I’ve been fielding quite a few questions lately about this HydroWave thing. Do you have one? Does it work? What does it do? Does it really call fish to it? What does it sound like? Here are the answers to all your questions along with my thoughts on the units.
Do I have one? Yes, I do. (I have a short video here where you can see the unit and how I use it.) I’ve had one for several months now. I nabbed one as soon as they became available for sale. I had one of the old Biosonix 200 series units and ran it for the past few years. Always mounted it ina rod box all out of sight and sneaky like. Actually the unit was just too big to put anywhere else. The BSX units were okay, but they were clumsy to use and the menus were a little complicated. The HydroWave units have taken all that was good with the BSX units and packaged it in a much smaller and easier to use device.
The HydroWave doesn’t seem to produce exactly the same sounds as the BSX, but it they are very similar. It has several different combinations of sounds that can be played including shad frenzy, shad panic, shad subtle, shiner frenzy, and shiner panic. These can be played in either a continuous or 30 second delay loop and the volume can be adjusted according to the conditions. I’ve noticed that changing the volume has more effect on the surrounding baitfish than changing the actual sounds. I’ve also noticed that it takes less volume on the HydroWave than the old BSX units. Check out the video for a look at and listen to my unit. Please note that on the video there is a faint clicking/ buzzing noise when I move the camera underwater.
Now for the money question; does it work? I’ve had fish follow the boat, looking for the sound. I’ve had fish swim up to the speaker mounted on the trolling motor looking for the sound. What else do you need to know? I’vehad baitfish follow the boat, even when I was on the trolling motor trying to get away from them. At the very least, the sounds produced by the HydroWave are more natural sounds than those coming from the sonar units, livewell pumps, and trolling motors on your boat, thus they should help to mask the sounds of all the unnatural pings and whirrs coming from the BassCat. The sounds coming from the HydroWave are supposed to mimic those of the shad and shiners and I have had several people say that the sounds are truly similar to what they have heard while scuba diving around schools of fish. That was the first thing my wife, Kerry, noticed about the units. I had hooked it up and was playing the different sounds. She walked up and said “That sounds just like a school of fish underwater”. This from a woman whose father was a Master Dive Instructor and she grew up spending almost as much time under the water as above. I figure she knows what fish sound like underwater.
At a recent Northern EverStart event at 1000 Islands, I feel like the HydroWave unit played a big role in a Top 10 finish. It probably also helped a few weeks before that in my 13th place finish at the Northern Open on the James River. At 1000 Islands, I was catching fish shallow on a jerk bait and a little deeper on a dropshot. After the first two days, I had racked up over 38 pounds and was sitting in third place. Coming back to the weigh-in on the second day, I drove through 15 miles of a blinding rain storm. I’m talking cats and dogs, toad strangling rain that was relentless. Unfortunately, my HydroWave unit wasn’t completely sealed and it took on water. I tried to dry it out that evening, but no joy. On the final day of that event, I lost several big smallies on the jerkbait because they just weren’t taking the bait as well as they had been the previous two days. I can’t help but feel that having the HydroWave helped get the fish just a little more excited and hence more aggressive. Had I put just one of those 4 1/2 – 5 pound bronze beauties in the boat, it would have meant thousands of dollars in that situation.
Since that derby, HydroWave has sent me a new unit that is sure enough sealed. It went through some serious rain at Buffalo and a rogue cruiser wake at Sandusky that ripped the Lowrance unit off the front of the BassCat and filled the boat with water. Oops. I’m pretty confident that HydroWave has whatever issue resolved regarding sealing the units. This might be the biggest draw of the HydroWave units; if you put yourself in any situation where one bite or one fish can make the difference between getting a check or going home empty handed, you need a HydroWave unit. I don’t want to fish another tournament without one, especially against other guys that have them.
So what exactly does the HydroWave unit do? From what I’ve seen, it seems to get the bait in the immediate area just a little more excited. Having the bait excited gets the bass excited. Makes sense to me. I’ve seen this first hand, as well as having bass swim out and look for the sound coming from the speaker. Gimmick? I don’t think so. Like the advent of the GPS many years ago and the Power-Pole just a few years back, I think the HydroWave may well be one of those items that every serious baser will have to put on the boat.
K-Pink out. Peace.