Shad fishing: Size matters

Kosar shad spoonsMidway through this season I took a tip from two old pro’s and switched my preferred shad rig to a shad spoon with a little split-shot a couple feet above it. Wow, whereas my darts got a little attention, the crazy fluttering spoon was hammered relentlessly. Both gold and nickel ones got equal love from the lust-crazed shad.

The first spoon I used was a Nungesser 20 (the one at the bottom of the photo above. The 20G-1 is gold and the 20N-1 is nickel. Click the links to buy them.) It worked great for a couple of weeks. Then it didn’t. I was baffled—donde est shad?

Frustrated, I swapped to a wee little spoon. (The one at the top of the photo.) WHAM! Suddenly the fish were hitting again. And these shad were much smaller than the hogs that had been hitting previously. So I learned something—the size of shad running can change, and one needs to adjust hook size accordingly. I also was delighted to find blueback herring hopping on these trim little shad spoons.

Two things to remember about using shad spoons are: (1) Tie them directly to your line. Do not use a swivel; and (2) Spoons should flit side to side rapidly when they are pulled through the water. Their shine/color and this crazy motion is what attracts bites. Lighter weight spoons can bend from snags or catches, so do heck your spoon’s motion by dipping it in the water and pulling it side to side. If it is not fluttering wildly, try slightly bending the oval spoon so that it is a tiny bit concave around the hook. Be gentle, though, a sharp bend in the spoon will be hard to fix.

So if you are going to chase shad, do stock up on a variety of sizes of shad spoons! (Search Ebay for “shad flutter spoons”—you’ll find a variety of sizes there.)

Kosar shad 05-09-2018.jpg

A large shad nabbed on a large spoon, May 9, 2018 in the Potomac River north of Fletcher’s Cove.

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