My name is Xxxxxx (name redacted to protect the guilty), and I'm..I'm a.. ..shadaholic.
Last year was so *damned* slow, I didn't even bother to start a thread. Against my better (pessimistic) nature, I am hopeful this year is not going to be as dismal. I did catch a handful in the 2019, but they were so far and few between. :sigh:
First trip report of 2020, today behind Bart's, approx. 2:10 pm-3:30 pm. Water: moderately high, clear, good current, 42º F, air temp 49º-50º F. Train traffic is up! Three passed (2 w/in 1 min, in opposite directions) in the short time I was out.
Tackle: Rod: an Ugly Stik 4'6" U/L Pro Reel: a Penn 4200 SS, spooled with 10# Power Pro
Terminal Tackle: 3/4 oz drail over a 3', 8# flouro leader. I threw hammered silver, gold, and copper in a variety of colors. All for naught.
Only one other joined me on the rocks. Keeping social distance...
A friend posted on FB a pic of her kid with a shad. Apparently he caught it on Saturday. Let the games begin...
Best of luck with your shad fishing. Although I haven't fished for shad in many years, that was always my favorite spring fishing. We always started the season behind Bart's and eventually ended up at Enfield Dam. We paid the $.25 at the booth to enter, and then headed for the ladder (with the "Do Not Use" sign) and stood on the narrow area below the ladder and casted for hours. Some days you just couldn't miss, with a fish on every cast or every other cast. Those were the days. After the season was over we would make another trip there to go out and retrieve the shad darts which were lost by people getting hung up and losing them. We would get hundreds of them. Actually I believe that I still have some. Yes, those were the days!
Fishing: the art of casting, trolling, jigging, or spinning while freezing, sweating, swatting, or swearing. Henry Beard and Roy McKie
Great to hear that you got out. I am not hardcore for shad but the times I have gone it's been feast or famine. Can't say that I have ever experienced a slow steady pick; it's been rods bent bedlam or a snore fest. I hope we experience a good run this year. Fishing as we know is like the lottery; you have to be in it to win it.
Good luck on your future trips and please keep us posted as to how you do.
I went down behind Bart's 3:30-6:pm this afternoon. The water was middling high, clear, and with a fair current. I forgot to get a surface temp. Air was calm and warm to start, but the breeze came up by 5, and it started to get chill.
Terminal tackle: 3/4 oz drail over a 3', 8# flouro leader. Under that mess, I threw hammered silver and gold in pink, chartreuse, yellow, and green.
Of the 8 people total, who were either there before me, or arrived after I hit the bank, 0 fish of any species caught. A couple of passing boaters reported the same, no fish today.
Should start to improve any day now. Good luck, and continue with your reports. I have not fished for shad in many years, but I always looked forward to this spring fishing - lots of action when they were running.
Fishing: the art of casting, trolling, jigging, or spinning while freezing, sweating, swatting, or swearing. Henry Beard and Roy McKie
Went out for an hour this afternoon, arriving behind Bart's at 5:15. Water was down a little from yesterday, clear, but the current was very slow. Water temp was 52º/53º F. Only two other fisherman on the bank, and not so much as a bite. And that's how the day ended; no fish today.
Terminal tackle: 5/8 oz drail over a 2-1/2', 8# flouro leader, and under all that, I threw hammered silver, copper, and gold in chartreuse, red/white, and orange.
Rumor has it the boaters are catching some limits down toward the mouth, below Loomis. They should start moving up the Farm'y this week with the warmer temps, 'though I expect next few rainy days will delay that into next week. Tight lines!
Out behind Bart's 4:pm-6:45 pm. Four regulars on the bank (6'+ apart!), one landing a decent shad as I set up. By 4:15 pm he landed another nice shad, and he landed a third before he left around 5:pm. The guy next to me landed three before 6:pm.
Water level was the same as last night, clear and good current. I'm told the current turned on just before I got there, it was dead before I arrived. Water temp was 53º F.
Terminal tackle: I was having trouble holding bottom, so switched from 5/8 oz to 3/4 oz drail, and then back to 5/8 oz as 3/4 was too much. 2-1/2' -- 3' 8# flouro leader, and hammered silver, and copper in orange, chartreuse/green, and pink.
All I got was a couple of bumps, but no takers. No fish today. Tight lines!
Hit Barts yesterday by boat. Guys that were down there already easily limited out. By Loomis shad were hit and miss. The wind kept us from the best fishing. By 11am all the boats out there posted upand were only fishing off anchor. It became way too windy to do anything else.
We decided to go for a cruise instead and ended up very close to Rainbow Reservoir. Ended the day with 4 shad, 1 Salmon, 1 SMB, 2 SB.
I haven't fished shad in many years either. But when I did we caught quite a few white perch on the shad darts. Anyone catching white perch? I've also heard willow leaves and other lures have kind of replaced the old stand by shad darts. True?
Yesterday afternoon (14.April), I hit the bank back of Bart's about 4:pm for 2.5 hours. Water was up a couple of feet, turbid with almost 0 visibility, but with a good current; surface temp about 53ºF, warmer than I thought it would be after all the rain.
Maybe a 8-10, or so others passed through (not at once, we maintained social distance, lol) while I was there. And nobody caught anything. One guy had caught one, and lost one before I got there, but he left shortly after I arrived.
Terminal tackle: 3/4 oz drail, over 2'-2.5' 8# flouro leader, and every color I had in my box. No fish yesterday.
By the time I left, the water had cleared to ~8" visibility. I was hopeful for today...
I went out a little earlier today, and was on the bank by 2:pm. The water was up between 2'-3' from yesterday, and just as turbid as the start yesterday, at least there was a decent current. Surface temp was down a whole degree, at 52ºF. Maybe 7 others passed by while I was there, but never more than 4 on the bank behind Bart's at one time.
Between 2:30-3:pm, the wind kicked up, and it was cold. Since nobody had been catching all day, according to one young man who had been there since 11:am, I decided that 1.5 hours was long enough for me. I had been fishing alone for about a 1/2 hour when the cold got to me, and I called it a day at 3:30. No fish today.
Terminal tackle: Terminal tackle: 3/4 oz drail, over 2'-2.5' 8# flouro leader, with hammered silver leaves in chartreuse, chartreuse/green, and pink.
Fished behind Bart's from 5-7:30 pm today. The river was down over 3' from Wednesday, turbid with decent current. Surface temp 50ºF. There were 7 others fishing upstream from the RR bridge when I arrived.
Most of the action happened early-mid afternoon, one regular caught 14, and lost a few. Another regular caught 9. By 3:30 or 4:pm the run, such as it was, it was over. I had one decent hit, but after 3 shakes of the head, it was gone. I C & R 1 dinky schoolie to keep the skunk off.
Terminal tackle: 3/4 oz drail, over 2'-2.5' 8# flouro leader, with hammered silver and gold in chartreuse, red & white, and pink.
Monday, 20.April: 3:pm-6:pm, the usual spot behind Bart's above the RR bridge. The river was down at least another 3', strong current, and a surface temp of 50ºF. About 7 or 8 of us spread out working the bank, and still able to maintain 6'+ between us.
On my third cast, I got a solid hook up. What we all thought at first glance was a long skinny buck, turned out to be a roe with very small eggs. She cut her gills, so I wound up keeping her, my vitamin (One-a-Day) shad. Finally on the board. Other than an alewife, and a couple of bumps/no takes, that was it for me. It remains slow, and I only saw 2 more shad caught in the 3 hours I was there.
Terminal tackle: 5/8 oz drail, over 2'-2.5' 8# flouro leader, with hammered silver, and copper leaves in chartreuse/green, pink, and orange. Pink hooked up and reeled it in, while orange got a couple of taps here and there.
I hit the usual spot about 4:30 pm after I got out of "work". Except for the breeze blowing down the river, it wasn't bad at the start. Until the breeze came up within an hour. Then it got cold. Water was up a little from Monday, but the current was ripping pretty good. The water was nice and clear, but cold at about 48º-49ºF. About 6 folx there on arrival, a few more came by, and a few left but never more than 6-7 of us at once, spread out along the bank.
It. Was. Slow. With the wind, it was tough to cast, get down to the bottom, and hold the bottom. I only saw 2 caught, and a 3rd was lost, before I left at 6:pm when I was too cold, and could barely feel my right hand. It's wishin' and fishin', not catchin'...
Terminal tackle: 3/4 oz drail, over 2-1/2'-3' leader over hammered silver green/chartreuse, orange w/black spot, and a "jamaican" (use your imagination, lol). No fish today.
Great that you keep trying. I have stopped on the other side of the river (under 291 at the Barber Street Launch) several times to fish and get the report from those fishing over the years. Shad fishing is a ton of fun on light tackle as you suggest. It seems they come up in waves. I have seen times where the shore looked more like a bluefish head boat with several people hooking up at once. As you so well know, it's like the lottery; you have to be in it to win it. Keep trying and you will be rewarded with action so good you will think you are there yesterday.
Mike V, thanks for the comment. And you're exactly right, I've never caught shad, or any fish for that matter, sitting on the couch!
Earl Bird, I think the action really is best from around Mother's Day through about Memorial Day. At least that has been my experience over the years.
Fished just upstream from the RR bridge behind Bart's. Arrived 2:30 pm, to only about 6 people scattered along the bank. The water was up a little from last trip, clear, and flowing quickly. The surface temp was 48ºF, down a couple of degrees. At least the air was warmer than my last trip.
There were never more than about 6 on the bank as people came and went in the 1.5 hours I was there. To say it was slow would be an understatement, nobody fessed up to catching anything since early morning. I only saw one shad caught, about 20 minutes before I left. The day was beautiful, and looked promising. C'est la guerre.
If it doesn't rain, after I finish work, and my chores, I hope to go out later this afternoon. Tight lines!
After wrapping up work (WFH at the moment), I headed down to the river in Cromwell from 4:pm-7:30 pm. There were at least a dozen people on the bank, and a decent number of shad near their feet. Water was nice and clear, and almost smooth as glass, but the laminar flow maked it hard to read the current. Current was cooking pretty good. I was not able to get a water temp, my arms aren't long enough for that task at this spot.
I landed my vitamin shad on my second or third cast. A nice little buck 1.5#-2#, and released for good measure. I saw about 8-10 more caught after I got there, but the bite pretty much shut off by 6pm-6:15 pm. No multiple hook ups, but enough tight lines to keep it interesting.
Terminal tackle: I had to double the weight of my drail from 3/4 oz to 1.5 oz to hold the bottom in the current. 1.5 oz drail over 4.5'-5' 8# flouro leader, and willows in hammered silver w/yellow, green/yellow, chartreuse, and pink, and hammered gold in green/chartreuse.
The weather isn't going to last, but tomorrow is supposed to be about as nice as today. I will be out there, tight lines!
Fished from 2:pm to 4:30 pm. Today, or at least this afternoon, the weather was not nearly as nice as yesterday. The wind was fresh, up from the south chopping the water pretty good. The current was stronger today, and combined with the wind, and 1.5 oz of lead topping the terminal tackle I had to give it time to settle to the bottom. It took a very slow retrieve to keep the dangley bits anywhere near the bottom. Once again, no idea of the water temp, as it's too far to reach the water, and I wasn't risking swimming today. It was cold in the breeze. There were a half dozen regulars there, and a couple more came and went, leaving plenty of room and large gaps between fishermen.
I commenced casting practice for about 30-45 minutes before I hooked up. After a nice fight, I landed a decent 2+# buck. Great color, lots of kicks, and after a Kodak™ moment I released it. It was slow, but between the regulars pretty much everyone caught at least one. Despite the cold breeze and chop, it was busy enough to keep everyone's interest piqued, and attention sharp.
Terminal Tackle: 1.5 oz drail, over 2.5' flouro leader (anything longer was getting fouled by that fresh breeze), and hammered silver leaves in red/black/white (the one that caught my vitamin), chartreuse, light/dark blue, green, and yellow/white w/eye.
I'll be taking it day by day for the next couple or three days watching the weather, and sneaking out between raindrops. Tight lines!
As bad as this April has been, I remember last April was worse. We had so, damned much more rain. I just looked at the numbers: this April, coldest on record; last year April was the wettest on record with 8"+ rain.
6:15-7:40 pm this afternoon. Water was up about 2'-2.5' from Wednesday. Current was ripping, but the water was clear. It was balmy and very pleasant. Lots of folx taking casting practice, but I only saw one shad landed. I had to concentrate to keep on the bottom with 1.5 oz of lead, but never got so much as a nibble. No fish today.
I forgot to update the tackle I use at the river in Cromwell, my UL just doesn't cut the muster throwing 1+oz of lead. Tackle: Penn 4400 SS spinning reel, mated to a 6'0" Ugly Stik Med-Heavy action, Elite one-piece rod.
Terminal Tackle: 1.5 oz drail, over 3' of 8# flouro leader, and a hammered silver orange/yellow, and a yellow/chartreuse willow leaves.
I expect it to pick up over the weekend, especially with the beautiful forecast. Tight lines!
5:15-7:pm this afternoon, really mild and pleasant. The water came up another 1'+ from yesterday, clear, but with more flotsam, and the current was ripping. About 10-12 on the bank, but most of them were concentrated downstream. For good reason. One shad in a bucket near my post, but none on the bank. At the "crowded end", I saw one guy land 4 between 5:30-6:40 pm, and a couple of more by another guy before I left. The shad might be holding in a hole, or eddy due to the strong current.
Tackle,as yesterday: Penn 4400 SS spinning reel, mated to a 6'0" Ugly Stik Med-Heavy action, Elite one-piece rod.
Terminal Tackle: 1.5 oz drail, over 3' of 8# flouro leader, and a hammered silver orange/yellow, and a hammered copper green w/black dot.
No fish today, but at least I didn't lose any terminal tackle. Tight Lines!
5:15 -- 7:15 pm today, also down in Cromwell. Water was up a little from yesterday; one of the regulars said it was actually down a little from when he was there in the morning. The water was more turbid, and lots more flotsam running with the current. And the current was ripping, I couldn't hold the bottom, even with a slow retrieve. So, I cast quartering upstream, and "jigged" it in the current, letting it drift until it was about parallel with the shore, and I could finally feel it bump the bottom. With concentration, I was able to bump it along, and about 6:pm I had a good hit. I played it until it broke me off after a brief, strong fight. I didn't see anyone else hook up, except to each other, or the bottom. Ah well, no fish today, but at least I know they're still in there, and the tug of war felt good.
Terminal tackle: 1.5 oz drail, under 3.5' 8# flouro leader, and my last hammered copper willow in green/yellow w/black dot (lost with Mr/Mrs Shad), and a silver leaf in orange/yellow w/black dot.
As the water falls, the fishing should improve a little each day this week. Hopefully the scattered showers predicted for later this week are very scattered. We don't need more rain this week. Tight lines!
, 6:30-8:15 pm today, behind Bart's above the RR Bridge. The water was down quite a bit, clear, and with a stiff current. Surface temp. ~59º F. The breeze was a bit chilly. There were only 4 people on the bank when I arrived, and one was leaving. Only two more people joined us while I was down there. One report of a lone shad caught earlier in the afternoon, as told to me by the regular who left on my arrival.
One of the other regulars, who joined me on the bank about a half hour after I started casting practice, eventually caught 2, and lost 1. Both shad were decent size, the roe was pushing 5#, and the buck was easily 4#. Both fought him hard in the current. I had a good hit, but it broke me off pretty quickly, and in the end, that was all she wrote for me. No fish today.
Tackle: Rod: an Ugly Stik 4'6" U/L Pro Reel: a Penn 4200 SS, spooled with 10# Power Pro
Terminal tackle: I switched from a 3/4 oz drail, to 5/8 oz, over 2.5' 8# flouro leader, hammered silver chartreuse willow, and a yellow/orange w/black dot.
Things should be heating up with this nice weather. Tight lines!
Solid effort. You are seeing fish caught. You hooked up. You will put fish on the bank, I am betting your next trip. The sooner you go out again, the the sooner you will reap your reward. Please be sure to provide a picture in your next report, it's been a while since I have seen one.
Thanks, MikeV. Still, no fish today, or yesterday for that matter...
6.May: 4:pm-8:15 pm, back of Bart's, near the RR bridge. The water was down only a little bit from Tuesday, surface temp was down to 57º F (60º F yesterday). The current was strong, and the water was only a little turbid. ~8 or so on the bank at a time, not too crowded. Shad were around. Closest to the bridge, a newer regular caught 4 shad. A little upstream where I was with a few folx, a couple of more shad were caught, along with a couple of alewife. I had a couple of bumps, and one short hit, which dropped the willow after a head shake. It was probably an alewife; c'est la vie, c'est la guerre, and no fish for me...
Terminal Tackle: same, same over a hammered silver leaf in yellow/orange w/black dot, chartreuse w/black dot, and white/yellow.
7.May, today: 2:pm-4:15 pm, same, same as yesterday. The water was down only a hair from yesterday, fairly clear with a good current, surface temp was up a whole degree at 58º. We had almost a crowd today, 8-10 spread along the bank, with folx coming and going. Shad made their appearance, much like yesterday. The guy in the corner, closest to the RR bridge caught several before he left. He was replaced by virgin, who busted his cherry on his first cast, a nice 4.5# roe! He's an addict now, even if he hasn't realized it--yet...
Another couple or 3 of shad were caught near me, but all I got was a couple of bumps, and an alewife. At least I got the off. :-/
Terminal tackle: 5/8 oz drail, over 2.5'-3' 8# flouro leader, and willows in hammered silver w/chartreuse, yellow w/blue stripes, orange/yellow w/black dot, and hammered copper in hot pink.
So NOT looking forward to the next couple of days. YMMV, and invariably will...
10.May: 6:15-8:15 pm, in the back of Bart's, near the RR bridge.way down low, clear, with a good current, and a surface temp of 53º F. There were only 3 others on the bank besides me, and nobody had even a hit.
On my third cast, I C & R an alewife. The other fishermen left. There was nothing for almost an hour, until I got another alewife about the time a guy and his young son showed up. About 7:15 pm, as a train passed over the bridge, I had a solid hook up. Mrs. shad put her head down, tugged, tried to run, but couldn't, so she stayed deep. Eventually I worked her close to shore and as soon as the water got skinny, she ran off a few yards of line. When I turned her to shore again, she hit the skinny water, and leapt and spun mid-air. And threw the hook back at me. She was a good looking fish, decent size, and thick. :sigh: That was all she wrote, no other fish hooked. The evening run continues to be slow, and spotty.
Terminal tackle: 1/2 oz drail, over 3' 8# flouro leader, and hammered silver in chartreuse, chartreuse/green w/black dot, orange, and pink.
11.May: 6:15-8:pm. In back of Bart's, near the RR bridge. The water was down a little from yesterday, still clear, flowing well, temp was down to 51º F. And I had the entire bank to myself. Must have been something with the weather.
Nothing, not even an alewife, until about 7-ish, just as the rain started. I was able to land this one! A decent, middlin' buck, between 2#-3#. After a Kodak™ moment, back he went to make more shad. The rain passed after about 10-15 minutes, as I waited it out in the Jeep. Then back at it.
The temp dropped with the rain, and it got breezy. I was getting too cold to continue, and nothing was biting anyway. Homeward bound by 8:pm.
Terminal tackle: similar to yesterday, with hammered silver in chartreuse, pink, and white/chartreuse w/big eye sticker.
Chartreuse was the winner tonight, and caught my vitamin shad. Tight lines!
6:45-8:15 pm: Rocky Hill Ferry Park, fishing off the docks. The water was running clear, and fairly strong. I didn't get a surface temp tonight. There were 4 others spread out along the docks when I arrived. Two were targeting shad, two young guys were drowning something or other, probably looking for stripers. No one admitted to catching anything, and they all left by 7:15 pm. Another guy showed up shortly after their exit, he was also targeting shad.
About 7:30 I had a solid hook up close to the docks. After a really nice fight in the current, I landed a decent buck, ~3#. After the obligatory Kodak™ moment, it went back in the drink. They say it takes money to make money, well I feel the same about shad. And that was it, my vitamin shad. I saw nothing else caught, not so much as bump. Happy to keep the off.
Tackle: Penn 4400 SS spinning reel, mated to a 6'0" Ugly Stik Med-Heavy action, Elite one-piece rod.
Terminal Tackle: 1.5 oz drail, over 4' of 8# flouro leader, and a silver/chartreuse and orange willow with a weird, offset hook. Weird was good for a solid hook up.
6:30-8:45 pm: Rocky Hill Ferry Park, fishing off the docks. The water was running clear, but the current wasn't as stiff as last night, to start, but it picked up a bit by 7:30. Again, no surface temp. Only 4 folx fishing on arrival, a couple of shad on the docks, and one landed as I started casting. Three more were caught by the crew before they all left. A few more folx dribbled in and out before I left, and there was a group of about 6 kids setting up for stripers as I left.
On my 3rd cast, I had a good hit, and hook set. It kept it's head down, and ran deep. It made me work, in the current, to get it to the net, so I thought it might be a roe. It turned out to be a middlin' 2#-3# buck with a lot of fight. Back in the drink after it's Kodak™ moment. Schweet! About 7:30 I had a solid hook up on a heavy fish. It took much longer to bring it to the net, and made a couple of hard runs. A great fight landed a 3#+ Roe, not really any longer than the buck, but fat. Since her jaw was tore all to shreds, and split, I kept her for my table. Shad roe and ramps for breakfast tomorrow. And the fillets for a couple of other days. Life is good!
Tackle: Penn 4400 SS spinning reel, mated to a 6'0" Ugly Stik Med-Heavy action, Elite one-piece rod.
Terminal Tackle: 1.5 oz drail, over 3.5' of 8# flouro leader, and the silver/chartreuse and orange willow with a weird, offset hook brought in the buck. Unfortunately, I snagged the bottom, and lost it shortly after. Next up, a hammered silver in orange w/black dot that grabbed the roe.
It was nice to see some fairly good action on an evening run. I'll be out as often as I can (not as often, or for long enough) for the next couple of weeks until the season winds down. Scuttlebutt has the best action happening in the morning. Wish I was there, too...
Great reports. Something of an annual joy for me to read them.
Please, for both our sakes- make it more often by any means necessary, and if the chance comes to beat mother nature in rain or a short window of time appears, take it. I love your write ups and the happiness you get from even a slow day is tangible through your words. It's the best part of this website. Thank you for taking the time to make the site better!
Thanks for your kind words. Glad you find the rambling dialogue of an old man entertaining, maybe even interesting. I post as much for myself, as for the benefit of others. I can look back through the forum for older threads, and remember outings over the years.
A tip of the CTFisherman cap to Don D, as well as O' for the kind words. Mitch, do you still have any hats in stock in the "store"? Mine is old, getting worn, and wants replaced. Any way, on to today's outing.
6:30-7:45 pm: Rocky Hill Ferry Park, fishing off the docks. The one dock was crowded with 5 fishing. I chose the Po-Po dock with only person on the end (social distancing, LOL!) The water was running clear, the current was fairly mild (with a 1.5 oz weight, holding bottom wasn't hard), and stayed about the same flow from start to finish. The air was fairly calm as I drove to the park, but by the time I parked the Jeep, the breeze had come up moderate from Middletown (the south), and the water was choppy. Enough chop to move the docks, and my fat old azz don't have sea legs. First cast, and I looked like a NOOB/FNG. The breeze sailed the line over the piling and ferry, where it snagged tight, stranding the terminal tackle on the bottom somewhere in front of said aquatic parking lot...
Yeah, I didn't get that back. After spooling a top shot to replace what line was lost, I promptly dropped the bail on the cast, or fouled the line on it, and lost another rig. F.N.G. About this time, I was joined on the dock by a local kid, who targeted anything to use as bait. Worms caught a chub or dace (didn't get a good look at it), which he live-lined for naught. He then caught a little yellow perch, which he chunked. He had two set ups, and promptly caught a fat cat. He was targeting whisker-fish. Smart kid. He caught 4, and the largest was close to 6# on the scale I let him use because he wondered as he made his Kodak™ moment.
More or less, it was uneventful after the opening shenanigans. To make the long story palatable (HA! This is not short, TLDR), No Fish Today. Upstream on the other dock, I saw 4 shad landed by one regular, one lost by another regular, and a little kid (with his dad), who toward the end, in the span of 20 minutes lost 2 at the dock (he was horsing them). The shad were around, but not for me. All I got was a few short hits, a couple or three head shakes, and slack lines. C'est la guerre.
We'll see what tomorrow brings, and if the weather holds, or not. Tight lines!
<edit for terminal tackle, my bad!>
Terminal tackle: 1.5 oz drail, over 2.5'-3' 8# flouro leader, hammered silver in orange w/black dot, a chartreuse, and a hammered gold, in orange. Orange leaves brought the short strikes.
4:30-7:30 pm: Rocky Hill Ferry Park, fishing off the docks. It was busy at the park on a beautiful Friday afternoon. About 8 people there on arrival, and reports of shad being caught. Water was a turbid, with good current, and the breeze was much the same as yesterday. And finally, it felt like May, rather than March!
I got my vitamin shad on my first cast, a middlin' buck. I reached for my phone for the Kodak™ moment, but I had it in the Jeep. :shrug: I did get some other attention, a couple of short strikes, and a decent 3-4 head shakes before the line went slack. Caught 1 alewife, too. But, the regulars were regularly playing shad. All were released, save for the bleeder that swallowed the hook.
Terminal tackle: 1.5 oz drail, over 2.5'-3' 8# flouro leader, hammered silver chartruese nabbed the shad. Also threw hammered silver in orange w/black dot, pink w/black dot, and hammered gold in chartreuse & green w/red dot.
Don D, you called it! 2:45-7:30 pm, the docks at Ferry Park.
The weather was warm, with just a slight breeze, which came up a little stiff by 3:30, and slacked before 7:pm. The water was clear, up a little from Friday, and there was some noticeable flotsam in the current. And, surprise, surprise, surprise--it wasn't crowded, there was only one person on the dock. And he left shortly after I arrived. I had the dock to myself for the next couple of hours. And after that, only 6 other people showed up, and not all at once so there were never more than 4 on the dock. Today was a very good day, I caught and released a limit, and then some. And only lost two, one broke me off deep, and I lost another at the net.
About an hour after taking casting practice, I landed a short, but fat buck, and half an hour after that, and I landed another, smaller buck. Another half hour passed, and I landed a 3.5# roe; she kept her head down, stayed deep, and fought well in the current. 10 minutes later I landed another middlin' buck, and at 4:30 another. About 4:45 or so, I landed yet another buck. Just about 15 minutes later landed still another, but the slimy devil, slipped back into the drink before I could snap the picture. Things got quiet for the next hour, but just before 6:pm, I landed another nice, 3.5# roe. 20 minutes later produced another buck. Things settled down for almost an hour, but by 7:10 I took my last Kodak™ moment for the day. And in the midst of the shad run, I caught one, lone, thick Blueback bucky to round out the day.
It's been a couple of years since I've had a day this good. And, the others with me on the dock were also more or less successful. The kid and his dad from Thursday were among them, and the kid caught 5 in less than 2 hours. He's young, probably only 9 or 10, but his dad says he loves to fish, and it shows. As they packed up to leave, during his last cast, he was asking if they could go out again tomorrow. It's fun to see his excitement, and passion for it.
Terminal tackle: 1.5 oz drail, over 2.5'-3' 8# flouro leader, hammered silver in chartreuse & green w/red dot, chartreuse, orange orange w/black dot, and a hammered copper in chartreuse/green w/black dot.
At one point, 3 of us were on at the same time. They would hit almost any bright and shiny color today. Tight lines!
4:15-815:pm at Rocky Hill. The weather was nice and mild, the breeze was warm and gentle. It had shifted 180º from yesterday and all of last week, coming down the river from Hartford, as opposed to cold and blustery, up from Middletown/Cromwell to the South. The current was stiff today, making it tricky to hold the bottom. As yesterday, only one person was on the dock when I arrived. He managed two before he left, about 5 pm, a nice fat roe, and a long, fairly thick buck.
I was joined by a friend, and his son. My buddy has been out with me a few times before, his son is an avid fisherman whom had never targeted shad. After getting him rigged up, and given a few pointers, he hooked up fairly quickly. Unfortunately, he lost it when it threw the hook. He repeated the maneuver once more a little while later. After a little more coaching, within an hour he hooked up, and was able to bring it to the net; his shad was cherry broken! Yepper, shad on light tackle is exciting stuff.
During all that, a little after 6, I managed my vitamin shad, a middlin' buck. Other than a short strike, and one little 6" dink schoolie, I had two break me off at depth. At least I got a little action...
A couple of other regulars joined us on the dock. The action was slower than yesterday, but everybody got at least one today. All in all it was a fine day to be outside.
Terminal tackle: 1.5 oz drail, over 3'-4' 8# flouro leader, and willows in hammered silver with orange w/black dot, chartreuse w/red dot, Bill's custom "stop light", pink w/ black stripe, pink w/black dot, and orange/green w/red dot.
Honestly, any bright, shiny willows attracted hits. Tight lines!
Loc: CLINTON & West Hartford, CT
Sounds like great action the other day! Congrats!
Agree....great to see young kids out fishing and excited about it with their family members. I get a kick out of many kids of CTFers here with their fishing, hunting, outdoor adventures. It’s GREAT to see. Unfortunately so few in society get those experiences these days.
4:30-7:30 pm at Rocky Hill. The Breeze blew stiff, coming down from Hartford to the North today, keeping us more than a little cool. The water remains a bit high, and the current matched the breeze, stiff. It took a little effort to keep 1.5 oz of lead on the bottom. There were a half dozen working the dock when I arrived. Two of the regulars were working shad as I made my first casts. At another point, two shad were being played at the same time. We had nice little run going on. Most were bucks, but one long, fat roe made a stop on the dock.
About 5:25 I set the hook for a brief, half-hearted fight from a small buck; back in the drink after our Kodak™ moment. On the next cast, I caught another buck, bigger than the first; picture & released. Nice. On the next cast, I hit the trifecta, and landed another fine buck. 3 shad for 3 casts in 15 minutes--Schweet!
And that was it for the night, they shut down. Cold and hunger got the better of me, and I headed out at 7:30 pm.
Terminal tackle: 1.5 oz drail, over 3'-4' 8# flouro leader, and a hammered silver leaf in pink with a black stripe.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow after work. By and large, the boaters report that they are lighting them up. It's prime time. Tight lines!
Don P, I couldn't agree with you more about seeing kids getting out, and being successful. It's great to see the next generation of sportsmen and sportswomen cutting their teeth. Their enthusiasm is contagious. The dad I mentioned in comments above, was unloading his car with both his boys tonight as I was walking to my Jeep. Of course I detoured to say hi, and wish them luck. Good dad!
5:30-8:pm on the docks at Rocky Hill. Four fishing the docks on arrival, 0 reports of shad. The water remains high, and the current fast. The wind had switched around to blow up cold from Middletown/Cromwell.
About 6:30 I hooked a small buck close to the dock. Actually, it was probably under the dock, so it was a brief, if fun fight to the net. After our Kodak™ moment, he resumed his swim. I only saw 2 other shad caught tonight. It. Was. Slow.
Terminal tackle: 1.5 oz drail, under a 3' 8# flouro leader, and last night's hammered silver leaf in pink w/black stripe.
I really wish these "March winds" would die. I hold no hope that they will, but in spite of it, I'll be out again tomorrow. Tight lines!
5:30-8:pm on the docks at Rocky Hill. The water is down a little, and the current wasn't as strong as it's been. The wind was still whipping up from Middletown/Cromwell, but it wasn't as cold. Nobody, surprisingly, was on the dock public dock, but a regular was on the Fire/Police dock, 0 shad. Another regular arrived shortly after I started casting practice.
By 5:45, Fire/Police dock guy had C&R a small buck. Just before 6:00 I got my vitamin shad. A little while later I had a short hit, which didn't take after the first couple of tugs, and that was it for me. At least I kept the off. Fire/Police dock guy wound up C&R 2 more small bucks before I felt cold, and left. A couple of other regulars made their appearance, and got skunked.
Terminal tackle: 1.5 oz drail, over 3', 8# flouro leader, and a hammered silver in Bill's custom "stop light" (described in a post, above), followed by a hammered copper in chartreuse w/red dot.
The current was, initially, slow enough to easily find, and hold the bottom on the retrieve, but it picked up after 7. Which did not make it substantially more difficult to hold the bottom. And while the action was sporadic with the bucks, the ladies were entirely absent. Where the h*ll are the roes? When did RH become a "Gentlemen Shad Club"?
2:45-6:30 pm, on the dock at Rocky Hill. It was nice and warm, the water was down about 1' from yesterday, the wind and current were slack, and there was only one guy on the dock when I arrived. Within 15 minutes, the breeze started to pick up from the south, and the current started to wind up, too. By 5:pm, it was choppy, and the docks were rocking.
Since there was little to no current, I started with my U/L set up (rod: an U/L Ugly Stik Pro 4'6" one-piece, mated to a Penn 4200 SS, spooled with 10# Power Pro). About 4:30 I had a solid hook up, and the contest was on! We wrestled in the current for 3-4 minutes, and I realized I had kept to the U/L too long. The current gave the shad the advantage, and I was losing ground. For every foot or so that I gained, the shad would take two, or make a run and grab 3'-4'. I was hoping it would tire, as we connected close to the dock it wasn't close to spooling me. We danced for a good bit before the line went slack. I figure with it's thrashing around, and runs, it tore its lips. Shoulda, woulda, coulda used the heavier set up, but shad on light tackle is too much fun not to try. C'est la guerre. OTOH, I did manage to snag a couple of dinky minnows (<5") to keep the stinky kitty off.
I had switched to my usual set up for the big river, when a brief run came through. A kid who is becoming a regular hooked up with a middlin' buck, and asked for an assist with my net. As I netted his, I was drifting, and got a solid hit. I got his shad in the net, and handed it to him. As soon as he released his, another regular assisted me with netting my shad. Then, as I was unhooking a fine middlin' buck, he hooked up. I had just finished my Kodak™ moment, and I released my shad while I netted his. Then another regular on the Fire/Police dock hooked up and lost one, but he landed another a little while after our shenanigans on the public dock. We had great action for all of about 15-20 minutes, and that was all she wrote!
Terminal tackle: U/L--1 oz drail under 3' 8# flouro leader. Big boy set up--1.5 oz drail, over 3' 8# flouro leader. Under the drails, the willows were hammered silver in chartruese w/red dot, chartreuse, and orange/chartreuse, and a hammered copper in green/chartreuse w/red dot.
All in all, it was a good day to be out. The boat ramp was busy today, and I expect it will be a friggin' zoo thru Monday. If I go down there this holiday weekend I won't be fishing. I'll bring a chair, and a cooler to sit and watch the Googans.
Have a great, and safe holiday weekend. And don't forget the meaning behind this holiday. It ain't about the extra day off, or the beers'n'brats. Remember those who gave their last full measure. Tight lines!
In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place; and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie, In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high. If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though poppies grow In Flanders fields. --JOHN MCCRAE
6:30-8:15 pm, on the dock at Rocky Hill. Only two regulars were fishing on the dock, and one was playing a shad on arrival. A beautiful day, warm and sunny, with just a slight breeze to keep it comfortable. The water was down noticeably from Friday, slack current, and remarkably no "cotton" on the water, which is unusual for this late in May. Traditionally, I quit it around Memorial Day weekend, or shortly after, when the cottonwood fluff starts clinging to the line, and clogging up the guides and spool. As Spock would opine, "Interesting".
The short of the long of it, is I got the stinky kitty. Another regular C&R two, a middlin' roe and a buck. He also lost three, so they are still around, despite my lack of success.
Terminal tackle: 1.5 oz drail, over 3'-4' 8# flouro leader, and willows in hammered copper in chartreuse w/red dot, hammered silver in chartreuse, green, green/chartreuse, yellow w/red dot, yellow/green w/dot, hammered gold in red/white w/black dot.
All for naught, and not so much as a short hit if they even looked at them. I threw, and lost a lot of leaves today. The snags are more aggressive with the lower water level, and lack of current. And still, it was by far, better than sitting at home surfing the interwebs, as I am now.
Tomorrow is another day; hope springs eternal. Tight lines!
Wednesday, 27.May in Rocky Hill, 6:15-7:15 pm (I got cold and bailed early). The breeze was blustering up from Cromwell/Middletown keeping it cool, and the water was choppy. No current to speak of, but plenty of pollen on the water, and curiously there is still no cotton.
Of the 4 regulars who showed up during the hour I was there, only 2 caught shad, about 45 minutes apart. I managed an alewife to keep the off, and one brief tug. It wasn't a total loss, I was gifted a nice fat roe, that provided 2 huge roe sacks, and 2 beautiful, thick fillets, thanks to Bill C. The fillets were thick enough for me to split each one length-wise for 4 servings.
Terminal tackle: 1.5 oz drail, over 3.5'-4' 8# flouro leader, and willows in hammered copper in chartreuse w/red dot, hammered silver in yellow w/red dot, and hammered gold in red/white w/black dot.
Thursday, 28.May, about 5:45 pm, I stopped by E. Barber St./the Bissell launch in Windsor, but only took 3 casts. With salad fixin's firmly secured on each toss, I wasn't going to catch anything else, so I went down to Rocky Hill, 5:30-6:30 pm. It wasn't just breezy today, it was F'n windy as H*LL! Blowing hard up from Cromwell/Middletown, making the water was very choppy. The docks were rocking and rolling in the wake-like chop, we virtually needed sea-legs, and had to watch our stance and step, or stumble. There was very little current, and at the surface with the heavy chop, it was almost being blown back upstream.
Of the 3 fishing the docks when I got there, all reported no fish today, and not so much as an alewife. By 7:pm, the others had called it a night, the wind and intermittent drizzle sapped us all. I took a few more furtive casts, and ended my casting practice for the day. And, for the third consecutive day, I got the stinky kitty , with the exception of yesterday's alewife. I'll make a few more outings to be sure, but the end is drawing nigh. Our season is winding down. To be sure, there will be shad caught over the next week or two, but: They. Will. Be. Far. And. Few. Between.
Terminal tackle: 1.5 oz drail, over 3.5'-4' 8# flouro leader, and willows in hammered gold in red/white w/black dot, and hammered silver in chartreuse.
Today I made one of the shad fillet portions (from yesterday's gift) for my supper. I sauteed it with ramps in a little EVOO, and a pat of butter. O.M.G. So friggin' good. Shad, why do I love thee? A rhetorical question, for sure--but if you're not sure, I'll give you three guesses, and two of the answers are probably right.
Anywho, whatever you're pursuing, tight lines to you!
Keep that thought, and when you see me posting up the "Shad! 2021" thread, ping me in it. We like virgins!
But seriously, I'd be happy to show you the basics, as would any of the regulars. If nothing else, you need to meet the regulars. Some are characters, but all are genuine, good folx who want to see others succeed.
Anywho, the season is all but over here, and it's time to close this thread. My last 5 outings, Wed-Fri last week, and yesterday and today, all I got was the stinky kitty , unless we count the yellow perch I snagged thru the gills yesterday; it was smaller than my pinky finger. And the cotton is getting thicker by the day, clogging the reel, and guides. That's it, I'm done with shad. Until next year...
Maybe I'll start heading down to the shore once in a while. It's been a few years, and well, blues on light tackle I don't guess I have to tell you. Besides, my old surf pole might like to soak a few chunks, again. I might even fix and rig up my old crab pots.
Hello No Fish Today. As I believe that I had previously posted, we used to fish at the Enfield Dam many, many years ago, and we would catch one shad after another - some days every other cast, as the shad congregated just below the dam. Obviously I have not fished there in many years. I have heard that the dam has long since deteriorated. Is there any shad fishing happening in that area? We used to pay $.25 at a booth manned by a local to access the area, and fish as long as we wanted. Those were the days! Probably in the 1960's - 1970's.
Fishing: the art of casting, trolling, jigging, or spinning while freezing, sweating, swatting, or swearing. Henry Beard and Roy McKie
I went shad fishing in the CT river today just north of the Enfield Dam (Thompsonville Launch). Paul, (Cat in the hat) coached me as far as rigging and technique. Al I had to do was figure out how to achieve the right speed and depth for my boat and gear. The shad was were there. I landed 3 and dropped two others. It's not crazy difficult but it is the fine tuning that has Paul catching 3-4 to my one. The shad hit hard and fought well. It was a hoot. I will definitely do that more often. Thanks again to Paul (Cat in the hat) for showing me the ropes.