your boat leaks electricity into the water, it could scare the fish away. You can test for this by using a voltmeter attached to the negative terminal of your battery and a bare wire several feet into the water. If you notice high levels of electricity, it’s a good idea to take corrective action.
  • Reduce chine slaps. If your boat has a hard chine, consider reducing the possibility of slapping on the water. One option to do this is to use a traditional foam pool noodle, sliding it under the chine to utilise its buoyancy to hold the chine in place.
  • Keep the music at a moderate volume. You may be tempted to avoid music altogether, but music at a low or moderate volume can actually work in your favour, masking sudden noises that are more likely to startle the fish.
  • Avoid shouting or screaming. While fishing, avoid shouting or screaming. Conversation is fine but keep it at a reasonable level.
  • Don’t use noisy lures. Lures with rattling components and other “loud” lures can work well in active water, but they’re awful for calm, still areas.
  • Avoid impact to the deck. Any sudden impact to the deck, such as someone jumping up and down or dropping something heavy, can startle the fish.
  • Add cushioning foam to the deck. If you want to minimise the influence of deck impact, consider adding cushioning foam to mute these sounds.
  • Stay calm when you get a bite. All of us have been guilty of exclaiming when we get a bite, so try to remain calm when you finally get one.
  • Talk to your passengers before departure. Finally, talk to your crewmates and passengers before you depart about your expectations for noise. Since even a single loud noise can have a problematic impact, it's important that everyone is on the same page when it comes to managing noise volumes.

Are you eager to start your next fishing trip in style? Now that you've learned to minimise noise, you should see better results – but you still need a vessel that can support your lifelong fishing habit. If you're in the market for a new or used boat, you can use our sophisticated search feature to find the perfect vessel for your needs. Get started today!

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