If you’ve ever been out fishing on a quiet pond or lake, there’s a chance your angling partner taught you the importance of being quiet so you don’t scare the fish away. It seems to make sense, at first — fishing is kind of like hunting, and you definitely wouldn’t blast music while closing in on an animal in the woods, right?
But then again, sound actually works a little differently underwater — and even though fish can indeed “hear,” the mechanism of how that works isn’t quite the same as it is with mammals on land. So, what’s the verdict: music, yay or nay? Just read on to see how different kinds of noise may affect your Blackfin adventure (and fishing results, too!).
Can Fish Hear?
As explained by the Australian Museum, fish have “ear stones,” or otoliths, that can detect vibrations and aid with hearing and balance. (They’re not external, though — which is why you can’t point out ears on a fresh-caught salmon or wahoo.) It’s actually not that different from how humans can hear — after all, we, too, detect sound wave vibrations. But just like you can’t hear too great underwater (have you ever tried having a conversation in a pool?), it can be tricky to discern how fish hear music, speech, and other sounds that come from an environment they don’t call “home.”
A Taste For The Oldies
Even though fish may not be able to fully appreciate your carefully curated angling playlist (what does “Cheeseburger in Paradise” really mean to a marlin?) research shows that they may actually be able to tell the difference between different kinds of music — and translate that to feeding preferences! Kazutaka Shinozuka of Tokyo’s Keio University conducted a study in which goldfish were trained to take a bite of food when Bach was playing, learning to associate the musician with snack time. Eventually, when researchers played a later composer, Stravinsky, the fish didn’t even try to eat! Fish — and goldfish, especially — may be described as having a short attention span, but the study seems to prove that they’re capable of responding to sounds in meaningful ways.
The Case For Playing Music On Board
Does this mean you should play classical music on your Blackfin Boat every time you hit the water? Not necessarily — at least, not unless you enjoy it! Even though the 2013 study suggested a connection between fish feeding and Bach, the fish weren’t actually declaring their love for the classical composer; rather, they had simply learned to associate that kind of music with food. Theoretically, the same connection could have happened if they heard yacht rock or hip-hop every time the dinner bell rang!
And of course, the study took place in a controlled environment — with the same fish, the same tank, and, presumably, a quiet surrounding space. The reality of life on the water is way less predictable, so you might not be able to train your local lake’s bass population to associate your favorite tunes with food. But that’s not to say you should skip music altogether.
Whether you’re listening on your Blackfin’s built-in sound system, or with your own portable speaker, the right music can enhance your performance in the same way that it helps runners and other athletes sync up their cardio. After all, fishing can be a taxing sport! But even more importantly, your fishing playlist can set the mood for you and your fellow passengers to have a fun, relaxing day on the water — and that’s what this whole lifestyle is all about.
If you’re fishing a busy coastline, chances are the noise of the waves (plus other boaters on the water) will prevent your music from startling fish beneath the surface. And if you’re fishing a very quiet lake or pond but still want to listen to music, just keep it low and steady; fish are more likely to respond to be scared off by sudden noises, rather than a consistent, non-threatening hum.
From beachy summer tunes, to playful seagulls, to the natural hum of the waves, there’s no shortage of beautiful sounds to soak up on the water! We hope you enjoy them all on your Blackfin Boat, this summer and beyond.
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