Wednesday, May 2, 2018


A Maryland Hickory Shad

There isn't much to say, that hasn't already been said, about the annual Spring migration of shad into the Chesapeake Bay and the lower Susquehanna. Every year I try to make it out at least once to catch hickories below the Conowingo Dam. I typically pick an overcast day and drive about an hour after work to fish for a little bit before dark. This allows me enough time to find a few pods of fish and catch my fill before driving home. This year, I fished the big river in high flows. The most difficult part is navigating the high water, the treacherous bank, and finding a window of casting opportunity with a long rod and skagit head.

I prefer the shortest heads possible because I am often forced to fish the tiniest of spots that are unoccupied by other anglers. I've gravitated towards using OPST's Commando Heads because I can easily form an anchor and a D-Loop in a confined space and can resort to a single hander if needed. This year, I've been using Loop's new line of rods the Opti NXT. It has a deep progressive action that loads skagit heads well. It responds to a nice and slow casting stroke that lets the rod/line do all of the work. I dig the smallest rod in the lineup, the 5110-4. An anadromous hickory shad combined with the 100,000+ cfs of the Susquehanna is an absolute blast on this setup and any other light spey rod. Next Spring, I look forward to trying some new water and specifically targeting Americans as they move into the Delaware River. 

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