Silent vs. Rattles
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Ididn’t really think they would make much noise when they move through danger areas. Yes, there will be some noise when bait fish move together but one or two on their own won’t make much noise. When they are feeding and water push through their gills it would most definitely make some kind of noise, and even more when they are in panic. But for most of the time they will be very quite.
I also understand that there are other creatures that bass prey on in and around the dams like birds, frogs, snakes, crabs, freshwater shrimps and crayfish which also emit sounds.
However some of the pray like crabs, fresh water shrimp and crayfish make some sort of clicking sound when they are moving, feeding or fighting.
Several lures has build in rattles or some type of clacker that creates sounds to draw attention. Glass rattles can be inserted in soft plastic baits or added to jigs.
I am all for the use of rattles and there are numerous conditions where rattles will have a positive effect, but most of the time it can be the reason why bass might not be interested in the bait. It might even be spooking the big bass.
It’s very important to understand different fishing conditions. If you don’t you will be starting the day with a big disadvantage. For many different reasons bass will not go for the bait that is presented to them if the conditions and surroundings they are facing are not perfect.
My approach will be as follows: when I’m fishing very calm conditions I will use a silent approach but louder lures with rattles when there is more noise.
Wind will also play a part. If it is windy I will use buzzbaits with double blades to make more squeaky sounds. In calmer conditions I will use a smaller buzzbait with only one blade.
With soft plastics its easy, weightless baits in clam conditions will do wonders.
Sound / noise
When bait fish emits some type of sound the loudness will depended on the size of the bait ball, or what the fodder are doing. The bass will first use their sight to hunt and secondly their lateral lines to feel the water pressure changing as the bait move through the water.
Different sizes of bass can react differently to sound. For most of the time the smaller bass will scatter away from lures with rattles while the bigger bass will ignore them. Some bigger fish may even attack the lure.
Bass are very curious creatures and will examine the lure. Because we are many times not aware of the curious fish following our lures it helps to follow up in the same area with different silent baits.
When to use noisy baits
The best time to use rattles or clackers will be when the water is dirty or on windy days when the bass are active and eating everything. When the water is stained or murky the bass won’t rely on there their eye sight so much and don’t have time to inspect the lure. For me the bass
are very skittish in clear water and are looking for something more natural. When using new lures with rattles I have found that the baits rattles are too high pitched and do not always work as well as when they have been used for a while. With time the rattle gets worked out and the sound is more muffled which works better.
Take glass rattles out of the packet - they are loud and if you insert them into tube baits their sound are different. A good example will be creature baits. They work well if you insert a plastic rattle which muffle the sound, or if you like night fishing then rattles are the best thing to add.
When to use silent baits
The key will always to be to present your lure as natural as possible. With this you will have better results and bigger fish. If you think about it; what normally works for you? It is weightless baits that take their time to drop into the strike zone.
To see and understand what your bait does under water go and test it in a swimming pool. It is even better to go under water with the lure and see what happens. This might help you to understand why the bass didn’t bite. If something doesn’t look natural to you then why should bass be fooled by it?
It’s been proven many times that very long casts made with weightless lures in clear water will produce fish. When you are faced with tough circumstances like “blue bird sky days”, the water surface is as smooth as a mirror or very clear water conditions then this is the way to fish.
If you don’t enjoy fishing weightless then there are some great hard jerkbaits without rattles. These baits can hang still for countless minutes in the strike zone and get the attention of bass.
Natural presentations deliver better results while rattle type baits have their benefits under certain conditions. So the rule of thumb is; only use noisy baits when bass are active, or during windy conditions or fishing stained water.