Are Wading Birds and Fish on the Flat Connected?

Are Wading Birds and Fish on the Flat Connected?  Yesterday morning held excellent conditions for “tailing” reds. Calm winds, clouds and low water. Naturally I wanted to take advantage of that and set off, launching by 6:30 AM. High hopes prevailed.

As I paddled down the flats, however, my hopes rapidly faded.  I wasn’t seeing any fish moving around, nor was my approach spooking fish. And worst yet, there were no “tailing” reds either. Ummm.  Bummer. And I noticed something else. There were very few wading birds.

Are wading birds and fish on the flat connected? I’m convinced there are. There are three birds that typically visit my flats – osprey, pelicans, ibis and blue heron. When I fish for “tailing” reds, however, the light is very low and so is the water. This combo is not great  for diving birds such as pelicans or osprey, but it is perfect for slow stalkers, wading birds like blue herons and ibis.

Allow me to digress for a moment. My friend Dave has long extolled the virtues of a stretch of flats he calls the “pinch”. Its a bit of a paddle for me, but he’s right – there are often more reds there. And….. there are always a ton more wading birds! At time so many ibis, at distance they look like a white bobbing blob! In fact I remember saying to Dave at one point. “Man, whats up will all these birds?”

Okay, time to start connecting the dots. Herons and ibis visit flats for only one reason – food.  Obviously the blue heron wants to grab fish. And the ibis are feeding on smaller marine life. If food is scarce on a given flat, the birds will be too. And your odds of seeing a lot of reds goes down as well. Yeah no matter where you fish, everything revolves around the food chain.



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