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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, I'm really getting excited about this fall. Good work and great reports all around!! Take some kids.

Rattles are one of the most ubiquitous features that at least some lures of nearly all types share. I wonder if anyone has any insight into the purpose of rattles? Are they strictly to trigger sight strikes by getting attention?? What natural phenomena does the rattle resemble?
All rattles are not created equal, either. You can shake lure boxes for days and not hear them all. I do anyway, but I'm used to the funny looks...
I have done some swimming, fishing, and spearfishing without ever seeing a fish with a rattle. Sound travels great underwater, and fish have better underwater hearing than many folks give them credit for... So why so many obnoxious rattles???

On my kayak, both in Maryland waters and elsewhere I have one experience which I'd like to share.
I'll be casting in relatively calm conditions and just now and again (not often) and the silence will be rent by the sound of a baitfish take to the air with a buzzing sound. Fear really gets that little tail a-moving.

I was reading the Patapsco thread and had my fishing cap titillated by a report of nice lure-smithing (you go boy). I commonly find a plug with good action and swap hooks, disable rattles with superglue, and modify popper lips. I really tend to think that most rattles are overdone, but then you have rattletraps! Maybe I just believe in silent plugs that splash some, or maybe I just have a habit of fishing in quiet water. Perhaps depth is a factor... I disable alot of rattles and see if the plug will still swim, walk, and pop. My best so far is a longer, slimmer basspro freshwater walker I overpop. Kindof a lime-ish green between dark back and white belly. No flash. I'm hoping I can find a few more as it has been a while...

If anyone has any wild theories or tricks that worked, or failed miserably when you were sure they would produce, lets hear it. Sometimes, that big girl is gonna smash anything that lands about eight feet away, but what about those other times???
 

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X2, but sometimes when fishing a bait very slowly I like rattles in calm conditions.

Also, when you're underwater near some reef structure, the popping and crackling that you hear is pretty consistent. It is the sound of feeding organisms and perhaps that sound is what the lure makers are trying to mimic.

JPK
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The popping and crackling near rocks, and structure is definitely something of a constant. An actual rattle against that background ought to get some attention, but something tells me there is something more to it.

Makes me wonder where a fish's ears stop hearing and the lateral line takes over... Each organ has a range in which stimuli will equal some kind of output. I would expect that the ears and line have quite a bit of overlap, but not entirely maybe... The line likely shines at low frequencies and amplitudes.

Obviously the lateral line can't really "hear," but it is a monitoring device akin to a large eardrum. What if it can hear?? We know it can pick up faint undulations in the surrounding medium, I wonder if it can "hear" a splash. When a splash is made, water from a small general locality is propelled into the air. Much but not all of that water has a similar velocity with differing vectors. The result is that most of that water comes back in contact with the surface within a second of the rest of the majority. Under water, could some rattles imitate splash water coming back down.
Just another crazy idea, but the idea is to put a little more thought into it as opposed to less...

Lure mfg companies seem to think that if there isn't a rattle, we won't buy it... A drill bit and syringe with superglue fix some of that...

I have poppers with old school dull thuddy rattles that do okay, and I have one or two with more BB sounding sounding rattles which have done well once or twice...

I prefer middle of the road toward dull and thuddy.
 

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Seems like the guys on the largemouth scene have started using silent crankbaits more often. Not sure if its just to show the fish something different or if there's something behind it.
 

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Lure mfg companies seem to think that if there isn't a rattle, we won't buy it...
This is likely the main reason many lures have rattles in them, particularly topwaters. I own a lot of lures, and have done fine with those that have rattles & those without. Same with fly rod poppers. I make a lot of my own & add rattles in some of them. I don't think I can say exactly why they work well sometimes & don't at other times, or even when the best conditions are for either.

I can agree with kayak456 somewhat, the calmer the water the more I want a topwater lure without rattles, but not necessarily subsurface lures. As has been said, a RatLtrap makes a lot of noise & catches a lot of fish, and I've got them in every size they make! They work in all kinds of conditions, and on many species of fish. Even have a few spoons that have rattles built into them, and again sometimes they produce better than regular spoons, sometimes they don't. I've caught plenty of bass on the Johnson's Silver Minnow spoons (no rattle) & on the Nemire Red Ripper spoons (rattles).

Seems like the guys on the largemouth scene have started using silent crankbaits more often. Not sure if its just to show the fish something different or if there's something behind it.
I've done that too for bass, and you may be correct about something different. IMO, bass or any other fish that see's a lot of lures may get used to that rattle, and may lose interest in lures that have rattles. IMO, something different with any type of lure can often be the difference between catching or not.

I know from being a fly angler there's a lot of discussion about matching the forage. Bass guys do it too. However, on a bass site I frequent, there's a fellow who says that perhaps using something odd, that doesn't "match the hatch" may be better to get the fishes attention. The same reason they'll attack a wounded baitfish faster than they'll chase one that's not injured. That odd movement & perhaps noise, like from rattles my not be natural, and may perhaps signal to the fish that the thing making the noise is any easy meal. Don't know for sure, but seems logical.

I know I've caught enough fish when using radical retrieves, or even odd ball colors, something that did not make the lure or fly look natural to say he might be on to something with that line of thinking. Only the fish know for sure unfortunately! :yes:
 
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