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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 12-07-2011, 07:43 AM
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Default Re: Shad?

This is your target:

[IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]

I usually catch them twice a year. May/June I head to the Delaware with a 7wt and a bunch of flies that are even simpler than what Ripetide posted. Size 1 Hook, wrap the shank with silver or gold tinsle and a chenelle head. Brightest colors you can find.
I also catch them in the Fall while Striper fishing but it's no where near as much fun as the Delaware run.
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  #12 (permalink)  
Old 12-07-2011, 08:16 AM
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Default Re: Shad?

Swirl, That's a hickory shad. It's the American shad that really gets people worked up in the spring.
They put up the same sort of aerial fight, but are pounds larger

American Shad
Quote:
Female shad, carrying their eggs during the spawning run, average four to five pounds, with a six- or seven-pounder fairly common. The males are smaller for their age. Shad can grow to 30 inches, with a maximum weight of about 12 pounds. Shad are brilliantly silver on the sides, with a greenish or bluish-metallic sheen on the back. The scales are large and readily detach when the fish is handled. Shad have one to two, rarely three, rows of dark spots extending along the side from the back edge of the gill cover. The first spot is the largest. The body is deep from the side and narrow seen head-on. Shad have sharp-edged modified scales along the belly line, as do other herrings. The dorsal fin is at the center of the back, and the tail is deeply notched. The dorsal and caudal fins are dusky. The caudal fin has a black edge, and the other fins are clear to light-green. The upper and lower jaws are about equal in length, neither jutting past the other. The rear corner of the upper jaw extends to the rear edge of the large eye. The head has a short, triangular look. The shad is notorious for its thin, easily torn mouth tissue.
Click the image to open in full size.

Hickory shad
Quote:
The hickory shad is silver-sided with a dark spot on the shoulder followed in some individuals by several less distinct dark spots. The fish are grayish green on top fading to silvery on the sides. The sides of the head are bronze. The tip of the lower jaw, and the dorsal and caudal fins, are darker. The tail is deeply forked with pointed lobes. The lower jaw projects beyond the upper jaw.

The hickory shad’s shape is unique. The back curves only slightly. The body is long but compressed. In cross section it is wedge-shaped.

The hickory shad ranges in size between the bigger American shad and the smaller blueback herring and alewife. The most common size of a hickory shad is about 12 to 15 inches. A very large specimen would measure 24 inches long, but hickory shad rarely reach two pounds.
Click the image to open in full size.
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  #13 (permalink)  
Old 12-07-2011, 08:44 AM
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Default Re: Shad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post
Swirl, That's a hickory shad. It's the American shad that really gets people worked up in the spring.
They put up the same sort of aerial fight, but are pounds larger

American Shad

Click the image to open in full size.

Hickory shad

Click the image to open in full size.
Sorry. We catch American Shad in the Delaware but do they make their way into brackish water up your way? I assumed he was targeting Hickories being so close to the salt.
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Old 12-07-2011, 02:56 PM
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Default Re: Shad?

I lived in MA as a kid and fished for shad in the Palmer River-- I used a fiberglass 7 weight with a sink tip and small gaudy wet flies--simple stuff tinsel body and red duck quill wings, sometimes behind a split shot-- but a better choice would be weighted flies with beadchain eyes like simple variations of Steelhead patterns like Comets, or inverted bonefish patterns like Crazy Charlies and Mini Puffs in flashy colors on size 6 or 4 gold or silver standard length hooks. There's a fly pattern called a shad dart, not to be confused with the lead head shad jig used by spin fishermen, that looks very much like a wingless mini puff-- but with a short tail of marabou, tinsel body and a beadchain eyes surrounded by a wrap of bright colored chenille behind and in front of the bead chain (like a mini puff bonefish fly).

I'm sure shad can get picky about fly choice, but generally I think it's mostly a question of getting down to the right depth and swinging it in front of them. They often were quite deep, down 6 foot or more and seemed to lay up or travel on the slow side of a seam with faster water.

Looking forward to hearing about your adventures in the spring. ANd congrats on the Atlantics, that's awesome if they're making a comeback.
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Old 12-07-2011, 03:24 PM
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Default Re: Shad?

Quote:
I'm sure shad can get picky about fly choice, but generally I think it's mostly a question of getting down to the right depth and swinging it in front of them. They often were quite deep, down 6 foot or more and seemed to lay up or travel on the slow side of a seam with faster water.
This has also been my experience with shad. We get both Americans & Hickories, and both will take a variety of flies, if you can get it in front of them. I've used many types of flies, from smaller versions of Salmon & Steelhead flies, to colorful versions of Bonefish flies as peregrines suggested.

I have to agree with Rip Tide too, that your best bet is to have a variety of colors, weights & sizes. My best colors have been chartreuse, pinks, & fl. reds, or combinations. Orange works well too often enough, plus I like some flash in them as well.

You often don't have to get too fancy with casting to them either. I've used the down & across approach that Rip mentioned previously, but have also had days were letting the fly just sit in the current would get one hit after another.

Here in MD, I've primarily used flies tied on size 6 hooks for Hickories & size 4 hooks for American's, but like a longer shank hook, such as a 2 or 3X long streamer hook. I think the longer fly gives a better chance of them seeing the fly, and they don't seem shy about taking the bigger fly. I know some guys who use jigs molded on hooks as large as 1/0 for Americans.

---------- Post added at 04:24 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:20 PM ----------

Some shad flies:

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u...9/100_4121.jpg

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u...9/100_4125.jpg

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u...9/100_4129.jpg

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u...9/100_4131.jpg

http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u...9/100_4130.jpg
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Old 12-08-2011, 07:47 AM
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Default Re: Shad?

These are my Shad flies in a size 4, I think. I don't put any weight on my flies because I fish them with a 30' sink head. Like Mark said, getting down to them is the challenge.
[IMG]Click the image to open in full size.[/IMG]
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  #17 (permalink)  
Old 12-13-2011, 08:58 PM
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Default Re: Shad?

I have fished the Palmer River the past two seasons. In my first year I had many hook ups without landing one. Once you hook one you are hooked for sure. It can be a challenge to land them especially in the tight waters like the Palmer where there are alot of logs and brush for the shad to get caught up. This past season with a year under my belt I landed over 10 fish with a few 5+ hens. Landing them was amazing. I used a chartruese 3/16 bead head tied up with a touch of pink before a chartruese calf tail, tail. Most of the fish took around dusk when they began getting active in the pools. The fight that american shad put up is highly under appreciated. They have become one of my favorite species to target. I used a 7wt rod with floating line, the deep pools are only about 5ft. so the weight of the fly gets it deep enough.
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Old 12-14-2011, 05:52 AM
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Default Re: Shad?

Thanks for all the great tips on Shad fishing.

When people around here talk about Shad, they always mention a bridge (Rock's Village Bridge) that's about 1/4 mile from our house, so I think I'm in a good location.

The flies look straightforward to tie up, although I'm sure I'll find that there are some tricks along the way.

I'm headed for a Spey rod so that I can cover more water faster from the shore; although I'll probably fish from a punt or skiff when they start running in the Spring.

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