Catch Fish, Not Birds, When Fishing Natural North Florida’s Coastal Waters

When you find striking fish in Florida's Gulf waters, you can expect to find birds!
When you find striking fish in Florida’s Gulf waters, you can expect to find birds!

Birds that become entangled in fishing line almost always die a slow, agonizing and painful death. To avoid hooking or tangling sea birds, use the following techniques:

  • Cast away from birds, especially if you’re fishing with topwater lures or baits
  • If dock fishing, let the current take you line towards the fish rather than casting
  • Use sufficient weight to keep your live or cut bait below the surface, especially when birds are present
  • Use a slow retrieve to keep bait below the surface

If you accidentally hook a sea bird, here’s what to do:

  • Do not cut the line
  • Seek assistance, as 4 hands are better than 2 when it comes to subduing a frightened bird
  • Reel the bird in slowly
  • Use a net to bring the bird to the dock or onto the boat
  • Calm the bird by putting a cloth or towel over its eyes
  • Hold the bird’s wings close to its body and locate the hook or tangle
  • Cut the line near the hook, if tangled
  • If the bird is hooked, use pliers or cutter to remove the barbed point of the hook, and pull the hook from the bird
  • Double check for any line that might still be around the bird
  • Release the bird into the water

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