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do the birds lead to fish or the fish to the birds?

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Joined: 07/02/2002
Posts: 256
Location: Hempstead Harbor, Bar Beach Ramp
 posted 08/24/2002 09:40 AM  

ok, while we on subject of sea-birds

my question to all members here is this

i often notice bluefish surface feeding on bait in my beloved hemp-head harbor in the summer and fall. i also notice the birds on top of the feeding blues picking up scraps and injured bait

so do the birds spot the fish?

or do the fish spot the birds?

birds can see the whole harbor if they fly up 50 feet or so, while the brown water in the harbor means the fish can only see a few feet at most

i know alot of sharpies think the fish push the bait up then the birds come in when they see the action

i personally think the birds spook the bait into pods and start pecking at em and scare them, meanwhile i am convinced the blues pop an eye out of the water and look around, like a mini-submarine with perescope

when they see birds, they swim over that way because they know the birds have bait

birds can see really far, fish cant. fish have sonar? but how good can that work in a busey harbor with lots background noise from macho jetski types, blow boats, casino ferrys, tugs and underwater telecommunication cables

so what comes first the birds or the fish? i think it's 90% birds first, with the blues showing only after they stick they head out the water and look for birds


Joined: 09/05/2001
Posts: 529
Location: Fishless JI area
 posted 08/24/2002 10:28 AM  

Good Point ...But..

I tend to believe the fish find the bait and the birds find the oilslicks and remains of the bait fish, admits the chaos..

As you said birds eye sight is amazing they will spot any peice of anything edible in the water from a far. Think of all the times you have droped a spearing in the water only to have a bird come out of nowhere to pick it up...



Joined: 08/09/2000
Posts: 24794
Location: Onancock VA
 posted 08/24/2002 10:55 AM  

Actually it's team effort. The birds & the blues maintain radio contact through-out most of the day..

"....inside every old person is a young person wondering what the hell happened??"

Joined: 01/03/2002
Posts: 1670
Location: Selden
 posted 08/24/2002 11:43 AM  

I would venture to say the schools of bait leave their scent (oil) in the water and thats what attracts the Fish, The birds eyesight allows them to see the disturbence on the surface and thats what brings them around. Bait - Fish - Birds. But hey, it could be sonar too. Bluefish peeking up into the sky, I've got to try that on someone else today! LOL

Joined: 09/10/2001
Posts: 69
Location: stonybrook
 posted 08/24/2002 10:42 PM  

I'm going with waders' reply.

Joined: 08/24/2002
Posts: 1
 posted 08/24/2002 11:18 PM  

birds -bait

hello dino about the blues looking for the birds,how come you can have a big run on blues in the night,with out a bird in the birds call the blues by cell phone? antonio hwd/beach

Joined: 07/02/2002
Posts: 256
Location: Hempstead Harbor, Bar Beach Ramp
 posted 08/24/2002 11:59 PM  

lets think this one out

ok, so there can be fish schooling on bait at nite, probally from they fish sonar(electric fields sensor nerve or whatever), no doubt close range stuff. chance meeting of blues and schooling bait. not cell phones Antonio, as we all know they dont work when they get wet

how many times we been cruseing along in the boat, looking at nothing in of them days when the water is smooth like a cup of coffee.....KER-splash! swirli-whirl..... you spook a fish!

a fish you thought was just lazely floating at the surface soaking up the warm sun. little did you know, you actually spooked what i call scout-fish. usually older more experenced fish in they schools. these where the big agressive bucks, the ones with the bright eyes

reality is , this was one of the scout fish working with the school of feeder blues, popping his big green/purple tooth filed head up above the surface of the water, looking up in the sky for birds. when working birds are spotted, the call goes out to his buddies, the waiters....swimming quietly below the scouts, ready at a moments notice for the ambush, i am convinced this is the harmony of nature we all hear about from the tree huggers, how the birds and fish team up for a meal

the birds for there part fly 50-70 feet up, rideing the winds to conserve strength, they the ones can easy spot pods of bait and swoop down, wings spread, swalking and pecking

no doubt the bait fish also have they scout fish that warn each other of impending doom, i am sure they try not to ball up if they have chance not to, they probally swim in a relaxed school when not threatned, birds spot them from above, harrassing and pecking till they know it's only a matter of time before the meatgrinding blues show and before you know it, bait is pushed into a nice tight ball

i am just trying to put 2 and 2 to equal 4. seems like some of yous noreaster just go along with the status quo and dont want to logically think this one out in a sciencetific manor like i have done

i aint no marine biologist, but i spend pleanty of time looking for the birds, i am sure the blues is looking for birds also

i got soanr(fishfinder) and its nice to know how deep it is, but its basially useless for pinpointing fish where you could swim up next to them, but if i seen birds i would know exactly where to swim over too and be on the bait

it just seems to make sense to me, fun to think about, i mean who really knows what the hell goes on in they little pea brains(birds and fish)

thanks again fellows, i been thinking about this all summer


Joined: 04/05/2001
Posts: 2839
Location: North Shore
 posted 08/25/2002 07:31 AM  

Aside from the fact that you obviously have too much time on your hands to devote to this issue, there are often times day and night when blues are busting bait with no birds around. The fish push the bait up and concentrate it. The fish see the oil and surface motion and hone in on it. When fish are moving fast on bait they are usually ahead of the birds, not behind them.
Do you see these blues with their heads up often ? Scouts ? Hmmmmmmm......

Joined: 11/12/2000
Posts: 3296
Location: StonyBrook
 posted 08/25/2002 06:27 PM  

Me Scout fish Kimosabe

Scout fish ?scout birds? fish looking around for birds.I think I played that video game many years ago

got health?

Joined: 08/09/2000
Posts: 24794
Location: Onancock VA
 posted 08/25/2002 10:12 PM  


Scout fish? I really don't believe they're that smart - altough - I have noticed what appeared to be a mini periscope surface every now & then. Always thought it was a radio antenna. Must have been one of the scouts....

Wonder if they have badges & uniforms? Maybe a whistle to call in the rest of the pack......

Do the waiters take an order for the rest of the pack? You know....
One bunker medium rare with a tossed seaweed salad on the side. Yes - I'd like the house dressing please....

"....inside every old person is a young person wondering what the hell happened??"

Joined: 09/25/2001
Posts: 3421
Location: Long Island
 posted 08/25/2002 10:25 PM  

An intersting theory but...


I think you give the bluefish species too much credit. They are not half as smart nor are they that willing to cooperate with each other.

To put it bluntly, blues are mean bastards. They will take a bite at anything they can get their mouths around, even other blues. Other than when they spawn, there is never any cooperation among blues. One of the reasons why bluefish frenzies are so much fun to fish is because the blues get into a serious competitive feeding mode. It's literally every blue for themselves. It's an interesting theory, but I would think that if blues were smart enough to send scouts to communicate back to the others that birds are in the air, then they would most certainly be smart enought to bite through the mono line to help free another blue who is hooked.


Joined: 01/03/2002
Posts: 1670
Location: Selden
 posted 08/26/2002 01:37 AM  

I was drifting around the other day and saw sporadic blitzes on small schools of spearing by what I believe were snappers (small Blues). The bait would get busted by fish and then the birds would fly over and try to get in on the action. It was always very brief and as soon as it was over the birds would fly back to shore and just hang out. When the next blitz started the birds would take flight and join in again. In this case the bait was below the surface enough that the birds had no shot at them unless the Blues forced them to the surface. In cases where the birds are working but there doesn't seem to be any fish activity I think the school is so thick that the ones on top are forced there because there is no where else to go, the shear mass of the school causes the bait on top to fall pray to the birds. I wonder if the bait has the intelligence to realize the birds are there and try to move to deeper water so they can get deeper and out of reach. I don't believe their brains can reason that out. I've got to believe these fish act on instinct and don't think to much about what they do.

Joined: 08/22/2001
Posts: 1701
Location: bohemia
 posted 08/26/2002 09:27 PM  

birds v fish

I have seen many times when birds have worked over the bait without the presence of blues/bass, especially on the flats. But I rarely see surface feeding fish unescorted by birds. Don't expect to ever figure this one out because I guarantee you that if you don't approach each situation with an open mind you will either blow or miss out on many fish catching opportunities.

Obama, a socialist with a soft spot for islam.

Joined: 08/06/2001
Posts: 404
Location: Long Island, NY
 posted 08/26/2002 11:20 PM  

which came first, the bluefish or the birds?


here is another way to look at your puzzle.

the bluefish is one of the most primitive species of fish you will ever catch.

what i mean by this, is that the bluefish have been swimming the world's oceans and massacring schools of baitfish long before there were seagulls or terns in the world.

if you believe that life began in the seas and then moved onto the land and the air (dinosaurs - reptiles and birds); then would you not agree that since bluefish are among the most primitive fish,that they have been feeding on schools of baitfish for eons of evolutionary time without the help of relative newcomers like gulls and terns?

roslynny, i don't think either you or doctorfish are giving the bluefish the credit they truly deserve as a species that has withstood the test of time so well.

their awesome hunting abilities are in large measure attributed to their schooling abilities. i spent a good amount of time last night, just watching in amazement, as a small school of cocktail blues herded a huge school of peanut bunker tight to a jetty and kept them pinned there as they took turns picking off the stragglers one by one. if that is not cooperation, what is?

capt jack

Joined: 07/12/2001
Posts: 67
 posted 08/27/2002 12:26 PM  

Dino i am still laughing,even though SOMEONE keeps deleting my posts.

still laughing!!!
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