TBYRD

2019 Shad Fishing

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I never became a proficient shad fisherman in the half dozen tries I made in the Merrimack back in the 80s.

I found it frustrating that seemingly so much luck was required. 

 

Invariably there would be 3 or 4 guys in the conga line getting double digit hookups while 30 others watched and hoped for just one.

I wouldn't mind if it was skill or experience that made the difference but my observations were that it was location. 

 

The guys getting a good swing through a very narrow honey hole got the hook ups.

If guys traded places, the one in the honey hole drift always hooked up.

 

I don't like to watch.

 

Of course no question a hook up on light tackle is a beautiful thing.

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One thing I did like about shad in the Merrimack was in June when they dropped back down.

They apparently feed aggressive after spawning and would hit a one oz jig with trailer. 

I never targeted them specifically but I had several nice ones by accident at the mouth. 

Always thought I had salmon on.

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3 hours ago, mikez2 said:

I never became a proficient shad fisherman in the half dozen tries I made in the Merrimack back in the 80s.

I found it frustrating that seemingly so much luck was required. 

 

Invariably there would be 3 or 4 guys in the conga line getting double digit hookups while 30 others watched and hoped for just one.

I wouldn't mind if it was skill or experience that made the difference but my observations were that it was location. 

 

The guys getting a good swing through a very narrow honey hole got the hook ups.

If guys traded places, the one in the honey hole drift always hooked up.

 

I don't like to watch.

 

Of course no question a hook up on light tackle is a beautiful thing.

I haven't fished from shore on the 'mac, preferring to fish from a canoe with fore and aft anchor rigs there.

 

MUCH easier (IMO) to get a good drift that way.   Don't recall ever getting skunked there.

 

 

 

 

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RE tackle:

 

I can only speak for the Merrimac R.

 

fly rods in 5- or 6-weight, the slower the action the better given delicate mouths.  Small clousers and shad darts.  IIRC, they were 8' to 8 1/2'.  (You could easily get by with longer or shorter rods.  Those are what I had at the time.)

 

Light spinning rods for tossing darts.  (Think of rods that you'd select for SMB or large trout in rivers, as long as they're good for casting 1/8 to 1/4 oz payloads.)

 

I've never used those cool-looking micro-spoons that the OP makes, but I'll wager that I could cast them with a fly rod.  (Might need some split shot to get them down at times.)

 

 

 

 

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Can the Indian and N rivers be effectively fished from shore?  Or would fishing from canoe be better?

 

(I've never been to either one, as you can all tell.)

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For the 'Mac I like my 7 weight and sometimes an 8 because it seems like I'm always dealing with wind there. Tides are important in some spots because there are only a few where you have any backcast room from shore. With my 8 weight I have some shooting heads that make this at least a little better. Otherwise you're fishing sub-optimal tides with fewer hookups. The flies I've done best with are very small clousers with a gold body, white marabou or bunny tail and red marabou or bunny wing, but I've got them on brown and tan bonefish flies too. I should probably drag my canoe or tin boat down sometime, it would be a lot less frustrating...

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3 mins ago, stormy monday said:

For the 'Mac I like my 7 weight and sometimes an 8 because it seems like I'm always dealing with wind there. Tides are important in some spots because there are only a few where you have any backcast room from shore. With my 8 weight I have some shooting heads that make this at least a little better. Otherwise you're fishing sub-optimal tides with fewer hookups. The flies I've done best with are very small clousers with a gold body, white marabou or bunny tail and red marabou or bunny wing, but I've got them on brown and tan bonefish flies too. I should probably drag my canoe or tin boat down sometime, it would be a lot less frustrating...

Hadn't even considered the bonefish flies, but that's a great idea!!

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1 hour ago, Southcoastphil said:

Can the Indian and N rivers be effectively fished from shore?  Or would fishing from canoe be better?

 

(I've never been to either one, as you can all tell.)

PM sent. 

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5 hours ago, bdowning said:

... . The Charles River is intriguing and I've never tried it for shad. I hear it's improving, but that's all I know about it. 

MA DMF had a huge shad restoration program in the Charles a few years back.....was ongoing for a number of years.  

Unsure if it was successful or if it is still ongoing.

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1 hour ago, Joe G said:

MA DMF had a huge shad restoration program in the Charles a few years back.....was ongoing for a number of years.  

Unsure if it was successful or if it is still ongoing.

Is it normal to see large numbers of dead shad on the shore this time of year? That may answer your question.

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I've tried finding them on the South Shore several times at the locally known spots and came up with zilch.  It was in the early stages of the run but didn't connect unfortunately.   I think each time I ended up giving up and started banging out SB instead.  :o  

I would love to add them to my new species list on the fly rod.   

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Made a few casts in the 'Mac on the way home today, water was a little high so I only had 20' max backcast room. Not as much smeg floating down the river as I've seen in the past but several new strainers along the bank. Nothing caught or seen casting was a PITA but it was nice to feel the sun and that little leak in my waders I'd forgotten about...

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On 4/17/2019 at 4:39 PM, flylikabird said:

I've tried finding them on the South Shore several times at the locally known spots and came up with zilch.  It was in the early stages of the run but didn't connect unfortunately.   I think each time I ended up giving up and started banging out SB instead.  :o  

I would love to add them to my new species list on the fly rod.   

If you have ever fished the Swift for trout, I would say fly fishing for shad in the spring is very similar. They can be swimming all around your feet. You can drop flies on their head, drift through dozens of them, and they just don't hit. Can be very frustrating, but awesome when you do hookup.

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31 mins ago, HanoverStriper said:

If you have ever fished the Swift for trout, I would say fly fishing for shad in the spring is very similar. They can be swimming all around your feet. You can drop flies on their head, drift through dozens of them, and they just don't hit. Can be very frustrating, but awesome when you do hookup.

Then I may be in trouble for shad. The swift is very frustrating for me

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