Brian took us on the river from 7am to 9am. As before, we set up in the center of the channel , a little to the Virginia side, a little bit above Fletcher’s Cove. The weather was cool, from the high 40s to the mid 50s, with light wind. The water was pretty placid.
I went with 8-pound light green line (Brian had clear 8-pound line), and I followed Brian’s lead on rigging. The rig is a tiny tri-swivel spiral, with 1.5 feet to the first shad dart (chartreuse), and 2.0 feet of line to the lower shad dart (red/white). Using a lighter rod (not a catfish killer) and a spinning reel (not the Zebco kiddie closed-face spincast reel) was important. The flex of the rod may allow the shad to pull the dart a touch then get hooked.
It is best to cast of the back of the boat. Typically, one counts to 10 to let it sink and then slowly reel in. However, on this day, letting it sink for 20 seconds was preferable. Much of the time, the shad were hitting low. But, we also had them chasing darts near the surface, at the end of a reel in. A man in another boat was casting and reeling back very quickly, and catching many shad.
Which underscores the point that shad are migratory and can go into feeding frenzies that lead them to hit low and high. Above is the double-shad I caught. Note the dart colors. In this instance the lower dart was pink.
Oh, to tell American shad versus hickory shad, have a look at http://www.ncfishes.com/shad-identification/.