Does talking scare fish?

Does Talking Scare Fish?

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“Shh, don’t talk, you’ll scare away the fish!”

We’ve all heard this sentence in different ways at some point in our lives. Hell, some of us might even be hearing them up to now. But is there any truth to it? Do fish really hear our conversations and get agitated?


The short answer is no

Luckily, there’s a simple explanation to it. Fish can hear you, but your day-to-day conversations won’t necessarily get them off your hook. While they have organs for detecting noise such as fine nerve hairs, bladders, accelerometers, and otoliths, sound traveling through air and water are two different things.

Any sound above water generally cannot penetrate the surface tension of water. Air and water have different densities that act as “barriers” that, instead of having sound pierce through water, causes it to bounce back into the air.

Regardless of what sensory organs fish have, though, the usual talking and shouting we do while fishing will not give nearby fish a scare. After all, they rely more on vibrations using their swim bladders than actual sounds to detect predators, for example.

So if there’s a story you’re sure would give your fishing buddies a good chuckle, feel free to share them while waiting for fish to bite!

…But other noises could!

This doesn’t make the underwater world soundproof, though. Since fish rely mostly on vibrations, as we’ve just talked about, other stuff such as strongly vibrating motors from boats and loud, bass-heavy music through large sound systems would definitely sabotage your chances of a good catch.

Boating experts from ePropulsion have some tips for us when it comes to the motor issue. As a pre-fishing ritual, make sure your motor is mounted properly, so it doesn’t end up vibrating excessively. During the trip, don’t constantly turn it on and off, too, as that sudden roaring from your boat could scare away fish for good. Lastly, keep your propeller firmly below the surface. Remember: sound generally won’t bother fish, but vibrations in the water (such as splashing) would!

Other ways to minimize sound include: not jumping up and down on the boat, playing music through just your phone or any small speaker that doesn’t emit that much bass, dropping anchors slowly instead of creating a splash, driving boats at moderate speed, and walking softly on docks.

How conscious should you be? Well, sound travels nearly five times faster in water than in air, so think of that before you consider making a ruckus during your trip.

Be noisy, appropriately

All things considered, noise is okay! Not too much, though, and especially not through ways that create too many vibrations underwater. A good fishing trip involves lots of good conversations, and your favorite fishes would probably agree.

If you would like to read more fishing tips like these, make sure to check out our blog!



Get to Know Sean Frado (@fishingfanatics_NTX)

Sean Frado is an angler located in Fort Worth, Texas who loves “the idea of competition between man and fish.” He hopes to unite the fishing community and encourage outdoor recreation.

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