For a lot of anglers, our first fishing memories involve being scolded for making too much noise, whether we were dropping something in the bottom of the boat or just talking. We all learned that the fish wouldn’t bite if we were making noise. Turns out, we were told wrong.
Fish actually aren’t repelled by noise – at least not all noise. Some noise attracts them, and sometimes it’s the kind of noise that you wouldn’t think about making in hopes of drawing fish in to bite.
Kevin Davis of Black’s Camp on Santee Cooper, along with numerous other anglers who fish there, have a noise-making trick that they swear brings the stripers in. And if you watch their depthfinders when they begin making these noises, you’ll become a believer too.
Whether anchored down or drifting, Davis and many others will turn off their boat’s outboard motor and crank a smaller outboard that is attached to their boat. It’s not to power the boat – many don’t even keep a propeller on these smaller motors – it’s to make a low, rumbling noise that draws rockfish to the boat.
These small outboards are usually 4-horsepower or 5-horsepower models, and if you look at the many pontoon boats that are outfitted for striper fishing, you’ll see that plenty of them have these attached. And if you ever get the chance, take a good look at the depthfinder before the little motor is cranked, then watch it for a few minutes once it is running. You’ll see fish appear that weren’t there before.
Rockfish anglers like John Wessinger also believe in making noise on Lake Murray, but many of them do it differently than Davis. Wessinger and his buddies use a pool cue to thump the bottom of their boats with, which they said pull the fish in.
“I like a good, heavy pool cue with a rubber end on the butt. I fish out of a fiberglass boat, and thumping the bottom of it with that pool cue will pull the stripers in for some reason. You can actually see them moving in if you watch the depthfinder, and if you’ve got some live bait out once you start thumping the pool cue, it won’t be long before you’re getting bit,” said Wessinger.
Capt. Buddy Bizzell of Edisto Palmetto Charters believes in making noise when fishing for cobia, but he does it a little differently. While anchored in St. Helena Sound, Bizzell will blare music with a lot of bass, and he will also slap the surface of the water with big fishing lures. He stands in the center of his boat, holding a fishing rod, then slapping the lure on the right side of the boat, then the left, then the right again, then the left.
“Cobia love noise. They are so curious that they’ll come in closer to it to try and see what is causing it,” said Bizzell.