Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Bait ball at Talland bay

This has to be one of the best wildlife experiences out there. Floating in the middle of a bait ball. These are either Mackerel or a close relative, and they're being attacked by bass. (You can see one dart in around 27 seconds) They're forming the ball to confuse the predators; It's hard to aim at one fish in the shimmering, twisting mass (try it you'll get a headache). A problem with this defence is that it allows fishing boats using mid-water trawl nets to collect whole shoals in one giant scoop as they are so closely packed together. They are also easy to spot from above (both by fisherman and hungry gulls) as when a predator darts up from below the fish can't move to the side due to the press of bodies around them, so must leap into the air in a shimmering wave before landing back in the water with a resounding splash. (Note to self: film a bait ball from the surface).

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