It’s pretty basic, really. The less noise you make the more fish you’ll catch. That’s especially true in shallow water that’s less than 12 feet deep. The thing is, though, controlling noise isn’t as easy as it sounds — pun intended.
Let’s start our discussion with your trolling motor. It’s one of the sources, maybe the primary source, of unnecessary noise in bass boats.
Electric, bow-mounted trolling motors are one of the great inventions in modern bass fishing. They let us move our boats around with almost no physical effort. We can position our boats where we want them, and they allow us to concentrate on casting instead of on a sculling paddle.
But they come with a cost: noise. Turning the head and engaging the prop all create unnatural noise that can put a bass on high alert. Controlling that noise is critical if you expect to be a successful bass angler.
I start my noise control by fishing with a cable driven motor. Mine is the Motor Guide Tour Pro. It seems to me that the cable models make less noise than the electric driven ones when you turn the head. Now, to be fair, that’s my opinion. I haven’t been involved in any scientific tests.
Something else I want to mention about your trolling motor is lubrication. When a trolling motor starts to get some wear on it, it’ll squeak and crackle when it moves. It may not sound like much in the front of the boat but to a fish it signals danger. A little oil or spray lubricant will really cut that noise down. I lubricate my trolling motor regularly.
The next thing I’m going to mention is a little different from what you sometimes hear. I don’t think it hurts to engage and disengage your prop when you’re fishing. I know some anglers say that putting them on a constant speed is better. That has not been my experience.
Another way to control noise is to turn your SONAR off when you’re not using it. I don’t mean to put your unit on standby. I’m talking about going into the settings and actually turning it off. I do this on my back unit whenever I’m up front fishing. I think it helps, and it takes less than a minute once you learn how to do it.
Beyond the two things I’ve mentioned there are a couple of other things that you can do to quiet things down.
The first is to be careful with your compartment lids. Too many anglers throw them open and then slam them shut with a jerk of their hand or a slap of their foot. Don’t do that. Open them gently and close them even more gently. Sound travels a long way through water.
Something else is to be careful about playing music in your boat. I know it’s popular, but I don’t see taking the chance. I have a complete sound system in my boat, but I only use it when I’m playing around with the kids and my family. It’s never turned on when I’m fishing.
Controlling noise isn’t all that tough, and it doesn’t cost a penny. Make it a habit. If you do, you’ll catch more fish.