13.May, 1:45-6:pm, the Wall, Cromwell. Over a dozen folx were working the wall, from end-to-end. A gaggle of chunkers were down on the south end of the wall dead-sticking, but the shad fishermen were spread out pretty well along the rest of the wall. The water was down enough to confirm I made a good decision getting a new net with a 8'+ handle. It was clear, mostly debris free, and there was some current but it wasn't as strong as I expected. I started off with my 6' med-heavy Ugly-stick mated to a Penn 4400 SS over a 1.5 oz drail, the usual leader, and a hammered copper willow sans decorative paints. On my second cast I had a strong hook up, and the dance started with a leap. She had some back, and used it to her advantage in the current. That she hit it way out helped her, too. But the med-heavy set up was more than enough to bring her to the wall, and we saw that she was long and fat. Once she saw the net, she tossed the hook with a roll, and was gone. So close, and yet so far. C'est la guerre. 1.5 oz of lead was too much for the want of current, so I switched to my U/L set-up with a 3/4 oz drail. It took a little longer to reach the bottom, but little was the operative word. It wasn't much work to hold near or at the bottom.

A small run must have come in, because a few more were landed before 3:pm, and a little after that I had had another hook-set, this one was close to the wall. Beau coup fun on the U/L bringing a middlin' roe to the net. She went back in the drink after our Kodak moment. Things settled down a little after that, with a some alewives thrown in the mix so we could draw a few short straws. After 3:30 pm, things heated up. Shad were landed by ones along the length of the wall with a double for good measure, and then close to 4:pm there was a triple. And just after the triple, I had a soft hook-set, it felt like an alewife. When I got it close to the wall, we saw one of the smallest bucks I've ever seen. It was maybe twice the size of a blueback herring, maybe it weighed a pound, or a hair more. Most of the shad caught (and most were released), as far as I could tell, were spent roes, having spawned; a few were big and fat, and heavy with roe. I'd say a couple of the largest ran ~4.5# +/-.

Today was a very good day at the Wall, it was getting crowded by the time I left. And for good reason, the ladies are in! I saw a few really good, drag-screaming runs today. I love that sound. After work I'm going out of town for the weekend. But I took next week off from work, and I think it was very good timing. It seems to be prime time.

Terminal tackle: drail weights were covered in the foregoing verbiage, leader same-same. Willows: hammered copper got a big roe close to the net, hammered silver in Jamaican, reverse ladybug, blue/chartreuse w/black dot, orange w/black stripe (got the dinky buck, and a handful of short hits that didn't stick), and finally a red/white w/black dot.

See you next week. Until then, tight lines!

George Darrell ...

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