saltygator

Unhooking lure from a bird?

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Today I went surf fishing for the first time in months and it was just an awful day. My goal was to land my first tarpon but I ended up with some kind of falcon instead...

 

Here’s the backstory. I got out of classes for the day, rushed home, and drove two hours to an inlet. Few casts in I got a bite and as I set the hook my FG knot became completely undone because I tied it months ago and I lose a nice lure. No problem, I’ll retie and throw on my confidence lure. I did that and first cast a bird came swooping down on my lure. I let out some line hoping it’ll fall out but I had some sharp hooks on there so it didn’t. That left me no choice but to reel it in and try to remove it.
 

Once I got it in closer I realized it was a freaking falcon. My hook was dug into its belly and he was going crazy when he got near me. every time I got close, it’d get in a pretty aggressive stance and go nuts. After 15-20 minutes or so of this standoff and me trying to calm it, I gave up and just ran at it close enough to cut the 80# fluoro about 5-6” from the lure and run away before it came at me again. I felt like crap watching it fly away with a plug dangling from its underside. Packed it up and called it a day. But wait there’s more, during this whole standoff the water was quickly rising and my shoes got swept away! But wait there’s even more! When I got back to my car I tied on a bucktail to my new baitcaster set up to maybe try inshore until the sunset. Quickly tied it on and shut the door to my trunk and I hear crackles... My 1 day old Gloomis GLX, that I saved up for all summer for, broken in 4 spots at top 1/4 or so. 

 

Sorry for the long post, I just feel like crap for the bird situation plus everything else. I mainly came here to ask about the falcon. Do you guys have any tips on what I should’ve done with the bird? 

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Yeah I’ve never dealt with a falcon before only a seagull which i managed to pull him in and hold him up by the neck as gently as i could while untangling him. 
 

However, someone told me the best method is to put a towel over the bird and then attack the situation that way. 
 

Sucks to hear that it was a bird of prey, but i don’t blame you. Those talons can do some serious damage im sure. 

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5 mins ago, PlumFishing said:

Get a towel over it’s head, grab your pliers and testicles, get busy removing hook. Just the way it is. 
Sure it was a falcon? 

Honestly I don’t know a whole lot about birds but the eyes matches what I’ve seen from looking it up. I guess it could be a hawk but I’m not well versed enough to tell the difference. I definitely won’t ever go without a towel now. I thought about using my shirt but I didn’t know if it was big enough 

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Throw a towel over its head and then grab by the scruff of it's neck through the towel gently but with enough force so it does not get away from you. Makes sure you grab it far enough up on its neck that it cannot turn around on you (species dependent). With the pliers work the barbs and hooks clear of its beak by maintaining pressure outwardand down from the puncture point(s). Once the bird is free abstain from throwing it back toward the water but rather drop it and back away. Depending on the species they can come flying back at you.

Edited by Slowwwride

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3 mins ago, saltygator said:

Honestly I don’t know a whole lot about birds but the eyes matches what I’ve seen from looking it up. I guess it could be a hawk but I’m not well versed enough to tell the difference. I definitely won’t ever go without a towel now. I thought about using my shirt but I didn’t know if it was big enough 

To @rocco any thoughts on this?

@saltygator can you give a better description on the bird/location/etc. 

Rocco is a decent cook but better with bird things :wee:

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3 mins ago, Slowwwride said:

Throw a towel over its head and then grab by the scruff of it's neck through the towel gently but with enough force so it does not get away from you. Makes sure you grab it far enough up on its neck that it cannot turn around on you (species dependent). With the pliers work the barbs and hooks clear of its beak by maintaining pressure outwardand down from the puncture point(s). Once the bird is free abstain from throwing it back toward the water but rather drop it and back away. Depending on the species they can come flying back at you.

Good point on grabbing it far up enough. This guy definitely had some good range of motion on him. I tried sneaking up on it at some point but it immediately turned its head back 

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4 mins ago, Slowwwride said:

Throw a towel over its head and then grab by the scruff of it's neck through the towel gently but with enough force so it does not get away from you. Makes sure you grab it far enough up on its neck that it cannot turn around on you (species dependent). With the pliers work the barbs and hooks clear of its beak by maintaining pressure outwardand down from the puncture point(s). Once the bird is free abstain from throwing it back toward the water but rather drop it and back away. Depending on the species they can come flying back at you.

Seems the bird was stuck in the biscuit. 

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9 mins ago, PlumFishing said:

To @rocco any thoughts on this?

@saltygator can you give a better description on the bird/location/etc. 

Rocco is a decent cook but better with bird things :wee:

I feel like it’s all a blur but it had a dark brown top and white underside. I think some of the feathers on the wings had a striated white/brown look to it. Located in North/Central Florida and the area is on the coast but lots of forests almost right on the coast and marshes

 

edit: There were a few others nearby and they were diving at schools mullet. I watched it for a while when it flew away and noticed it had consistent flapping and didn’t glide. Not sure if it was due to having a 1 oz lure stuck to its underside though 

Edited by saltygator

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I'm almost 100% sure you hooked an Osprey, since the only other raptor that will catch fish is an eagle. I've attached some images similar to the body/wing positions you likely saw.

 

Osprey 2.jpg

 

osprey 1.jpg

 

I always carry in my Beach Buggy a pair of heavy leather work gloves, a large, thick Bath Towel, and a 34 inch Arc De-Hooker. 

webpic34inchbiggamethnopackage.jpg

There is no reason you cannot carry the same in your Beach Fishing gear, even though you walk on. 

 

I have personally handled songbirds, small medium and large Parrots, Seagulls and Cormorants, and my wife was privileged to rescue a Red Tailed Hawk from a bus stop type of 4-walled enclosure with an opening, so the following is from our personal experience:

 

To immobilize a bird, you must throw the towel over its head and grab it from behind at the base of the skull, but not so hard as to injure its neck. Remember that the towel must cover its eyes and beak, essentially like a hood, and your hand primairily serves the purpose to hold the "hood" in place.  It is very important not to apply pressure to the eyes, as they will be flattened and likely blind the bird. The next step is to fold the birds wings to its body, making sure not to apply any twisting force, and wrap its body in the towel, which will allow you to cradle it on its back, much like you would an infant. Birds can fly because their bones are mostly hollow, so they can be easily broken, so you must apply gentle force, no matter how large the bird.  I am attaching a link to a raptor organization that gives info on this technique.

 

http://www.carolinaraptorcenter.org/rescue/how-to-rescue-a-raptor/

 

The reason for the flapping and non-gliding of the Osprey that you hooked was the bird trying to overcome the additional weight of the lure.  I assume that you do not fish crushed barbs. nor do you decrease the number of hooks to one belly hook and either a single tail hook or a flag.  If this is true, it is unlikely that the lure will fall out, and it is very likely that this bird will starve and die, unless it is lucky enough to encounter someone capable of capturing it and getting it to a licensed rehabilitator.  Unfortunately, birds require a very steady, daily intake of nourishment to survive, as they burn tremendous amounts of energy hunting or foraging, as in the case of songbirds or shorebirds. Ospreys hunt by hovering over water until the spot a fish, then they dive, landing an almost submerging, and lift their body off the water with a powerful flap of their wings.  This bird will be unlikely to perform this hunting process, given that you observed the additional weight adversely affecting its flight.

 

Sorry for the somewhat downer post, but I believe in providing honest facts when I post.

Edited by FlatWing

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If the beak was hooked (shaped) like the pic above it would be some kind of hawk. If the beak was straight and pointed it may have been  an immature laughing gull especially since there were others. 

 

Laughing_Gull_m17-46-082_l.jpg?itok=P_FuKy7_

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Oh man that was a tough story. Crappy about the bird. Hopefully someone finds him and they take him to a rescue. These are the things we need to be prepared for but not everyone knows the deal. Line  tangles are a little easier to deal with but a hook in the gut is a tough one. 

 

All good oof advice above but you won’t really learn until you do it one time successfully. It’s actually very rewarding handling an animal like that and doing the right thing. 

 

Anyway, chalk it up to experience and learn from it. 

 

Sorry about your rod man. 

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Ospreys are big birds. I could only imagine how difficult it would be to corral one. I have a couple spots where there are ospreys everywhere. I got the privilege to watch over 30 work a school of bunker this spring. Now anything's possible but, I've never seen one give more than a passing glance at a plug. There vision is insane. If it was sickly it mite be another story. Trying to get a plug out of  p**sed off osprey would not be fun

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