Fishing the Birds

birds Fishing the Birds

By Capt. David C. Dillman

Harbormaster at The Waterman Marina & Spec-tacular Trout Adventures

Upon waking up to a gentle north breeze, I felt a bit of chill in the air. I grabbed my rod and a variety of soft plastic lures. Heading out towards the boat, I sensed this would be the day to “work the birds.” The month of November, and even into December, is prime time for fishing the birds.

Cooler water and dropping tides flush the back bays and marshes of shrimp. The shrimp become easy prey for speckled trout and redfish. As they feed, shrimp are driven to the surface to escape, only to become easy prey for the seagulls and terns. The fish also become a easy target for anglers.

Having your boat equipped with a trolling motor comes in handy when chasing the birds. It allows you to position your boat quickly and accurately to cast into a feeding school of fish. Also, a good pair of binoculars enables you to scan the horizon for birds. Normally if you see one group of birds, there are other flocks working nearby.

sandeel Fishing the Birds

Norton Sand Eel in Black Magic.


MirrOlure Lil John Twitch Bait in Kitchen Sink.

A variety of lures work well under feeding birds. Topwaters, slow-sinking plugs and soft plastics can be used to catch fish. I prefer the latter. A soft plastic on a jighead enables you to quickly unhook the fish and get back to the action. My two favorites are the Norton Sand Eel and Mirrolure Lil John. Both are very durable and allow you to catch multiple fish on one bait.

Remember to remain courteous when chasing birds. The bays can get crowded during this time of year. If you see a couple of boats working a flock, move on and try to locate another one. Many times other boaters will come in and tempers can flare. There is no need to get upset, just move on. Remember it’s just a fish!

Tight Lines to all!

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