Unhooking birds...

Ken Jones

Staff member
Date: February 19, 2002
To: PFIC Message Board
From: kp
Subject: El Segundo

Worked my way from El Segundo towards Dockweiler on the incoming today. Caught five big perch on various grubs. The largest one was so big that I could barely get my hand around her stomach. Must be spawning time. I also knocked a seagull out of the air in mid-flight on a cast. It got tangled in my line and waves were crashing over its head as I was trying to reel it in. I kept the line tight and it was able to free itself about 25 feet from shore. I was glad because I really didn’t want to tangle with a pi..ed off seagull. An excellent afternoon.

Posted by caffeinehigh

A seagull flew into my line once and it tried to fly away but couldn’t. What I did was I released some line, and then the seagull somehow got it untangled and flew away. I was relieved. I'm not sure how the seagull was able to free itself on a tight line. I guess it's just one of those things you cant explain.

Posted by Corbinaman1

Hooking Birds In Your Line-Happens To Us All... It happens to the best of us...only happened to me three times in my life. Once on a boat...while flylining, a bird ate the dead bait...deckhand freed the bird...note...only use a lively bait or put a weight on so the bait gets deep quickly before birds can get it. The 2nd time at Dana Pier, a seagull got caught in my line while flying by...a bystander grabbed the gull (it was feisty and was biting him)...and was released...I wanted no part of that angry gull! The last time a few weeks ago while surf fishing, one of those tiny sandpipers got caught up in my line while flying by...didn't even have to touch the bird...just looped the line off the wing, and watched the tiny bird fly away fast!

Posted by kcruise

Then there was the time fishing at Stearns Wharf, and someone tangled a brown pelican. Well, we got it up in my crab bet to the dock to get the line off. Ever wrestle one?? 6 feet of wings and bird poop and squawking... Gawd...

Posted by stinkyfingers

I had kids do that for me one time. At MDR, I got tangled with a huge Pelican, and here I am - an adult. And I'm thinking "Crap - now what?" and these two young kids (age=about 12) come over and one grabs the thing and it start to flip out, I'm thinking this kids gonna get hurt or drop it now, but he didn't! The kid held on and wrestled it and got it untangled for me - no problem. Wow -what a kid! I really respect him, and now don't quite find those birds as intimidating. And to think! A bird intimidated me!

Posted by boniekiller

I had a pelican once...lol. that was interesting. I was out of Balboa on a sport boat, and I hooked a small mackerel. When it got closer to the boat and I could see it, a pelican dove right down in front of me and snatched it up. I’d have to say...that pelican put up a damn good fight, even on 30lb test! lol. no, he got hooked in the mouth, cause when he took it, I ripped up, as to free the fish, or hook his beak before he swallowed the hook. He had unhooked the mackerel and had it in its mouth, and then tried to fly away. Took four of us like 5 minutes to handle the bird once we got him onto the boat. That was pretty messy...

Posted by lucy

How to free birds...I got this technique off the DFG website (if I remember correctly), and have used it twice to help people free seagulls who'd got tangled up in fishing line.

First, get the bird onto the pier or shore-- i.e., solid ground.
Second, throw a coat over the bird and then, using the coat, grab the bird so that its wings are held against its body and it can't flap around (or bite). If necessary, have someone grab the bird's neck (through the coat) to hold its head still as well.
Then, while one person holds the bird, another person unwinds the line from the bird. Then just remove the coat and let the rather pissed-off bird fly away.

If you're alone, you can throw the coat over the bird, bundle the coat around the bird, and then hold the coat-covered bird between your knees while you get the line off it.

Posted by caffeinehigh

I've seen that done once on Redondo Pier...this guy reeled in either a pelican or seagull, can’t remember now. Someone threw a towel on the bird's head to cover the eyes. Then my friend dragonbean stepped over and help unwind the line. The bird was trying to bite anything that was moving. Luckily, it was freed less than a minute and without a broken bone. It flew away screaming...hehe

Posted by adam24

I fish a lot from the party boats and it happens at least once every time and most times more then once. Those pelicans get pis.ed when they are hooked, I saw a deck hand get equally pis.ed and punch a pelican and it didn’t do anything, it didn’t even bother it or at least it didn’t show. Last Nov. at Catalina one of the guys tangled a bald eagle. It fell into the water and the Capt. backed the boat to him quickly and he grabbed the net but they couldn't lift him without harm so I took a towel and covered his head and just lifted him out of the water. He was a big bird but surprisingly didn’t weigh very much. Anyhow it sat calmly while I held it for about 3 minutes while it was untangled then released unharmed. Pretty cool experience to be that close to a bald eagle, I’m just glad that it was o.k. I tried to take a picture but it didn’t turn out that great hard to hold an eagle and take a picture. Adam in Tucson