So what's a bird teaser, and why do I need one? Well ...
It's a big old ocean out there with plenty of space for hungry fish to amble around, blissfully unaware of the presence of our trolling lines.
Wouldn't it be great if our lures could shout out, in fishy-speak of course, "HEY GUYS, WE'RE OVER HERE - COME AND GET US!"
Well, I have good news ...
If you were a baitfish, the very last thing you'd want to do is splash around on the surface, announcing your presence to grateful predators safely lurking some distance away. "Hey guys, we're over here ...!!!"
Well a bird teaser (or just 'bird' as they're usually known as) has no such reservations. He spends all his time leaping around on the surface, much in the way of a demented break-dancer and shouting at the top of his voice, "Hey guys, ...!!!"
They're decoys, not lures, there's no hook involved. They come in various shapes and sizes, often resembling a baitfish or a squid - not that it matters a jot what they look like as long as they make a fuss on the surface.
Some have winglets on each side which sends stray out laterally, while others resemble a bowling pin.
They all do the job - which is to encourage any nearby predator to wonder what all the fuss is about, cruise over and take a look.
What he'll believe he's seeing is a small shoal of baitfish playing around, one of which is straggling off the back, away from the others. Your lure - the obvious target.
Birds are designed to operate on the surface, so they can't be used with trolling lures that will pull them under.
If you use trolling lines, either as an offshore sailor or a sport fisherman, then probably the simplest and most effective thing you can do to improve your strike rate is to tow a bird astern, just ahead of your trolling lure.
If you're using your bird together with a daisy chain (and there's no reason why you shouldn't), then attach the bird some 3m ahead of the first teaser in the daisy chain.
There are two ways of rigging a bird:~
This is a good way to go if you're using a trolling handline, but less so if you're using a rod and reel.
A Bird Teaser
Birds are supplied either rigged on a short line of heavy mono like the example shown on the left, or unrigged like the one below.
Incidentally, the one shown above is one of mine. I can't remember where I bought it, nor can I find another like it on the internet. If you can, please let me know.
Birds come in a number of shapes and sizes. The one on the right from Boone Lures is provided as a daisy chain rig, and very tasty it looks too. Note the winglets on each side of the bird, they're not there to make the lure spin - that's the last thing you want.
These will scoop up water and fling it out sideways, creating a disturbance about 4ft wide. Imagine what that looks like from the viewpoint of a fish below.
Big game fisherman hunting giant marlin will want something a little larger - well, rather a lot larger.
Just take a look at this beauty ...
If you're trolling with a rod and reel, then having a bird rigged as described above will be inconvenient when it arrives at your rod tip, leaving your catch cruising smugly around, safely out of reach of the gaff. Of course for experienced sports fishermen this is no big deal, they'll just don the protective gloves and hand line the fish in - but this is not without its risks.
So the bird teaser should be deployed on its own line, completely independent of the trolling line. Just make sure to position it such that the trolling lure is the appropriate distance astern of it - never ahead, as the fish will ignore your lure and have a crack at the bird.
I know of at least one offshore yachtsman who always tows one of these astern - even when he's not got a trolling line out - just to see the spectacular strikes on it by ocean gamefish.