Well, as I type this I am fresh off of our local Shad river. The run has been slow and here is what has been going on the last few days. The cold snap we got last Thursday really stalled the run. Last Friday and Saturday guys were finishing for 2 to 3 hours and catching 2 or 3 fish, not the kind of numbers we are looking for. Now, this week things have been a little better...A buddy of mine from the salt water club was down on Monday and landed 25 and lost another 10, much better numbers. On Tuesday morning another friend of mine got "the mother load" and had steady fishing for about 3 hours. It seems like the morning bite is been more consistent than the evening. As mentioned, I fished this evening for about 2 and a half hours. It was a slow pick, and I guess I landed about 10. Better than it has been, but still not what we are looking for. I found myself using more weight than I usually do. Getting "down" seemed to be the key. I also noticed they weren't really hitting hard, it was more of a pick up rather than a hit. Many times feeling like I was stuck on the bottom. The water temp was 60 degrees so it should be "on" any day now. I am leaving Saturday morning to fish Penns for 4 days so I wont be able to communicate, so good luck to all that head down and give it a shot. Till next time...
Well, as I sit here reflecting on what was a great weekend it was, I can honestly say the "Irish Flies" Shad School was a big success! Each day I left my house at around 8:15 am and would return after 9:00 pm. On Monday morning the owner of the company of my "real" job asked me if I was tired. I told him yes, but it is a good tired. There is something rewarding about working hard and achieving the result you are looking for. I do feel the class went well, and I do absolutely believe the people in the class gained some knowledge and are set to take advantage of this great fishery. Information packets were prepared with directions to the river, recipes for the four fly patterns we tied and performance surveys were also provided. I provided the class with a survey to rate the content of the class. My thought was if I am going to continue to up my game I need the honest feedback of the people attending my events to let me know about areas for improvement. I have already received some of the surveys back and the comments have been great. Many positive, and some suggestions for improvement, which is exactly what I am looking for. Thank you to all whome returned their surveys, I hope to see many more soon.
The slide show went through the different Shad species we have available. We also talked about appropriate gear, flies, rigging, and fishing techniques. I think the slideshow was well received, and the questions afterward were great.
After the slideshow and the Q&A session we took a short break to set up and we prepared to tie. We got all 4 patterns in each day. The ability of the tiers in these classes was great! It made my job easy. We tied the One Boot, Micro Clouser, Deer Creek S fly and the Dart. I told the class if they spend some time and fill their Shad box with a variety of these patterns you will be set for Hickories and Americans for years to come.
After we finished tying we had lunch at the Brandywine Grill. If you are ever in the Christiana Cabelas store stop in the Grill and get the Elk sandwich. It is REALLY good. I would be remiss if I didn't give a big thank you to Eric Williams, the marketing manager of our local Cabelas store. Eric has been very good to me and my "Irish Flies" endeavors. The conference room and cafe set up are perfect for this type of class and I look forward to doing more of this events in the future.
Now, what everybody has been waiting for...
Everybody is waiting for the Shad run to happen. I fished our local Shad river 2 times last week in preparation for the class, and I was there for several hours each weekend day with the class. The verdict...in my opinion it is not "on" yet. On Wednesday evening I hooked one Shad (could have been a Herring) and Ed landed 1. I did manage this nice Carp, and yes, he ate the pink Shad fly.
On Wednesday the numbers of fish moving through the river system was staggering. Many of these fish were Herring, but, by Sunday evening the Shad to Herring ratio was definitely swinging more toward Shad. As mentioned the number of fish moving up the river was insane! One of the people in the class would stop fishing for LONG periods of time and just look into the water. He said "I have never seen anything like this". Water temps varied between 58 and 70 degrees from Wednesday night until Sunday afternoon. My guess is that the fishing will get better and better as the days go by, this has been confirmed by reports from the last few days.
As mentioned the fishing was tough. We caught fish both days, but not in the numbers we are looking for. I scheduled the class early on purpose. My thought was the fishing would not be as good, but the guys would have the entire season to go back, use the knowledge they gained in the class, and bang some fish.
We took a ton of pictures and there is no way I could post all of them here. You can check out all of the photos on the Irish Flies Facebook page here. I would like to thank every body that attended the class. I hope you had as much fun attending as I did hosting. I also have to give a HUGE thank you to my buddy "One Boot" Ed. He spent about 24 hours helping me this weekend. ED, I couldn't have done this without your help. Thank you! Till next time...
"You fish Year round"? I always liked to see the look on peoples faces when I tell them that we fish 12 months out of the year. part of the beauty of living where we do is that we have legitimate fishing opportunities available to us all year. One of those opportunities are Shad. If you have never fished for Shad before let me tell you, you are missing out on an awesome fishery! If you want to take advantage of this fishery, but don't know where to start let me suggest "Irish Flies" Shad Fishing 101. I just got the information from the venue and the dates are a go so I can finalize all of the details. I am running 2 classes with 6 people in each class. My goal is to give everybody the best experience I can, I will have help while we are on the river, but I believe more than 6 would be a stretch. Here are the details...
O'Neills Irish Flies Shad School
Class one is Saturday April 18 th
Class 2 is Sunday April 19th
Each class will meet at 10.00 am. I will present a 45 min / one hour slideshow that will cover species, locations, gear, techniques and flies. I hope this will spur on a question and answer session. After that we will tie a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 4 of my favorite Shad flies. (the number of flies we tie will depend on how we are doing on time) We will break for lunch and then head to the river to fish out the evening. (The un-official start to Shad season is usually the 15 th of April. I have purposefully set the dates up early in the season so after class you will have the entire rest of the season to put your new found knowledge to task). O'Neills Irish Flies will provide a coffee and doughnut type breakfast, lunch and all of the tying materials for the tying portion of the class as well as the slideshow. Cost for the entire day is $100.00 / person.
For the tying portion of the class you will need to provide a vise, bobbin with thread (any 6/0 light color thread will do) bodkin, scissors, and a dubbing twister. A light for your vise is recommended, but not necessary. You will also be responsible for providing all of the appropriate fishing gear including rod, reel, line, waders and boots and fishing license. You can fish the flies we tie in class and I will have custom flies available for sale during the "classroom" portion of the day. For a detailed list of the gear needed or to sign up for the class please use the links or phone number at the bottom of the page to contact me.
If you don't fish the winter months Shad fishing is a great way to shake the "shack nasties" and knock the rust off after a long winter (especially this one). If the run is strong, and I believe it will be, it is also a great way to catch a bunch of hard fighting, jumping, beautiful fish. My hopes are this class will give you the tools necessary to start you down the path of being an obsessed Shad fisherman like I am. I hope to see you in class. Till next time...