Shad 101
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Thread: Shad 101

  1. #1
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    Talking Shad 101

    Its that time of year that the shad come out of the ocean and into our rivers and creeks for there spawing runs. They hit up the larger rivers, Cape Fear, Neuse and Roanoke and all the creeks and places in between. The typical catch in our area are of Hickory and American, also called white shad. Lots of people call these "poor mans tarpon" because of the acrobatics and great fight these fish give.

    NOTE.... FOR THE 2013 SEASON you can only have 1 American Shad in the creel. The limit of shad is 10 with only 1 American shad. www.ncwildlife.org

    Shad ID chart. The ones that favor our local waters and bite on spoons/darts are the Hickory and American shad.
    http://fishandboat.com/pafish/shad/p...ad-herring.pdf

    These fish run in schools up the rivers and are taken by fishermen casting shiny darts/grubs and spoon combinations. These could be darts designed for shad or either assorted crappie jigs in a vast array of colors.

    Normal tackle would consist of light spinning gear with anywhere from 4-10 pound test line. At times you can cast and start winding when the lures hit the water, other times you have to let the lures sink some and catch the fish deeper. Best to alternate styles of casting and retreiving and then let the fish tell you how they want it for the day. Normally early mornings and late afternoons or cloudy days, the fish run closer to the top of the water column. When the sun gets bright at mid-day they run a little deeper.

    This is a normal setup...in this case a grub above a spoon about 12-18 inches.


    Assorted spoons for shad...they come in silver, gold, with and with out feathers, red, pink/white, green/white, orange/white and other colors. There are assorted sizes and styles on the market.


    Typical crappie grubs that work great also for shad...


    This is a crappie jig and a shad dart.


    This is a pack of grubs all with a jig head bought a Wally world for about 3 bucks.


    The fly fisherman can easily cash in on the fly fishing scene. Using 4-5 or 6 weight outfits they chase there quary from banks or boats. You can use a floating line or an intermediate line for casting. I normally use a floating but keep a sinking line with me just in case the fish are a little deeper in the water column.

    Here are some flies and set ups ...





    Check out these links to Hickory and American Shad...
    http://www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/...ad_profile.pdf
    http://www.ncwildlife.org/Portals/0/...ad_profile.pdf

    Eating shad...

    Shad are boney fish so be prepared to gnaw on some bones to get to the meat. Most take and dress the fish, put some deep gashes on each side so the fish can cook quickly and make the bones brittle. The best part is the roe or fish eggs. They make for a great shore lunch fried up and put in a piece of bread.
    American shad are better to eat than the hickory but everyone has there own preferences.

    Cut shad bait is great for catfish and stripers...

    Friends, Fishing, Fellowship..RED X ANGLER

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  3. #2
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    These are some flies I tied last year for shad hope to do better this year. Any reports yet on shad at Locke 1?






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  4. #3
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    Looking good there Eddie....haven't heard anything from the Cape Fear. They are catching shad along the Neuse, Tar and Roanoke Rivers.
    BigE818, dbeam, and RouseD like this.

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  6. #4
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    very informative! where would be the closest river to raleigh you could find shad when they run up?
    with the grub down to a spoon, do you use any knot in particular to tie your grub so its inline with the line? or does it not really matter?
    dbeam likes this.

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  7. #5
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    i was also interested in tying my own shad darts, i have had no luck so far on the tar around greenville.
    dbeam likes this.


  8. #6
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    awesome post, very informative for us folks who have never played with shad, makes me wanna try it
    I saw a episode of carolina outdoor journal a while back. they had a pretty good day going after them
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  9. #7
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    Shad, I think they are mythical creatures invented to lure gullible hillbillies east, kinda like a snipe hunt

    Red X angler

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    Quote Originally Posted by slickrocktom View Post
    Shad, I think they are mythical creatures invented to lure gullible hillbillies east, kinda like a snipe hunt

    It seems to work pretty good, now for the Sasquach seekers...
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  11. #9
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    Great post Scott, thanks!
    dbeam, and SnowCamp like this.

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  12. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishinCary View Post
    very informative! where would be the closest river to raleigh you could find shad when they run up?
    with the grub down to a spoon, do you use any knot in particular to tie your grub so its inline with the line? or does it not really matter?
    The Tar River around Rocky Mount has excellent Shad fishing.
    dbeam, moose22dog, RouseD, and WNCSLIM like this.


  13. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishinCary View Post
    very informative! where would be the closest river to raleigh you could find shad when they run up?
    with the grub down to a spoon, do you use any knot in particular to tie your grub so its inline with the line? or does it not really matter?
    Milburnie Dam on the Neuse river in Raleigh should have them around the end of March up to the first to May. I have caught them as early as March 21st at that location. The numbers aren't great numbers but you can also catch an occasional striper or 2 in there depending on the water level and flow. I would recommend taking a trip to Goldsboro or go to Rocky Mount at Battle Park as the fish will arrive at those areas first and in good numbers.
    dbeam, moose22dog, RouseD, and sgrfmde452 like this.


  14. #12
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    Shad need a good water flow to come up into the rivers and creeks, so we need some rain. Usually when the rains come in the spring, they let water out of Falls Lake and that enhances the water flow and the fish runs... Keep an eye on most fishing forums and they will keep you up to date on the shad runs on the local rivers. They have been catching some shad in the Goldsboro area for at least 2 weeks now, so I wouldn't be suprised that some weren't as far up as Smithfield area.

    When the river is low like it is now you need to check out the major creek mouths, channel bends and any other places that may have deeper water. Fish will move across the shallow bars in the rivers and then seek deeper waters to rest and get out of harms way. Fish around anything that will create current breaks like logs, stumps, bridge pillings or just eddies along the river banks.


    When the rivers are high shad will make a run thru the flooded swamps and get out of the major current flows of the river. Where you have sharp channel bends, making like 'horse shoe" bends, the fish will cut across the swamp and skip whole sections of the river. Not all the schools will take these detours but you need to check em out just in case.

    In the below picture you will see the red line indicating the cuts the shad may take when the water is high and with a good flow rate.

    Friends, Fishing, Fellowship..RED X ANGLER

  15. #13
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    This is Slickrock Tom giving it a good try with the long pole at the Hwy 70 boat ramp in Kinston. The fish didn't give us any love that morning, but we still had a great time casting around.



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  16. #14
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    When are you going fishing again Scott, I have to get out of the house.
    dbeam, and RouseD like this.

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    raining pretty hard in cary now, and calling for rain again on sunday... GOOD
    BigE818, and dbeam like this.

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