I haven’t told many people this over the years but way back when I used to run the marsh in Louisiana I was always learning. I was always trying to better understand the feeding habits of the redfish in the marsh so I could be more successful. One of the most important factors to being successful in the marsh is finding the fish and sometimes it can be a chore in the vast open marsh. Observations were very important to me and one observation I made after a few years is that groups of feeding fish poop a lot when they are feeding, and the redfish was no different. On a few occasions when I had found redfish in an area feeding on mullet, I also found the presence of what looked to be small floating dog turds in the same areas I was catching a lot of fish, so I started examining the floating oddities and sure enough they in fact were fish turds. I finally cracked the code on locating redfish; just look for the presence of turds. Of course, that’s not always possible if the wind is blowing or the tide is moving very swiftly but, on a few occasions, when the wind is calm and there are a lot of hidden fish in an area, you can’t hide the turds.
Ok, you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this, so I’ll get to the point. Yesterday when I was making my rounds in the creek checking ditches, I pulled into one ditch and around 45-50 feet in ditch depth I saw a massive school of bluebacks that were thick from 20 feet all the way down to the bottom. Another observation I made and it’s not the first time I’ve made this observation, is the presence of these small floating splotches of discolored bubbles about the size of pancakes above the middle of the ditch. Shortly thereafter I started marking a steady stream of fish moving about the bottom but not interested in feeding. I knew right away what was going on; these were stripers that had just got done feeding on that massive school of bluebacks and they were just chilling in the pocket. The pancake splotches on the surface are something I see often in the areas where large schools of stripers are or have been feeding and there is no wind to break up the flotilla of liquid poop. I took a snapshot of the stripers chilling on the bottom while I was banging my spoon all over these fish and they had no interest in eating at that point. They were just chilling on the bottom near the massive cloud of bluebacks. This isn’t the first time I’ve found this phenomenon and since I first observed it, I’m seeing it more and more over the course of the past few years. If anything, it’s just another tool to help find these fish and sometimes you really need to get outside the box to do some thinking. Next time you’re out, keep in mind that there could be the presence of poop, and where there’s poop, there are probably going to be some fat stripers just chilling on the bottom after a delicious meal of bluebacks.