Shad season

Warm water, salt water and more. Talk about it here!
martalus
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Shad season

Post by martalus » Mon Mar 08, 2021 12:46 pm

Its right around the corner. I ordered/received a bunch of shad darts and shad spoons in February just to be sure that I had them in time of this year's shad run-last year a lot of these items were back-ordered in April as everyone was scrambling to buy them all at once. I found fishing a 1/16 oz shad dart in tandem in with a small shad spoon or cast master was a deadly combination for both shad and white perch. Fishing a tandem rig gets a little extra weight to sink in fast/deep water as well as gets the fish's attention. Last year in DC there were so many people fishing and so many fish to catch-it coincided with the height of the pandemic lock down so many folks were laid off restaurant workers who were fishing for white perch out of necessity. I wonder if the crowds will be a bit less this year as things are little more opened up in terms of the economy. Time will tell, I guess. Anyone else have plans to target shad this spring?

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Rusty Spinner
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Re: Shad season

Post by Rusty Spinner » Mon Mar 08, 2021 12:58 pm

martalus wrote:
Mon Mar 08, 2021 12:46 pm
Its right around the corner. I ordered/received a bunch of shad darts and shad spoons in February just to be sure that I had them in time of this year's shad run-last year a lot of these items were back-ordered in April as everyone was scrambling to buy them all at once. I found fishing a 1/16 oz shad dart in tandem in with a small shad spoon or cast master was a deadly combination for both shad and white perch. Fishing a tandem rig gets a little extra weight to sink in fast/deep water as well as gets the fish's attention. Last year in DC there were so many people fishing and so many fish to catch-it coincided with the height of the pandemic lock down so many folks were laid off restaurant workers who were fishing for white perch out of necessity. I wonder if the crowds will be a bit less this year as things are little more opened up in terms of the economy. Time will tell, I guess. Anyone else have plans to target shad this spring?
I'm guessing we will see a slight falloff from last year's record license sales due to the pandemic. Many folks are back to work or headed back soon. I do think participation will remain up over average and by a lot again this year, but not the 200% and 300% some states saw in license sales. That said, I had fun with American shad last spring in the Delaware on the 7 weight and will likely chase them some again this spring. But I prefer trout on dry flies when that opportunity presents itself. I'll be down in VA in the next two weeks for a couple of days and have my VA fishing license......
"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Unknown

martalus
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Re: Shad season

Post by martalus » Mon Mar 08, 2021 2:49 pm

Its been super cold down here/VA lately and I imagine water temps as of today are still in the 30s in the mountains. Luckily there is going to be a big warm up starting tomorrow so water temps could bump up to 40s and maybe beyond. Not sure where in VA you will be-Check out the Rapidan in river if you can-its probably one of the largest wild brook trout streams and you have a decent shot at getting wild brookies in the 12-14 inch range. There must 5-10 miles of public access which is nice.

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the royal coachman
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Re: Shad season

Post by the royal coachman » Sun Mar 21, 2021 4:13 pm

Ah, Shad season. Always my most favorite time of year. It's tough to choose between Shad and Trout so when I have the time I'll often split my time fishing for both. It's still a few weeks away here in North Jersey but they'll be in soon.
I fish because the voices in my head tell me to.

martalus
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Re: Shad season

Post by martalus » Wed Mar 24, 2021 3:00 pm

I am going to start surveying spots this weekend in DC on the Potomac and in the Tidal Basin for white perch, Stripers, and Shad. As of last week, there were reports of some starting to enter the area but you have to put the time in and have the weather/flows cooperate to really hone in. Basically anytime between now and mid/late may is fair game down here and I imagine is the Delaware is similar. Also pre spawn bass and crappie can be found in shallow water of lakes and rivers in this period. Last year in April I had some insane action on shad and white perch-After one 12 hour fishing session, I came down with a high fever, chills, and extreme fatigue-it was the height of the pandemic so I assumed I had got the coronavirus, but it was likely an infection from both exhaustion and from getting spiked by hundreds of white perch dorsal fins...

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Twism86
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Re: Shad season

Post by Twism86 » Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:16 am

I have still never caught a shad! The eagles at Duke Farms have a shad in the nest this morning so they are in the Raritan, too bad you cant fish for them though.
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Genius built the atom bomb. Genius topples nations."

martalus
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Re: Shad season

Post by martalus » Thu Mar 25, 2021 9:46 am

Tom, this is your year! I had assumed you needed a boat to make it happen and have caught them off Lambertville from a boat like 10 years ago, but when they are running thick and you have a good spot picked out, you don't need a boat. I used a medium action rod and 8lb test last year but I actually recommend a light or medium light rod with 6 pound test so that you can whip out your lures a long way-shad darts and spoons are pretty light so the ability to whip them out far is important. UL and 4lb test is a little too light the fish run 2-6 pounds and pull like freight trains. I did well with a tandem shad spoon/shad dart combo, but I suggest tagging along with someone that knows what they are doing if its your first time, especially if you dont have the time to really hone in on the right time/spots.

martalus
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Re: Shad season

Post by martalus » Sat Mar 27, 2021 11:25 am

They are here!!! Did a quick recon mission today in DC. I wasn’t expecting anything but got six shad in about 90 minutes. It’s not the peak yet but good to know they are here and white perch will be following them to eat their eggs. Many Osprey and Merganser were arriving too-so cool to watch an Osprey work fish! The one in the picture went like 5 -6 pounds and bulldogged like crazy. Can anyone tell if it’s an American or hickory? Other five were 1.5-2 lbs and probably hickory but I can’t say for sure. All I know is they fight like crazy!
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kennyp2339
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Re: Shad season

Post by kennyp2339 » Sun Mar 28, 2021 8:21 am

Hearing reports of shad starting to run up the southern Delaware River, a couple reports out of Burlington Co so its only a matter of time for Trenton and points north. I've never really gone shad fishing, but this year I'm going to give it a shot near the water gap area and just from the shore (poor with no boat lol) Anyone know any good bait shops that sell darts and spoons? I stopped by a few local places and no one seems to carry anything, I guess it isn't a popular thing in my section of Jersey to seek out. Will be trying this whole new thing for me with a 8ft rod, spinner reel w/ 10lb braided line and fluorocarbon leader.

martalus
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Re: Shad season

Post by martalus » Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:14 am

I ordered both shad darts and shad spoons from Dicks sporting goods-check your local tackle shop and if you dont find them order from Dicks. If you can’t find them small cast master spoons in combo with 1/16 oz chartreuse grub jigs also will get you fish. The key is being able to cast far, sink, and attract that attention of the shad. Where I fish in DC is a natural choke point where the river narrows down with rocks jutting out and there is a dam/water falls stops their up stream movement. I don’t know of any similar spot on the Delaware as it is uniformly wider with no obstacles, but if you can find a rocky point that you can get out on safely, that will give you some advantage. I think some people also wade the Delaware but be careful! I have never fished for salmon so the shad run may be the closest I ever get! The fact that I can drive 10 minutes from my house in DC and hike 10-15 minutes for an epic shad, white perch and striped run still astounds me.

martalus
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Re: Shad season

Post by martalus » Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:25 am

https://m.facebook.com/pages/category/F ... 925240096/
Maybe highway sports on 31 has shad darts?

kennyp2339
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Re: Shad season

Post by kennyp2339 » Sun Mar 28, 2021 11:29 am

martalus wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 9:14 am
I ordered both shad darts and shad spoons from Dicks sporting goods-check your local tackle shop and if you dont find them order from Dicks. If you can’t find them small cast master spoons in combo with 1/16 oz chartreuse grub jigs also will get you fish. The key is being able to cast far, sink, and attract that attention of the shad. Where I fish in DC is a natural choke point where the river narrows down with rocks jutting out and there is a dam/water falls stops their up stream movement. I don’t know of any similar spot on the Delaware as it is uniformly wider with no obstacles, but if you can find a rocky point that you can get out on safely, that will give you some advantage. I think some people also wade the Delaware but be careful! I have never fished for salmon so the shad run may be the closest I ever get! The fact that I can drive 10 minutes from my house in DC and hike 10-15 minutes for an epic shad, white perch and striped run still astounds me.
Thank you, I'm closer to the NY boarder so if I cant find local tackle, I'll order online, in the meanwhile I'll grab some jig heads and a few packs of 2" grubs and hopefully get lucky. I can make it to the water gap and north to Port Jervis between 30 - 35min, def worth the time / ride. Hopefully the weather bounces back to warmer temps by Easter to turn the bite on, I'll post pics if I'm lucky to land a few.

martalus
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Re: Shad season

Post by martalus » Sun Mar 28, 2021 11:47 am

You should be able to find small 1.5 -2inch castmaster spoons or a similar brand anywhere. When fished a spoon and jig or dart tandem by leaving a 12-18 inch tag line when you tie the heavier lure will increase your chances or catching fish significantly.

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46er
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Re: Shad season

Post by 46er » Thu Apr 01, 2021 8:18 pm

kennyp2339 wrote:
Sun Mar 28, 2021 11:29 am
Thank you, I'm closer to the NY boarder so if I cant find local tackle, I'll order online,
Try Kaseys in Port Jervis.
aka; Ralph
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Rusty Spinner
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Re: Shad season

Post by Rusty Spinner » Fri Apr 02, 2021 9:24 am

My buddy who wins lots of fishig tourneys has already been doing well to okay in the Lambertville area, and I know another buddy that has already been into some fish as high up as Poxono in the big D.
"A sinking fly is closer to Hell" - Unknown

martalus
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Re: Shad season

Post by martalus » Fri Apr 02, 2021 9:48 am

The air and temperatures plummeted here in DC and I imagine in NJ too-we even had snow showers overnight-an 85 degree day would have been just as likely...record cold temps tonight in the 20s. River didnt spike as much as expected so I will try for shad this weekend again down here, but am not feeling to optimistic with water temps going from near 60 earlier this week to the 40s...

kennyp2339
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Re: Shad season

Post by kennyp2339 » Sat Apr 03, 2021 8:59 am

Same up here is Sussex Co NJ, cold came in and w/ vengeance but its short lived, we're suppose to be in the 50's today, might hit the upper 50's to 60 base tomorrow for Easter then low 60's for the rest of the week, I'm hoping to get out on the Delaware River Wednesday to give my luck a shot, I'll be paying attention to this forum and the shad hotline forum the next couple of days. The nice benefit to this spring so far has been warmer temps compared to the last few years and no major flooding rains, our snow pack up here melted with a pretty easy rhythm and the water sheds are not all backed up with water, things are moving along rather nicely actually. I was able to pick up a pair of new waders for $120.00 and made some lures that should work for shad, I'm also working on some surgeon knots to make some double rigs to increase my luck based on advice I've read here & youtube videos. I can wait to get out there and give my quick learned knowledge a shot. I also might get out on lake waywayanda this evening just to poke around and do some fishing.

martalus
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Re: Shad season

Post by martalus » Sat Apr 03, 2021 7:02 pm

Shad fishing was dead this morning with water temps back in the 40s but picked up again this afternoon as the sun warmed up the water. We got into a pod of fat DC hickories!
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kennyp2339
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Re: Shad season

Post by kennyp2339 » Sun Apr 04, 2021 11:08 am

Things are looking good here, I stopped at a small tackle shop near me just to see what they had, and older guy was working and asked if I needed help, told him I was looking for some shad lures and spoons, his face lit up and he said not to many people ask about those but he has a special area that he keeps shad lures, I basically bought 4 everything, spoons, darts, double rigs, I feel very well stocked and hopefully this week I can get out and put them into good use.

martalus
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Re: Shad season

Post by martalus » Tue Apr 06, 2021 8:14 am

Hope you all are able to get on some shad-If its like DC, its kind of like this festive atmosphere with like minded anglers of all backgrounds. Everyone knows its just once a year and if you time it right you are going get some great fishing and great fellowship in. Again, the key to shoreline fishing is finding a rock/point to get out on or some kind of similar choke point where you can cast into the main channel/seam of the channel as well as cast into slack water. Also, dont be afraid to add some split shot and cast up stream of where you think fish might be as you need to get it to sink. I was fishing an area 10-30 feet deep this weekend and getting it down was important, especially in the middle of the day when they are moving upstream. First thing in the morning they were more shallow in an eddy, resting before they pushed up stream. Good luck!

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