Monday, November 14, 2011

The Hickory Shad Option

If hickory shad grew as large as stripers., no one would chase bass anymore. We'd all be pursuing shad. These fish are about the best fighting small fish you can find.  They will rip drag and take wild leaps, sometimes jumping feet into the air on the fight.  They generally run 1-2 lbs. and are tailor made for  light tackle.
There are two ways we target them.  I've always write about using teaser rigs with a Cocahoe to fish for schoolies in the fall.  Well, that shrimp fly teaser on  this rig is one of the most effective lures you can use to catch hickory shad. This explains why we often catch shad when targeting schoolies.
The other way to get them is with very small bucktail jigs on ultralight tackle.  I'm talking a small eighth oz. bucktail jig spiced with a one inch curly tail.  The outfit I use to fish these micro jigs is a freshwater four and a half foot twig of a rod with a tiny Okuma reel spooled with 4 lb. test mono.  Yes, this is super light stuff.  I keep this light outfit in the back of my truck just to use in quiet backwater spots that I might hit on the way home after a slow day of striper fishing.  It often leads to an exciting ending to a slow day.

My kids love to catch these fish.  They have always liked fishing for them as my son, Matt, is the state record holder for these fish.  His record is 2.12 lbs. (21 inches) that he caught when he was just 4 years old!  His record has stood for 21 years. Yikes!