What sound is created by lures?

Response by Dan Warme - Dated 8/06/2002

Editor note: The following post was written in response to a question regarding how Dan had arrived at the conclusion that spinnerbaits are one of the more quite lures in the water.

    Several ways, the primary one being that I listened myself with an underwater microphone.
    The spinner bait, (single blade) is very quiet. Mostly just gives off pressure waves which bass sense with their lateral line. It is probably closer to feeling to them than hearing. Lateral perception is strictly a low frequency deal. Say from 100 Hz down to below what we can hear which for most people is 20-30 Hz. Bass can sense down to 1 Hz or lower. What really determines how well a bass senses an object with it's lateral line is the size and it's speed. In other words how much water is displaced and pushed.
    A big blade turning is really not "Pushing" water. It is cutting it with it's edge and spinning on a axis to do so. It will mostly be the head, skirt, and trailer that push the water. Now these materials are very similar to a jig. Between a jig with no rattles, and a single blade spinnerbait, of similar size, the jig will make more noise on retrieve. Why? Because the spinnerbait will have a slower fall due to the extra drag of the blade and therefore will settle to the bottom much more softly. The jig falls faster and the head "clicks" on contact with the hard bottom. (Soft bottom, they sound about the same.)
    Some may have noticed that I have specified single blades and not tandems. Why? Because they are different. Tandems, particularly double willows have the ability to generate more noise due to the fact that frequently, (but not always) the blades overlap a little bit. The leading or smaller blade is long enough to touch the main blade. This overlap causes the blades to click together when the bait is paused, or collides into something. That is high pitched noise and will not come from a single spin nearly as well. Also adds incentive to pause those blades on retrieve don't it!
    For the record, the noisiest to quietest baits IMO and to my ears and test setup:

  1. Rattletrap -The all-time winner. So loud you can hear it out of the water.
  2. Crank Bait with rattles
  3. Crank bait without rattles- Those hooks and split rings still jingle.
  4. Jig with rattles
  5. Tandem spinnerbait
  6. Texas rigged worm
  7. Jig w/o rattles
  8. Single blade spinner bait.
    I know there are a lot more baits out there but this is the core. Also note that these baits are listed in terms of "Noise" AKA Hearing. All of these baits are giving off higher pitched vibrations. The bass seems to have a limit of about 2 KHz that it can hear. We on the other hand can go up to 20 KHz or more. Lateral perception I consider more feeling. The list order would change for that sense because it is based on the water displacement and movement. Bigger baits give off bigger pressure waves. Also the slug that is found in some lipless cranks can give off these lower frequencies also. A big deep diving crank would give off a lot of pressure because of its large lip and face pushing against the water to cause the bait to dive so deeply.