How to Catch American Shad on the Delaware River: Part 2

How to Catch American Shad on the Delaware River: Part 2

Fishing for American Shad can be action packed, reel screaming action, shad are know for hard runs, big jumps, and long fights. It is not uncommon to have several rods hooked up simultaneously which makes it a team effort to clear rods and keep the shad from tangling other lines. In this article we are going to cover what kind of tackle and equipment to use to target the American shad, in later articles we will cover where to fish for them and strategy.

Fishing rods and reels:

I find that a 6-10 lbs rod the same rods I use for smallmouth bass fishing work the best. The lighter action rods make the fight very enjoyable while still being able to land your fish. The reels are matched to the rods and are able to have 285 yards of 6 lbs test line.

Shad Lures:

The shad spoon comes in a variety of painted colors, sizes, and spoon colors. Some days it seems like all three factors have an affect on how many shad you catch and then there are days it really does not matter. My tackle box is load with over 200 spoons and about 1/3 of them are doubles.

Spoon Paint Colors:

The best advice I can give you is that on bright days you use bright colors and on dark days use dark colors. The next advice I will give you is if the shad are hitting one rod over and over and not the others, check the color, size and change at least one more rod out to that color and size. If the second rod starts to catch then think about change out another 1 or 2 rods. Somedays they are very color oriented and this can increase your catch ratio significantly. My favorite colors are pink, white/red, green/yellow, and blue/white. I make my own spoons, which allows me to fish colors that you can not find anywhere else.

Spoon Size:

There are 4 spoon sizes small (1), medium (2), perfect (2.5) and large (3). The small spoons are used when the fishing is tough, cold weather, not a lot of fish, or ultra clear conditions. The medium spoon is a great starter spoon. Its right in the middle and can be effective on all days. The Large spoon is great for dirty water, warm water, and days when the herring or smaller shad are covering you up, the large size seems to keep the small fish away.

Spoon Color:

The two colors are gold or silver, I stick with the old method of dirty water gold and clear water silver. This doesn't mean you will not catch fish with a gold spoon in clear water. Some days it might out preform the silver.

Shad Darts:

Shad darts vary in size and colors, I stick with the same colors I use on my spoons. Shad darts can be casted and jigged or laid out be hind the boat. They are the simplest lure to use when shad fishing, the only thing I will warn you about is you will catch sturgeons and they will break you off.

Mister Twister:

The Mister Twister is very versatile, casted, trolled, or jigged. Use small sizes to small medium, stick with green, yellow, pink, and white.

Dipsy Diver:

The little john is a very effective size and will get your bait deep enough to catch. It attached to the main line then attach a leader 24-26 inches to the spoon. It will cause your rod to bend significantly but that just means its working properly.

The Bead Chain Weight:

The Bead chain weight is the most versatile of all the methods to get your bait in the strike zone. It allows you to adjust depth, troll, cast, or be anchored. The chain will stop most line twisting, which could cause a lot of problems.

Diving Plugs:

Diving plugs are plugs with the hooks removed, they set you spoon at the right depth everytime. The major draw back is if debris gets on one they helicopter. If you do not catch this in time they will wrap up all of your lines. The standard for years were SR7's and SR9's. I told one spoon maker my secret of a square bill a few years ago and now its all over the place.

Oh yeah. COLOR matters. Do not buy blanks unpainted. I will out fish you 10 to one with my colors. Fish come over and look at you plug, drop back and grab the spoon. I have this on video from my SHAD cam so do not buy clear blanks!

Down Riggers

Down riggers work but I dont have time for this. I have to be very versitile switching from Stripers to Shad to Snake heads, etc. Its just not needed.