January 23, 2018

The Conclusion of the Rattling Test

The results of this rattle experiment reveal which rattles fish hear best.

Small vs Large Rattles

Last month I detailed an experiment conducted years ago.

In a nutshell, scientists and anglers got together to test rattling lures in a tank to determine which ones could be heard by fish and which ones could not.

You can read that article here.

Fish (specifically bass) best hear dominant frequencies below 1,000Hz.

The results from testing 23 rattling lures revealed that only 3 of the 20 produced a dominant frequency below 1,000Hz, which is shocking to say the least.

It's likely fish can't even hear the rattling lure you've had in your tacklebox for years.

Yeah, I know.

It's sort of a letdown when the whole idea behind a rattling lure is to attract fish using sound!

So which rattling lures performed under 1,000Hz?

The lures that were tested had different kinds of BBs inside them.

Some were large, some were small, and some were glass and others metal.

The experiment pointed to large beads as producing a lower dominant frequency than smaller beads.

Whether glass or metal was better was not specified and, of course, specific brands weren't mentioned for legal reasons.


While we don't know which exact lures were tested, we do know what is required to make an effective rattling lure (or cork).

This will help us determine which lures are best!

Perhaps in the future I will take apart a few of my lures to see what they have inside of them.

And, so you know, I read about this experiment inside the third book of In-Fisherman's Critical Concepts series for bass, which is a series of three books detailing pretty much everything about bass fishing.

Questions? Comments? Chime in below!

Captain Devin

About the Author

Devin is a former fishing guide and lifelong inshore angler. He founded Louisiana Fishing Blog in 2012 to share his ideas as a charter captain and still writes in it today. Since then he's created a fishing university — LAFB Elite — where he teaches inshore anglers how to safely navigate Louisiana's coast and catch more fish.

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  • I would file this article away into the “cool to know” category, and wouldn’t over-think it.

    Rattletraps use small metal beads and I’ve caught a lot of fish on them. I promise I’m still throwing Rattletraps.

    I would focus on finding the Big Three and effectively fishing the entire water column. Otherwise you could be throwing the most scientifically-proven rattle contraption and it wouldn’t mean jack if fish aren’t there.

  • Great info. So I take this to mean all lures with small rattles probably are not doing much good. Something filled with small BBs is probably not being heard. But also, the old standard popping corks have larger beads and might actually be doing something.

    Another interesting thought, sound under water travels super fast compared to air. I wonder if fish can even locate a source the same way we do, can they tell sound direction or was the lateral line the reason they located the source?

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