Friday, April 8, 2011

Shadtastic Day on the Potomac

Had a shadtastic day on the Potoamc. To clarify, I should say it was a Clupeid-tastic day. Lets just call it at Clupeiday!!

Clupeidae is the family of shad and herring.

We fished the outgoing tide and the weather was beautiful. Mostly sunny, blue skies, a warm breeze, and temps in the 70's. Yesterday was the first time in months that I felt dehydrated.

We started off with a basic roll casting lesson and got into blueback herring and American shad within the first hour. Why roll casting and not the traditional overhead cast? There is not room to throw a line behind us. If we did we would destroy the lines and flies on rocks and snag trees. Here are some of the fish landed.
















We netted a bunch of fish and I worked on converting a spin angler over to fly fishing. That smile to the right says it all. Fighting these fish and the fun casting was hopefully enough. However he picked up his spin rod after our session and was taking hickory and American shad on almost EVERY cast ! I had never seen any thing like that. I picked up my fly rod and landed one shad while my now graduated client was hooking a few fish a minute. The shad were chasing his dart and my flies right in front of us. Truly amazing. I have been shad fishing for almost two decades and had never seen a shad chase down a fly. It was not until I changed my retrieve and trimmed down my fly that I start hooking up. I managed to land one nice hickory. I hooked a fish downstream and broke my rod fighting it. The rod broke about 1/4 up from the cork. It would  have been nice to see what was on the other end. It threw the hook once the line went slack!

Andrew H. had showed up with his gear and we all fished together. I gave him a Nishiama Special and he got into a shad right away. So now I have spinning guys hooking into fish left and right and on almost every cast they make. It was truly awesome to observe. When I took off from the river the sun had just gone behind the trees and the glare was off the water. We could see the river was black, thick with fish. On my drive home I wondered how many people commuting over this river were aware of the awesome spectacle of nature going on.

I think Andrew landed something like 80 fish in the afternoon. He posted pictures online when he left the river. It was dark.

One of the other spin guys landed a big female white perch. That was the first perch I had seen all season. Now I know they are in.

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