Loc: CLINTON & West Hartford, CT
ANOTHER GREAT ATTEMPT!…..and pretty soon the run/season will end?……heard like 7-10 more days or so? Seems like a poor season for the run and catching. Is that true?…..just a few days, and poor/off season?
Hi Don, Sadly it has been a slow year. The cool, damp weather kept a damper on the run. To be sure, there were some good days, and should be a few more, but we certainly didn't see the numbers of 4-plus# roes we were catching last year. I know for me the season ends when the water is covered with "cotton". It clogs up the line and guides, and is a real mess. The shad run peters-out the first week or so of June, or at least that's what the few folx who can put up with the cotton tell me.
With the forecast still calling for gusty wind today, I should concentrate on more domestic affairs. Still, this afternoon after work I'll probably throw caution to the wind and sample the water off the Wall. Tight lines!
Arrived at the Wall at 4:30 pm, Bill C and a couple of other regulars were working the whitecaps. Yepper, it was blustery again today (weatherturds be damned, "wind subsiding" my a**), and by all reports the fishing was slow, except for the alewives. About 4:45 Bill C landed a middling roe, 5 mins later, another shadaholic hooked up for another middling roe. As soon as he landed that, I hooked up and landed a small buck. And then it got quiet for an hour or so. At 6:30 I landed a smaller buck, between catching a few alewives during the interim. I also saw 2 other shad landed about the same time.
The wind definitely affects the fishing. If not the bite directly (which I doubt, we catch shad in spite of it), then it affects the ability to feel and hold the bottom to present the terminal tackle to the shad. All in all, today was a good day, and the shad, while scattered, made appearances. Despite the wind, I will sally forth again tomorrow.
Ah, the details, the devil is in the details. Terminal tackle: 1.5 oz drail over 4.5' 10# flouro leader. Leaves that landed shad for me today: hammered silver white & red w/black dot, and hammered silver, orange & green reflective tape w/black dot.
At the Wall after work by 4:15 pm, to 5 shadaholics working the brownstone, and a couple or 3 others working meat sticks, soaking chunks or tossing a plug. One regular packed it in as I unpacked. He had been there about 30-40 minutes, but the wind was too much for him. He had landed 2 shad in the short time he was there. While windy, it was not as stiff as yesterday. The water was down another 6"-8", choppy from the wind, but the current was good.
About 4:40 pm I hooked and landed a nice roe. She wasn't very long, maybe 20", but she was fat, and 3#+. After a Kodak Moment™ she went back in the drink. Over the next 45 mins a couple of shad were caught along the Wall. By 5:30 pm I had lost one, and landed another, also released after a Kodak Moment™, along with a couple of handfuls of alewives. By 6:30 pm hunger and Stop & Shop beckoned me to go get my supper. Not a bad 2+ hours, I went 2 for 3, the last one on the U/L. Now, if the d*amned wind would quit, it would be pretty nice. One can hope...
Terminal tackle: med-heavy throwing 1.5 oz drail, 3.5' flouro leader, and hammered silver leaf in orange & green reflective tape w/black dot. U/L throwing 1 oz drail, 4' flouro leader, hammered silver leaf in white w/4 red dots.
Rumor has it the Rocky Hill Fire/Police dock is in. I know there are shad at the Wall, but it's tempting to sample the water at Ferry Park tomorrow. We'll see how "breezy" it is; curse the weather turds.
Thursday and Friday I went down to the Wall for a couple of hours after work. All I got was casting practice and a few alewives to keep the off. Not one shad. To be sure, a few shad were caught by others, few being the operative word.
Today, not having work dictate my obsession--um, er--shad hobby schedule.. I decided to fish the outgoing tide at the Wall. High tide was forecast for 12:25 pm in Cromwell, so I timed my arrival for a bit past 1:pm. The water was up a good 8"-10" higher than yesterday, but the current was still very slow. Nobody had caught anything for the last few hours, and by all accounts it was a very poor, slow morning. I sat around jawing with the regulars, some of whom had already been there a good 5-6 hours until the current was moving better, and I wet my first line around 2:pm. Finally, a little past 3:pm I was tossing my U/L (3/4 oz drail, hammered silver leaf in pink w/white dots) and got a good, hard hit. She put her head down, and stayed deep. Every time I turned her and got her close to the wall, she flipped around, ran out a bit of line, digging deep trying to head downstream. She made a few runs, but I knew she was done when she turned upstream. She was a middling, spawned out roe, weighing about 3#. She went back into the drink after a Kodak Moment™.
It remained slow for the next hour, a few hits and a miss, here and there, and an alewife or two kept things interesting until about 4:pm. I was throwing my big-boy set up (med-heavy 6' rod, Penn 4300SS, 1.5 oz drail, hammered silver leaf in white w/4 red dots) when the train hit me. Stopped. Me. Dead. She ran deep, and started down for Middletown. I was glad I wasn't using the U/L, because she made a few good, long runs and gave my drag a workout. I don't think I could have stopped her with the U/L in the current. Eventually I got her to the net. She wasn't too long, but she was FAT with roe, and close to 3.5#. I gave her away for a friend who hasn't been able to get out as much as he would like. By this time, a small pod of shad was running through, and 5-6 more were hooked, and played. Most self-released, and only a couple were landed.
All in all, it was a good afternoon. Even with the fishing being slow, the company and cameraderie was very good. Bill C showed up and shared some of the smoked shad he makes. It was de-f'n-licious! There is a sense of community among the shore-bound shadaholics, and these guys and ladies are almost like family. At one point, an older guy's reel failed; a broken bail spring. A young guy offered to let him borrow a spare reel he had in his truck. It's not just about the shad...
Love this report and love the shadaholics! The guy who borrowed the reel has been talking about it ever since - he said he bought it from the other guy. He was so happy I was down yesterday for a couple hours and he caught a nice shad on that reel!
Your best shot is The Wall in Cromwell, followed by The Farmington at Barts above the RR bridge. Two things working against you are the fact that the shad run is ending, and today's rain will muddy the CT river making it difficult for shad to see the willow leaves. Cromwell high tide at 530AM means best possible tidal current in the morning 7-10AM, shad move in current and strong current brings them along The Wall. Need 1.5 oz trolling sinkers at The Wall, much less above Barts, then leader to willow leaf. If lucky you can learn and acquire terminal tackle from shad veterans who may show.