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Do any of u east coast guys fish shad in the river? My frustrations continue...

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There is shad in the river. They come out at night and start going wacko on the surface, making crazy zig zag wakes and other bonkers activity. There was a time when I thought this activity was stripers chasing herring. Not the case. I saw one of the fish making a wake one time and it was a big shad. I think I have the right lure: a gold willowleaf rigged on a hook-length below some bullet weights for casting. I went down there and caught a schoolie and two smallies on the willowleaf. But thats not what I was going for.

  After sunset the shad began their manic behavior. I hucked the willowleaf, burning it, and got a hit. No fish tho. If I can figure these things out it could be a bonanza. What is the best lure and presentation for these fish? Im gona get some new lures, probably a painted willowleaf. 

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Pick up some shad darts. Chartreuse tip. Tore them up on the Potomac with those.

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10 hours ago, Burtonxj said:

Pick up some shad darts. Chartreuse tip. Tore them up on the Potomac with those.

Agreed.  My wife and I had a great shad year for almost three weeks. Once I got it dialed in, it was on.  We killed them - dozens per day.  Started just throwing darts on light rods, but the darts were too late to get the depth and speed that the shad wanted.  Tried small 1/8 or 3/16 oz spoons - no more than a quarter and tied a dart about 14-18 inches above.  The extra weight of the spoon allowed us to cast farther let it drop to about 6-9 feet and retrieve it fairly fast.  With just a dart, you can get the depth or just the speed, but not the right combo.  For spoons, we used mostly krocs and little cleos, but Mepps and Panther spinners worked, too.  The thrill of catching doubles was bonus.  I think the catch ratio was nearly 50/50 on spoons or darts.

      They are fighters and a LOT of fun to catch.    By the way, it really didn't matter what color darts we used.  There was one day when I think some pink made a difference, but by and large, the shad really didn't care if it was pink, orange, yellow, chart.....

One more note: the shad tend to school in 'lanes'...IDK why...maybe drafting :)  At any rate, once you find the lane, remember it...they'll use that path the whole spawn.  Certainly, its easier in narrows, where they get squeezed, but in wider portions, you might find really hot lanes and dead zones.  There was a weekend in the Occoquan when there were so many it really didn't matter where you were, however...there were so many.

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Ive caught them on inline spinners and chartreuse curly tail grubs on 1/8 jigheads. My sister got a 3 lb hickory last year.

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The water I fish is very fast and deep.The shad seem to like the current seams and back eddies.
I  throw  one inch twisters ,various colors ,on a 1/8 oz head.

To get the distance and depth I use an inline sinker from 1/2 to 1 oz about 2 to 3 feet above the bait.Just toss it and let the current sweep it along without much motion. Maybe a little stroke  here and there.

Sometime they get crazy on the colors so keep switching to  find the majic

Hope this helps

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