Friday, May 8, 2015

Shad Appeal

That fly's got shad appeal...

Nothing ushers in springtime like warming temperatures, budding vegetation, and great fishing. For fly fishermen, spring might mean zeroing in on a particular event. It could be early black stoneflies or blue winged olives enticing wild trout to the first dry flies of the year. Some of us might target the first carp entering the shallows, mudding aggressively, and easily falling for the first fly they've seen in months. Maybe it is fall back steelhead on the Great Lakes tributaries and swinging large streamers to hungry fish hoping for that giant slab of chrome. For those that live near the Delaware or Chesapeake Bays, springtime often means the shad run and all the other anadromous fish pouring into freshwater drainages. For some, it might mean all of the above.

The shad run is a main event of the spring season on the Delmarva peninsula. Hickory and American shad pour into both bays and anglers from all over line up to catch them en masse. Hundred fish days are not uncommon and the fish are pretty aggressive, especially when they are still in the larger waters of the Susquehanna and Delaware rivers. I prefer swinging flies with a light two handed rod because it is easy to cast and cover a lot of water. Plus, even a hickory's take on the swing in 80,000 cubic feet per second feels like a steelhead sometimes. For flies, I was always told that it needed to be flashy and they'd eat it. Over the past three years I've only used one type of fly which I've come to name: Shad Appeal. Why may you ask? It has the prerequisite characteristics that capture a shad's attention and it downright works and works well.

Shad Appeal


1. the ability to lure and excite shad using bright flashy colors
2. possessing the qualities to entice an anadromous shad into eating
3. having the prerequisit hook to not allow a shad to wiggle free

Some days it's like swinging up a fish in the ocean...

Choose your favorite color...

Shad Appeal Materials List:

Hook: Gamakatsu B10S 
Bead: Hareline Rainbow Plummeting Tungsten Bead
Thread: Danville 70-140 Denier
Tail: Orvis Krinkle Mirror Flash
Body: UTC Pearl Mirage Tinsel- Flat
Wire: UTC Ultra Wire- Medium
Hackle: UV Polar Chenille or Senyo Aqua Veil Chenille

A touch of super glue on the thread base will make the pearl tinsel last much longer...

A small coating of Sally's Hard as Nails will help the wire stay in place...

Raspberry and Bubblegum

Fuchsia & Silver Mirror


Pepperoni & Nuked Green Bean




RKM said...

Great looking fly pattern. We have a nice run of shad in CT. I haven't had any success yet at one of our well known sites to target them, but I'm not done trying. Shad are beautiful fish and I bet a large female will give quite a battle on a fly rod.

TroutSnout said...

Hey, what size hooks were you using for that pattern?

Mark said...

Size 2-6

TroutSnout said...

Thanks Mark!