Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Colombianrico

Whats the best way to catch shad

Rate this topic

14 posts in this topic

Back in the 80's and early 90's I did a whole lotta fishing for American shad and had a blast doing it. I guess I've caught thousands of shad in my day - with the biggest maybe 7 pounds. There was a regular crowd of guys and we'd all meet up again year after year while the shad were running. Peak season is right about the time the magnolias bloom but they're in the river as soon as the shad blow blooms. The season is nearing the end and the fish are usually getting pretty beat up when the cottonwood "snow" starts to fall.

 

I found the best results were fishing red head white body white tail, chartreuse head and yellow body yellow tail, or red head and yellow body yellow tail 1/8 ounce shad darts from the western shore just downstream from the ************ in the rapids

 

Large schools of shad would hold up against the bank there. We'd fish light 6 or 7 foot poles with 6 pound test mono and reels about the size of a Penn 716. Casting straight out, we'd flip the bail over as soon as the dart hit the water, finger the line and let it swing downstream until it stopped dead downstream from you. Then you'd give it a tug to make sure one hadn't hit the stopped dart - then you'd reel it in. They never hit on the retrieve so you can just crank it in quickly and cast again. They'd hit the dart only as it swung in front of their "space". Sometimes the pickup would be light so set on the slightest tap.

 

If you're snagging bottom too often your dart is too heavy or your casting upstream. The dart should just float off the bottom - tapping a rock here and there as it swings. The shad hold the bottom.

 

The "other" places I used to fish were in Windsor Locks on the lower Farmington and in Windsor on the Connecticut from a boat launch. There we'd use a lure called a willow leaf which was basically a willow leaf spinner blade with a jig hook soldered to the concave surface. You'd fish that on a leader of maybe 2 feet of 8 pound test mono behind a bead chain drail sinker of maybe 1/4 - 1/2 depending on the river height.

 

The method there was a simple cast straight out and slowly retrieve the lure. They would hit on the retrieve and by varying weights and retrieve speeds you'd zero in on the schools.

 

I haven't been shad fishing in years - and I'm still in touch with one old shad fishing buddy that says there aren't any more shad to be caught...but I dunno. If you want specific locations - PM me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
View Postfair warning though - it's against the law to liveline any alosid in CT as far as I know.

 

According to the 2009 Angler's Guide any fish of legal size can be used as bait provided it was caught with hook and line, so if you can catch and keep it legally you can use it for bait legally, which would mean that the the only alosids you can't use would be bluebacks and alewifes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shad are awesome fish to catch. One of my favorites because of their jumps and because they have soft mouths. That means you really have to play them.

 

Not only will they hit the shad dart, but they'll hit a variety of lures. Break out your freshwater trout stuff.

 

Here are some lures I've caught them on. Roostertails, small fin-s, mepps cyclops, daredevles and kastmasters. Pretty much anything that will shine. They're also great on the flyrod so if you have a 4 or 5 weight and some small flies like a woolybugger(the ones with the flashabou in them), they can be a lot of fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another vote for the willow leaves, or small spinners. Also had a lot of luck in the fall on small jigheads - 1/4 or 3/8 with a very small or piece of a larger soft plastic (fin-s, sluggo, zoom etc.) Usually would tie a teaser above it just like I do plugging for bass and it wasn't unusual to land a hickory on the jig and the teaser. Never really targeted them on the CT, but those methods worked for me in Niantic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me it is Shad darts on an 8' fly pole. Smaller the better. Lots of fun. Well, used to be. Before all the BS laws and lawyers when we were still able to take some risk and be responsible for ourselves the best place I knew of to catch tons of shad was stand under a dam. They will lock you up for this now.

We would line up under the dam at any over flows and take turns hooking fish. They want to run up river so any water come over they run right up to. Just dangle the dart in the foam and you had on a Shad.

 

Recent yrs passed I've gotten them in some rivers. We spot them while striper fishing and change poles to play. Poor mans Salmon are fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
View PostFor me it is Shad darts on an 8' fly pole. Smaller the better. Lots of fun. Well, used to be. Before all the BS laws and lawyers when we were still able to take some risk and be responsible for ourselves the best place I knew of to catch tons of shad was stand under a dam. They will lock you up for this now.

We would line up under the dam at any over flows and take turns hooking fish. They want to run up river so any water come over they run right up to. Just dangle the dart in the foam and you had on a Shad.

 

Recent yrs passed I've gotten them in some rivers. We spot them while striper fishing and change poles to play. Poor mans Salmon are fun.

 

 

 

Lock you up for fishing the dam or fishing for shad?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.