Beloit College Magazine

Beloit College Magazine

Fall/Winter 2012 (November 16, 2012)

Tech-savvy Fisherman Uses Sound to Increase His Catch


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November 16, 2012
By Lynn Vollbrecht’06

Many fishermen share the same goal—catch more fish—but the means to that end are a little more tech-savvy when it comes to Greg Bambenek’70.

Bambenek grew up on the Mississippi River, and remembers how his commercial fisherman father would use sounds to lure in the catch. “He would slap the water with his paddle after putting out setlines for flathead catfish, and say, ‘that should bring them in,’” he recalls.

Magazine 2012 6It was that method that Bambenek had in mind when he created TalkWithFish, an app for iPods, iPads, and iPhones meant to attract fish using sounds and an underwater speaker. The full version of the app includes 79 sounds, ranging from spawning calls, herring farts, fish feeding sounds, and bait vibrations that draw in predator fish. While the full version is $6.99, a version with three basic “fish calls” runs for $.99.

To create these sounds, Bambenek used a hydrophone and an aquarium to record bass eating crawfish, sunfish eating crickets and grasshoppers, and June bugs and bees skimming the surface of the water. “Most of these special, tactile vibrations are below 1,000 Hz, and some are infrasound, actually below human hearing,” he says. He then worked with an information technology designer in Duluth, Minn.—where he lives and works as a psychiatrist in private practice—to create the app. It debuted in late May 2012.

To use the app, fishermen need to purchase an underwater speaker that can be plugged into their Apple device’s headphone output. Used in conjunction with underwater speakers, the app can lure fish from 100 yards away, Bambenek says.

This is not the former pre-med student’s first foray into using science to try to lure more fish; he’s also the creator of Dr. Juice attractant scents, which have been on the shelves of sporting-goods stores for some time.

As a psychiatrist, Bambenek says it’s only natural that he used analysis of animal behavior to improve his performance when it comes to his favorite pastime. “There’s visual and anecdotal proof,” he says, that the app is effective.

To see Bambenek’s app in action, visit Talkwithfish.com/videos/.

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