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Attack Birds

by: Lloyd Tackitt 5/9/2013

Where I live, on the bank of the Brazos, I can see down into the water quite easily - and clearly.  Typically the water is shallow below my house, about knee deep.  It has a white lime stone bed and the water is generally crystal clear.  This makes for some interesting watching.  Over the years I have watched the birds that eat fish, and there are a lot of different kind of birds that attack from the air.

Herons of all sizes, kinds and colors.  Fish Hawks, Kingfishers, Cormorants and even the occasional Bald Eagle that winters over.  It would be an exaggerations to say that they keep the water whipped to a froth, but it is no exaggeration to say that at any given time I can see four or five different birds working the river in a 100 yard stretch.  They are a constant.

This is a pretty important key to fishing here.  These fish being under constant attack and living in shallow clear water with a contrasting bottom are air-shy.  Any movement from above is immediately seen and panic sets in.  The fish try to stay in whatever shadows they can find, down in the bottom of the deepest spots, and under any cover there is.  They avoid exposure during the day.  From a little after sunrise to a little before sunset the fish stay out of sight as much as possible. 

Partly cloudy days, while beautiful to me, are scary as hell to these fish.  For them it's the equivalent of walking down-stairs into a basement in a haunted house moment.  When a shadow passes over them they pretty much shudder and scream - probably thinking it's the shadow of an attack bird dive bombing down on them.  On those partly cloudy days when it's alternating between cloud shadows and sunshine it's near impossible to get them to bite - even when they are at the bottom of a deep hole under overhanging tree limbs.  They just plain don't want to take any chances of any kind when there are those intermittent shadows passing over them.

These observations have improved my fish catching considerably.  I cast from as far away as I can to the spots where the fish are taking cover from the birds.  Fishing early mornings and late evenings are always the best times to catch them.  It can be real hard to get a bite during the high sun hours.  Overcast days are a bit better, but not a lot.  Fishing in the rain can be very productive as the rain stipples the water's surface and the fish feel safer about moving around.  One of my favorite times to fish is when there is a low lying fog on the water - the fish really get out and move around then.

These tips might not work where you are, or maybe they're more universal than I think - but I do know this, if you take the time to observe the complete environment the fish are in and surrounded by, you can pick up some ideas that can improve your catching.

Blog content © Lloyd Tackitt
Member comments
Flyrodn, CO   5/9/2013 11:57:44 AM
No doubt this is universal
 
rcatari3, CO   5/9/2013 4:42:20 PM
Can't disagree with any of those tips. Where I fish (Lowell Ponds, Denver) there has been an increase in wildlife. While it's great to see the hawks and herons return to the Clear Creek area, it does make fishing difficult. But all I had to do was switch up my game. If anything, it's helped me become a better angler.
 
macsnax, CO   5/10/2013 12:26:00 AM
Mr.Tackitt, I've been reading your stories for a while. And I've got to say, they are all quite entertaining and educational. Please keep up the good work.
 
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), TX   5/10/2013 7:40:37 AM
Thank you very much!
 
Dave Mauldin, TX   5/12/2013 6:27:02 PM
Long casts have always worked for me,..try to stay back and not alert the fish...just never knew exactly why until now. Thanks Lloyd!
 
JKaboom, CO   5/15/2013 6:18:09 PM
Thanks Lloyd - I was expecting a yarn but still appreciate your educational stuff too :)
 
Coyute, CO   5/15/2013 6:31:39 PM
Aye, Tackitt is a multi-dimensional guy. He can go from being a snooty fly-fishermen to a good ol' southern boy to an educational guru in a few clicks of his mouse. I hope you take that the way it was intended Lloyd - tongue firmly planted in cheek. :)
 
Coyute, CO   5/15/2013 6:32:04 PM
But his writing always stands up to the best of 'em. :)
 
Lloyd Tackitt
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