Sunday, November 1, 2015

Is A Call For Attracting Fish The Next Big Thing?

By Bob Frye 
There's trying to build a better mousetrap, and then there's trying to build the first-ever mousetrap.
That's what this might be.
Jeff and Jack Danos, a father and son from Mandeville, La., are marketing “the fish call,” a floating, fish-attracting speaker roughly the size and shape of a Nerf football. It reportedly works by sending sound through the water via vibration — much like a crankbait with an internal rattle might — but on a much larger scale.
They claim anglers who toss it out with its attached anchor or tether it to a boat can call in fish just like a turkey hunter or deer hunter might use a box call or grunt tube to call in gobblers or bucks.
“There's no hole in it where the sound has to come out,” said Jack Danos, a 16-year-old homeschooler. “The whole thing vibrates and produces sound. It uses the water around it to amplify itself and turns the water into the speaker.”
The secret is the tactile transducer or sound exciter inside, he said.
A number of companies make those. Dayton Audio, for example, markets transducers it says can turn anything from a filing cabinet to paper plate into a speaker “by vibrating it at up to speeds of 20,000 cycles per second.”
The Danos use that technology to catch fish, Jack said. They've landed everything from largemouth bass and northern pike in freshwater to saltwater species like flounder and black tip shark.
“We think it might work best with predatory species because they hear the sound and feel the vibration and have to come in and check it out,” he added.
Could it really work?
Fish do indeed “hear,” though the way in which they gather sound is different from humans, said, David Argent, professor of wildlife and fisheries science at California University of Pennsylvania.
“They do possess a highly developed sensory network called a lateral line that interprets vibrations (sound) in the water and transmits such information to the brain. Part of this sensory network also includes a series of small bones in the head called otoliths that function like the inner ear network found in mammals,” Argent said.
They definitely use that sense to find food, he said. But it's somewhat limited; Argent said how well and far sound carries in water is a variable, based on temperature, depth, and density.
“The lateral line and inner ear function largely as distance receptors, but this distance may be relatively short, only effective for a few body lengths of the sound's source,” he said.
Other senses, like sight, are equally important, and perhaps in some cases more so when it comes to initially detecting potential prey, Argent added.
But, a fish call could conceivably have some value, or perhaps at least be the final piece that ultimately convinces a fish attracted by the size, shape and color of a bait or lure to strike, he said.
There are no regulations prohibiting their use, said Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission spokesman Rick Levis.
Anglers, including some in Pennsylvania, are intrigued. Jeff and Jack Danos set out to raise $10,000 via a Kickstarter campaign to produce their first calls. They got that in one night. To date, having done no advertising other than their own website, they've raised more than $112,000, with buyers coming from every state except Hawaii and Alaska, as well as 50 countries, Jack said.
They'll be shipping their first 1,000 calls in November or December. They hope to sell another 2,000 by Christmas.
“After that, we'll really get a better sense of where all it works,” he said. “But it's blown us away every time we've used it.”
More info
Visitors to the Tactibite website — that's the name of the fish call company — can get a look at this device by checking out
There are instructional and testimonial videos there, as well as a frequently asked questions section.
The call sells for $99.99 plus $9 shipping and handling.
Bob Frye is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter@bobfryeoutdoors.

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