Photo Essay – Blitzes look like chaos, but choreography is reveled from above!
As the summer gives way to September, young-of-the-year baitfish of all species will begin to drop out of their natal estuaries. Fleeing their home waters where schoolie bass and snapper blues were their main concern, they often find themselves in much worse shape as they run along the oceanfront. Epic feeds break open on the beach as huge schools of striped bass converge on the bite-sized baitfish and feed all at once. The perception is that these blitzes are chaos, fish feeding selfishly, running in all directions, anglers on the shore and leaning against the gunnels of small boats jockey for position, trying to make the perfect cast.
I used to see chaos in these moments too, but watching the blitzes from above has given me a new perspective. Striped bass often feed in a spiral or what looks like a hurricane from above—nature emulating nature. As my drone captures the wild scene from above, I find myself transfixed, watching these fish sinuously following the track of the fish ahead of them in a school of thousands. From the surf, jetty, or the point of view of a boat we see the pure mayhem of an all-out feeding frenzy, but seeing the fish from below or above gives a whole new sense of how choreography and chaos collide in the heat of a striper blitz.