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About a month away...

Anyone want to start commenting on the best places to fish for shad...particularly on the James or the Rappahanock?

It should start in March and run through till the end of April.

I'm especially interested in the Rappahanock, as I've heard that you can wade in, catch shad for awhile, then switch up your flies/lures and cast to stripers that follow the shad...sounds like fun to me!

Post your tips...wading locations, flies/lures, times, etc.
 

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I've never fished for shad on the James or the Rapp, but I understand from those who do the area around the 95 bridge is the hot spot. There was an article in the April 2002 issue of Woods and Waters magazine about fishing the James for shad. You know Woods and Waters. It's that little pulp paper magazine you pick up at tackle shops for free. It's mostly advertising, but they do have some useful information in them. If you contact them (Woodsandwatersmagazine.com)you might be able to get a back copy. I picked it up at the boat show in South Hill this past weekend, so they may still have some.

You might also contact Fly Fish the World in Richmond on Grove Ave. They can probally point you in the right direction, on the James. The Fall Line Tackle shop in Fredricksburgh should be able to help you with the Rapp.
 

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James, 14 St Bridge up to the fall line. Wading, tailwaters of Boshers.
Rapp, Fredricksburg.........

Haven't fished these areas in years, but that's where it worked then.
 

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American shad are the prohibited spieces. You can take Herring(what most people get) and Hickory Shad.
 
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I think they are all prohibited from keeping under a moratorium that lasts until 2004. But you can catch-n-release your heart out.

So how do you tell the difference between hickories and american and white?

Also, I found this site...would be cool if the "shad cam" could have it's lens cleaned before the run starts. As of now, the cam makes you think shad are like the Bush's WMDs. ;)

Shad on the James
 

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I've never really gotten into fresh water fishing. The shad run does sound fun for catch and release. Can anyone give pointers on what type of lures to use? I'm not much of a fly fisherman. Also, is wading the only way to get to these fish? I haven't been fishing in a while and just want to go out. The drive out to VA Beach/Norfolk twice a week just to fish has been rough and want to find something local. Thanks.
 

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Double Haul...The difference between the hickory and white is that on the hickory the bottom jaw extends past the upper jaw, on the white they are even. The hickories also tend to be a little smaller than the whites.

I don't know how the VA regs. read but in MD it's strickly C&R.

Swosh76...The lure for shad is very simple, 1/8oz - 1/4oz shad darts tied in tandem. Red head with white body and tail seem to be the most productive colors. Cast up-current and begin your retreive immediately, don't let it sit or you'll snag the bottom. The retreive only has to be fast enough to keep the darts off the bottom.

Catman.
 

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When you rig the darts, do you just tie them directly to your main line, or do you use some kind of a "rig"? I haven't fished for shad for years, and the only rig I remember using was sort of a carolina rig, with either a dart or a spoon at the end, but we were trolling for them. There weould be a sinker, a swivel, a leader and then the dart. It seems we used about six lb test line. Is that about right?
 

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Here's a little secret. A Sabiki rig on a 1/2 oz bell sinker or a split shot(s) will catch up to 5 a time! Another killer are those mini rattle traps. White is the best color. If you are really poor just simply tie onto the line those little salmon egg gold hooks (3-6, about 6 inches apart)with a little bell sinker or split shot will also do the trick just a well. If you've never hooked a big Herring,think of it as a poor man's mini tarpon. Man, can they jump. Last year i had some that must have jumped two feet in the air.

p.s~sorry if i wasn't supposed to give out the secret about the Sabiki rig.
~SPG :D
 

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Hay Surf& pier guy, I've tried those Sabiki rigs and uaually manage to get a tangled up mess or hooking myself. Corse' I was never known for grace either.
 

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CajunBass...I first started fishing for shad in 1968 and since then I've caught well over 1000 shad. Keep the rig simple. Tie a surgeon's end loop knot at the end of the line with a 2" loop, come up 18" and tie another surgeon's end loop knot with a 12" loop. Slip each loop through the dart's eye and back around the body. It's just that simple and very effective.

Catman.
 

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When I was a kid we used to troll for shad on the Mattiponi River at Aylett. (That would have been in the middle 60's. I know I had to carry my birth certificate, because the game wardens didn't believe I didn't need a fishing license.) The only rig I remember is what I'd call a Carolina rig for lack of knowing what else to call it, but now that you mention it I do remember having two baits on it. A spoon, and a "dart". I've been telling my wife about these fish for two years. I guess it's about time for me to go buy some darts and head for the 95 bridge. If you see a little Carolina Skiff, wave. It might be us. <lol>
 

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Tandem rigs are my choice (prefer green), but think the biggest factor with white Shad is line size. I seem to at least double my hookups when down sizing to 4lb, and sometimes 2 lb.
 

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You all probably won't believe this ... I've worn out some nice size Shad (2-3lbs) the last few years at the HRBT/off Fort Wool `bout early/mid-March using Gotcha plugs :rolleyes:

Each time I actually started out in my Jon boat for Specks @ the Wiffle hole and ended up in the channel/east of the Fort catching Shad while working around/in "the birds" :D

So there's the Lower Bay Shad report and who dare say my saltwater license money is being wasted ;)

Fish hard to stay warm,

`bucket
 

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Now that you mention that bucket, I've caught a few shad on rattletraps over the years. Perhaps they'll smack at anything since we know they're not actually feeding, during the spawn.
 

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I live near and fish the Rappahannock every year for shad and stripers. There are 4 distinct runs with 3 different species. Fishing begins in April and runs untl late May. Fishing from City Dock, below the Rt. 1 bridge, and at the base of Embry dam are all productive spots with several inbetween.

For Herring, Green Weenie dead drifted, for shad pink and white mini-Clouser fished deep on sinking or sink-tip line, for stripers, black/black or black/red Clousers fished at night on a falling tide.
 

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Hi guys, I am new to the board and do a most of my fishing (both conventional and fly) from the beach. I also use a kayak to fish from too, which is a great platform. I have never gone shad fishing. I have been doing a huge amount of research on it and want to go when the run starts. I am in Virginia Beach and am looking for someone to hook up with and go. If you know about it or not that's not the main thing. Jus have a desire to go and try for the shad,aka tarpon of the fresh water. I have info from my fly club last years shad run trip, ie where to go and such to wade fish, I have pics of flies to tie which I will be doing this weekend. So anyone out there want to set something up. A shad fling maybe? Step up and be heard.
 

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Gill netters are taking a few. The shad will not start to run up the rivers until the temps hit 50 degrees+. Currently the primary rivers are in the upper 30's. Settle down, you have weeks yet.

For all you non-flyfishermen who want a blast with lots of catching and better frying fish than shad, use ultra-light tackle with a tiny (like #10 hook) shad dart in Chartruese and dead drift it by casting upstream and letting it drift down. Herring will be all over it. Sure hope you don't find yourself bringing in a 1 lb. herring only to have one of the stripers following the schools inhale it for supper. Plays havock on light spinning tackle.
 
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