When fishing near shorelines, bars, flats, etc., keep an eye open for wading birds lined up along the water’s edge. These birds are often after baitfish, and their keen eyesight usually puts them in good position to find a meal. By extension, if bait is present you can bet that fish are close by. It also helps to know which types of birds you’re seeing. Species such as the ibis or spoonbill are generally after small crustaceans, whereas herons, though they eat crustaceans as well, tend to target baitfish such as mullet, menhedden, thread herring, and the like — all popular menu items for gamefish. Note that the ibis has a long, thin, curved beak, and the spoonbill’s beak is – as the name implies – more or less spoon-shaped at the end. A heron’s beak is thicker and straighter (see photo) — they use it to stab baitfish with quick jabs. Find a group of herons actively feeding, and odds are high that gamefish are nearby.
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