Are Catfish Attracted to Sound?

Catfish are attracted to sound more than any other fish living in freshwater bodies. They use their sensory abilities to receive signals from their surroundings. Catfish possess a specific set of bones known as Weberian ossicles that link their inner ear to the air bladder. Their air bladder amplifies the vibrations to perceive sound. They have a greater hearing power than any other gamefish. Moreover, the mechanoreceptive neuromasts in the lateral line of catfish help them sense the vibrations of the low frequency produced in the water due to the waves and traveling boats.

Somehow, the catfish are attracted to the muscular vibrations of the baitfish of their choice. For example, the catfish found in the water bodies of North America have a special attraction towards some local baitfish due to their taste. All the catfish species have superior auditory responsiveness, whether flathead, blue, or channel.

How to Use Sounds to Attract Catfish When You Fish

You can use many types of devices to attract catfish when you fish. One popular option is to place a speaker in the water and play music on it. Another option is a whistle or radio, producing sounds that vibrate through the water’s surface and attract catfish from far away. You can also try an electronic device such as a smartphone or tablet, allowing you to play music from your favorite artists and enjoy your favorite songs while fishing for catfish.

While these devices may seem like they would work well at attracting catfish because they produce sound waves similar to those produced by other animals in nature (such as birds), this method is not as effective as others because it does not take into account how sensitive these creatures are when it comes time for them eat something tasty. Some people say that playing music could scare off some types of fish — especially if those songs were too loud.

Are catfish attracted to sound through clonking?

 Early Europeans used the clonk tool to make the catfish bite the bait. Many catfish anglers still use the technique of clonking to catch the Wels catfish. In this technique, the angler attaches some alive baits to the bottom of a stationary boat. He holds a clonk in his hand, which consists of a handle, an arm, and a flat end. He pulls the clonk into the water, producing vibrations and water bubbles. It makes the wandering fish attentive so that they can easily be caught.

Are you familiar with planner boards?

 Planer board is a whisker seeker rig consisting of a hook, a leader line with a ball chain of beads that produces a rattling sound, and a drifting weight to keep the rig underwater. Anglers tie a baitfish to the rig’s hook and throw it in the water. The beads and ball chain attached to the leader line produce vibrations in the water, which attract the catfish towards the rig and get caught this way. Many fishermen consider these rattling rigs a useful tool to catch catfish.

Do catfish communicate through sound?

Just like a morning starts with the mysterious chirping of birds, small creatures present underwater also produce sounds. Young catfish who have not developed hearing organs yet rub the spines present on their pectoral fin against their pectoral girdle. This rubbing produces a sound that many anglers have heard themselves. Catfish use this sound to alert each other from predators and to give signals about prey.

The production of this sound is called stridulation. They are nicknamed talking catfish due to this reason. It is the same sound produced when a spoon is run over a cheese grater. Catfish also produce a squeaking sound by vibrating their air bladder. Keep in mind that catfish do not have vocal cords for producing sound. Instead, they communicate through stridulation and squeaking sounds.

How do catfish perceive the world around them?

Like other organisms respond to sound differently, catfish have their separate strategies. They have extraordinary senses of taste, touch, smell, hearing, etc. Besides these senses, they have electroreceptive properties and can detect pressure changes in water. Catfish have small pores along their lateral line throughout the body.

These pores have infinite tiny hair-like structures that enable catfish to detect the presence of other animals and predators around them. They can also hear the sound of fishermen walking on the seashore. The reason is that sound vibrations travel faster in water than in air. This auditory feature of catfish gives rise to its ability to sense seismic waves. It is said that the Japanese and Chinese have used this fish to detect earthquakes.

How do catfish hear?

Consider the sound as waves if you want to understand the fish’s hearing. Sound waves have different frequencies in water as compared to air. These sound waves pass through the body of catfish, which has almost equal density as that of water. No ears are present on the outside of a catfish’s body. They hear with the aid of the inner ears, which have three small bones called otoliths. These bones are three times denser than fish flesh.

They vibrate differently from their surrounding tissues. The hair-like appendages on the fluid-filled sacs of the inner ear bend due to vibrations, and nerves transfer a sound message to the brain. Catfish hear much louder sounds than other gamefish (up to a frequency of 1300o cycles per second). Lower frequency sounds are amplified by the swim bladder of catfish, which acts as a resonating chamber.

Which sounds do catfish produce?

Catfish produce grunt and croak sounds when they are afraid of predators or stressed. Both birds and large fish attack them. They hear birds’ sounds more clearly than fish because fish produce low-frequency sounds. They make croaking sounds to keep the predators away. This sound is also produced when they move their fins during swimming.

Larger catfish create pauses between sound production because larger fins require smaller swim motions. Smaller catfish do not produce larger sounds for defense. Instead, they have sharp spines. If you unhooked a small catfish and got finned by its spines, it will result in severe pain.


To sum up, I can say that catfish are a diverse group of fish that vary from others due to their unique response to sound. They are sensitive to low-frequency vibrations because they have special pores and organs to detect sound waves. They communicate by rubbing their spines which is also a defense mechanism.

Some anglers use rattling rigs or clonks to attract them toward the bait. Knowing this technique, you can catch them easily, but most fishermen think that they attract to the smell of bait because they have specialized olfactory pits close to their nostrils for smelling.

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