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68camaro

Skunked going for shad - James River VA

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Went out Saturday a.m. with yak flyfishing for shad on James from Anaccarow landing to I-95 bridge, was using 5wt fly rod, 130 grn sink tip, and shad darts. Beautiful day, tons of boats and shore anglers, lots and lots of folks catching them but me:(

 

So I ask:

1. Regarding fly set up, am I doing something wrong?

2. I want to bring spinner reel next time also, Daiwa STZ68IMLFSA Steez SVF Compile-X 6’8” Spin Rod, but what kind of lures do I get, please be specific?

 

As you can tell I am new to this but it was frustrating too see so many anglers catch so many fish and I only manged to lose all my shad darts getting stuck on bottom.....ugh....

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Set up spinning rig for shad darts.

 

Cast, reel, cast, reel, cast, reel, etc.

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I haven't been in a few years, but this kind of fishing is completely based on luck of placement and fishing technique.  I've slammed them from the bank and been skunked from a boat.  My dad went the other day and said that flyfisherman were catching a ton and no one on the bank was catching anything.

 

There doesn't seem to be any sort of advice to be made as is apparent from Sam's post.  If Sam has no advice beyond that, then no one does.

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Fishing for shad is more about position than anything.  Last year on the delaware river fishing for shad with my dad we anchored the boat.  We had identical rigs set up and had one off the back and one off each side.  They were a slip type of flutter spoon rig that you just let it sit a certain distance off the boat and let the current do the work. Well on that day we boated well over 2 dozen fish but they were all from the port side of the boat.  I even moved all the other lines so they were the same distance behind the boat and still, the port side was the only one getting bit.  Now keep in mind that the greatest distance between any of the lines was probably 4-5' too. 

 

That trip and others like it have showed me that location is more important than lure or technique.

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Thanks all, location could have played a part, all the boats around I-95 and west were anchored in middle or towards south shoreline. To get out of traffic I was on North shoreline where only a couple others came through then left. Later I moved to middle but lost my remaining darts then broke my slip knot loop trying to get dart unhooked, this was my last straw so I called it a day.

 

I'm gonna hit the southern bank side early this week from shore then try rto get yak out over weekend, we'll see how it goes.

 

One funny episode though, halfway between I-95 and Ancarrow slip is two small rock formations sticking out of water in middle of James. I thought this would be great place to cast from since I had 360 degree access. After a few casts I notice two geese coming flying in, one immediately does a straight line towards me, hissing and ticked he starts attacking me, I had to hold him off with my pole (no - did not hit him), as I am fast backtracking to get to my yak while this goose is charging me, these two guys on boat just off rocks are cracking up....I admit it had to be funny as hell to see....LOL

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As stated above, there are some variables which can be hard to account for.  My understanding is that the shad tend to school in (sometimes narrow) columns parallel to the channel.  You could be casting up and down river and never get into them if you miss the 'lanes'.  I tend to do most of my casting 'across'.  MOST of the time, in my experience, the best retrieve is relatively fast...not always, but especially when they are most active.  To get a fast retrieve without skating your dart, you need a 'relatively' heavy weight.  I use 1/4oz Little Cleo, with a shad dart tied about 13-14" above.  This weekend, my fish were 50-50 dart vs. cleo.  And the occasional double is a great bonus.  Dart colors seem to matter little most of the time...but once the bite slows, it does seem to make a difference.  I prefer pink, generally, but my wife does just as well with orange...neither of us seems to do great with mostly white or red.  Lastly, vary the retrieve -- once in a while, they will respond well to more of a jigging, ripping....other days, steady wins.

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