How to Catch American Shad on the Delaware River: Part 1 What its all about

Post date: Feb 19, 2015 8:48:04 PM

In the days of the American Indian the American Shad served as both food and fertilizer, the shad was so plentiful that when the pilgrims arrived they described the rivers a turning silver with fish. The American Shad makes their appearance in late February early March when the water temperature hits 40 degrees. For us fishermen we can actively target them from 42-65 degrees. The American Shad make their trek from the ocean, to the Delaware River, where they will travel as far north as New York.

 When I was a young kid the striped bass where not as prevelant and the keeper size was 36 Inches. Shad fishing was the only game in town and was so competitive that people would arrive to the Delaware River at 4 am to stake and claim their favorite spots. This fascination and obsession with the American Shad has faded with the younger class of fishermen but it still remains a top fish on my targeting list.

 Shad fishing can be some of the most relaxing and action filled fishing, when the wolf pack hits. I used to fish 9 rods until all of them hooked up. Two shads dumped the spools, another ran up stream, two swam behind the boat and crossed over another fish, another came out of the water, causing serious chaos. The bite gets so thick that 6 rods becomes difficult to fish, making hard to get a full spread back out.

 American Shad are in the same family as tarpon and fight just as hard, they will put a largemouth bass to shame. The American Shad weigh up to 9 lbs, last years class of fish was a consistent 5-8 lbs, making them a very sporty game fish. They swim extremely fast, put on a spectacular show leaping from water, only to dive for the bottom and rocket back to the sky with an aerial display that is unmatched.  We are only using 6-10 lbs fishing rods with 6 lbs test line, which makes it one of the best fight you will ever have in fresh water.