Randy Howell, the former Lake Gaston bass pro and guide who now lives in Springville, Ala., won the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, and Livingston Lures has rewarded him by naming a crankbait after him: the Livingston Howeller.
The bait is not only named after Howell, but its name also describes one of its features: it “howls” with an electronic sound.
The Howeller employs new Electronic Baitfish Sound technology (EBS) through a circuit-board chip located in the lure’s sound chamber that emits three recorded fish-attracting sounds: the original EBS sound, a crawfish sound and a bait frenzy sound. It can also be set to produce no sound for fishermen who think sounds scare off bass under certain conditions.
Howell selects the desired sound through a multi-touch feature. The sound is activated when the bait gets wet and silenced when the bait dries. The electronic chip has a 2-year life expectancy.
The use of sound isn’t new; manufacturers have utilized fish-attracting sounds in lures for years.
Prior to EBS Technology, sound was created by lure configurations and their plastic lips for wobbling vibrations, by the construction of built-in sound chambers housing BB shot or steel ball bearings, by drilling holes in baits for gurgling noises and by vibrating hardware.
Some companies conducted extensive research to discover which sounds attracted fish and which sounds triggered a feeding response.
Howell said EBS Technology is the sound wave of the future. Efforts are being made to develop a remote application by which anglers can select lure sounds.
“A remote device isn’t here yet, but you may see it before too long,” said Howell.
Another plus for electronic baits is their weight and buoyancy.
“They’re heavy baits that can be thrown long distances, but they also have buoyancy,” said Howells. “With a stop-and-go retrieve, they back up more effectively than balsa baits.”
Howell describes himself as a “bait junkie” who owns about every lure ever made.
“A wall in my home is lined with lures,” said Howell, “but the new electronic lures are unlike any of them. Though Livingston is the first company to embrace the new technology, I expect other companies will eventually take advantage of it.”