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The Rooster

Can bass literally hear sound??

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I've read that bass are stone cold deaf and only perceive sound in the form of vibrations picked up through their lateral line.  I got this information from a hardback book put out by the North American Fishing Club (NAFC) a long time ago.  I think the book it was in is nearly 20 years out of date now but it was supposed to be a proven scientific fact when I read it so if it's true then it still would be regardless of the book's age now.  

But recently I read in a Bassmaster magazine about being quiet when coming in on fish.  I think the article was about making long casts to keep from spooking fish by getting right upon them.  It said they can "hear" the trolling motor whirring, the boat echoing from dropping needlenosed pliers on it, and a few other things.  Did they mean hearing literally or just feeling those vibrations??  

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Well, like a lot of things...it depends. On the Tennnessee River

our fish like loud country music, bass boats with big motors and

huge commercial barges. At my local.ponds they like a big splash,

a very big splash.

I don't actually fish anywhere that "quiet" is important.

8-)

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Rooster,

I am not going to put my dog in this fight but I am going to suggest....

Give yourself a Christmas present in the form of Keith A. Jones' book, Knowing Bass, The Scientific Approach to Catching More Bass.

Chapter Five is "Hearing and Vibration Detection" which I found extremely interesting from a scientific point of view.

Bass have ears and Dr. Jones tells you how their inner ear works.

I think you are the kind of guy who will love the book.

Just remember, we have some guys on the forum that do not accept Dr. Jones' research.  I accept it and found the data to be outstanding and you will learn alot about the bass.

Good investment for your library.  ;)

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hearing literally or just feeling those vibrations

hearing IS just feeling vibrations.  It does not matter if it is an inner ear or a lateral line.  For all practical purposes, sound is nothing more than vibrations. If you respond to those vibrations, then you heard it.

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What FishinDaddy said! He's right on the money!

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I feel the vibrations.  They're telling me to get up and go get another poptart.

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Dang Bassn, now I have to go to the circle K and it's all your fault...I'm out of tarts.

Oh and it's not vibrations, those are voices. And you really should not be telling people that you listen to them.

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I think he listening to the Bait Monkey.

I think we all listen to the Bait Monkey, vibrations and all.  ;D   ;D   ;D

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Everybody knows that bass do not have ears. That's why you never see a bass with glasses. ;D ;D ;D ;D

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Everybody knows that bass do not have ears. That's why you never see a bass with glasses. ;D ;D ;D ;D

Most have a good set of contact lenses.  

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Bass have two different areas on their bodies that detect sound waves.  The first is the lateral line.  The lateral line does detect sound waves however only at short distances.  The lateral line is mostly used for schooling fish and allows them to stay together as a school.  Think about shiners and shads and other popular schooling fish.  If you look at their lateral lines, they are very defined and seem much larger than other fish that are not necessarily schooling fish.  

The other is the otilith.  This is known as the inner ear.  Located just behind and above their eyes, right in the middle. It is filled with a liquid and is connected (so to speak) with the air bladder.  The liquid in the otilith and the air in the air bladder detect different sound waves.  They work conjuctiviely together to provide to the brain the general sound and direction of  the waves.  This is a bass's primary source of "hearing".  If you have ever been under water and listened closley, sound waves travel very differently.  The bass's otilith and bladder "work together" to maximize the capture of these waves. That is a simple and short overview of how the "hearing" sensory organs of Bass work.  Hopefully that is not too confusing.  It has been a while since I studied that in school so it might not come out right, from the back of my brain.

Keep in mind as well that Bass have chemosensory cells as well.  Which is bassically like "smelling" in a general sense.  This stuff is amazing and I wish I knew more about it.  All I know is that in school, we connected two tanks together with a line that had a valve on it and gravity feed water from the upper tank to the lower tank. We put fathead minnows in the lower tank, then we put pike or bass in the upper tank and opened the valve. You want to see fatheads freak out.  it was actually pretty funny but amazing at the same time.  I had to document how long they "Freaked out for" and when they calmed down and all.  It was pretty cool and very visual as to how the chemosensory cells worked.

Hope that didn't put you guys to sleep, ha ha.  Just something good to keep in mind when fishing.

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That last post was very interesting.  I was mainly interested in this cause there has been some question in my mind whether or not bass could hear sounds above the surface such as people talking or a small radio playing softly on the deck of a boat.  I always try not to drop things in the bottom of the boat or stomp around in it much cause I know the hull is in direct contact with the water and that would transmit soundwaves into the water if something impacts the floor of the boat.  

I figured my voice would be virtually undetectable to the fish though from what I read years back about how bass are totally deaf.  And as such I don't think much of it if someone comes along with the radio up loudly either.  My brother in law is known to do that with his pontoon load of kids coming around the corner trying to keep up with me trolling along fishing the bank.  When we go out, there's usually 3 or more boats on a family outing but only 2 are seriously fishing and the rest are just partying and relaxing.   If his stereo being loud and all of them talking might affect the fishing then I'll need to keep more distance between his boat and mine.  I've heard stories of older men saying to keep quiet so not to spook the fish and just wondered if there's anything to worry about there, that's all.

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As the others said its the vibration. A good book is "Largemouth Bass" by In-fisherman and the Linder brothers. Its like 12 dollars. Well worth it.

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There is a lot of science availble on bass hearing, just Goggle the subject.

What should be of interset to bass fisherman is how to take advantage of the senses of hearing that fresh water largemouth bass use to detect prey and warn them of danger.

Water transmits vibrations better than air, so bass can hear sounds via vibrations better than we can, plus they have 2 senses of hearing; lateral line and inner ear. The lateral line is used to feel lower frequency vibrations that travel further distances. The inner is used to located sources of higher vibrations close to the bass.

A crankbait for example produces both low and high frequency vibrations. The lures body wiggling or wobbling as it moves through the water, the hooks banging around. the diving bill striking objects and wobbling back and forth, all produce vibrations the bass can feel and hear. Adding glass or metal BB's inside molded plastic crank baits increases the vibrations. Large metal BB gives off lower frequency and small glass BB's produce higher frequencies. Can bass tell the difference if a crankbait has internal rattling BB's? Yes they can.

Any object moving through the water, displaces the water in the form of sound waves. The bass can feel your boat and the engines propeller from a great distance away, however depending of how much other noise is in the background, determines how the bass react to the added sound. On very quite waterways, boat noise will alarm the bass to your approach. Lakes that have a lot of boat movement, the bass get conditioned to background sound. So it is very important to be as quite as possible, when low boat traffic is on the water. It is also important to use lures that make sound when there is a lot of other background noise on the water or poor light conditions to help the bass locate the lure.

The bass can hear a crawdad walking along the bottom or a baitfish swimming nearby with their inner ear. Bass can feel a school of baitfish swimming with their lateral line from a longer distance and are alerted to the approaching baitfish before they see them.

Sound, like sight, is one of the basses most important survival senses and highly developed in bass, to both find prey and avoid predators.

WRB

PS; Human vocies above the water do not travel into the water, however voices alarm other aminals that do hear airbourne sound and their reactions can alarm bass to above water predators, as they splash into the water or fly over. Any boat hull noise is directly transmitted into the water and bass will hear and feel those vibrations.

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Bass hear sound vibrations with their inner ear, bass feel water diplacement waves with their lateral lines.

The lateral line is not connected to the sense of sound, the lateral line detects water displacement in the form of waves through specialized cells which are ciliated at the bottom of a pit which is connected to the exterior by a hole on the scales imediately above the piy, this pit is filled with a jelly; the jelly is compressed by the water wave, this compression then compresses the cilia on the cells which are in reality pressure detectors connected to the CNS, the fish knows how far, how fast and from where the pressure wave is coming thus knowing where the "prey" is located in relation to them. The fatter the "prey" the greater hydrodinamic signature ( water displacement wave ) it has.

So how does all this scientific ( physiological and anatomic ) data applies in the real world ?

Know your prey and you 'll be one step closer to catching them

If you know that bass can not only hear but it can also feel your bait you are closer to choose the better bait depending upon conditions, in murky/muddy water or low light conditions where fish can 't see the bait well you have to select baits that do a better job, for ex, you select baits with:

1.- Rattles

2.- Strong hydrodynamic signature ----> fat

3.- A combination of both properties.

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I feel the vibrations. They're telling me to get up and go get another poptart.

That's cornier than a box of Kellogg's brand Corn Flakes.   ;D

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