While I have never eaten shad I have eaten catfish and I really like catfish. And guess what, shad makes great catfish bait. Also there are several people that I know that like shad and can not go catch them anymore. You should see their faces light up when you show up at their door with a nice fresh fish for them. In fact I would rather give most fish away then eat them. I like fish don't get me wrong but seeing people get excited about you bringing them something that they love and are for what ever reason unable to get for them selves and it is something that you had fun getting is much more enjoyable.
But back to the story.
I went shad fishing for the first time a couple of years ago with my cousin. While I usually enjoy any time on the water our trip was pretty much a bust. We caught a couple but nothing like we had hoped for.
This year however my boat is running right and we had time off together so we decided to go again. It was a cold day and the wind was blowing at about 20 knots but since every river around here is still pretty much flooded from the floods back in October it was the only fishing we could do. We decided "what the heck" and went for it. We went to our usual place about an hour and fifteen minutes from us. When we got there the water was right( beauty of fishing right below a dam). We headed out and the wind was rough. The good part of that was most people stayed home and we had the best spot waiting when we got there. We anchored up and within a couple hours we almost had our limit. We were also almost frozen solid. But we ended up with seven rows and eight bucks. The rows we gave away to those who eat them and the bucks were kept for catfish bait.
After telling Buckman about our trip we realized that we would both be off for Presidents' Day and BO loves fishing almost as much as he loves duck hunting. So the three of us headed out. Luckily for us the weather was supposed to be warmer but they were calling for chances of rain. When we got there the weather was good and everything looked like it was going to be a good day. However when we got to the spot I noticed the first problem. Being Presidents' Day and the weather bring pretty good every one else decided to go fishing as well. We managed to get an ok spot but then I noticed the second problem. No one was catching anything. Well we had already driven over an hour to get here so we were going to fish. When me and Ray had gone the week before we had experimented with different colors of baits and I had them in the boat. Why not experiment again. After about thirty minutes I got a bite. Low and behold it was on one of the experimental colors. A couple minutes later Buckman had a bite on the same color. We were wearing them out (compared to everyone else) and were starting to draw attention. BO was even catching them. We caught six and lost that many or more in just a little while.
The problem with this was that everyone else wanted in on the action. Boats started getting closer and closer to us. "How could these idiots that could not even get their boats anchored correctly (the anchor just would not catch bottom) be out fishing us"? "They must be in the hot spot". The more we caught the closer they got. At the end Buckman could not catch a fish without getting tangled up in a bunch of young yahoos lines who were casting on top of us and loosing the fish. I'm not one to suffer idiots long and Buckman is less tolerant than I am. We decided that it was in everyone's best interest if we headed on home. Luckily that was the best decision because half way to the landing the bottom fell out. We ended up with six fish. Three rows and three bucks. When we got home we gave a row to his uncle and cleaned one apiece for his mother and grandmother in law. The Bucks went to the bait collection. All in all it was a good day. I just hope that the yahoos did not put a bad taste in his mouth for shad fishing. The funny part is, the yahoos still do not know why we were catching fish and they were not. If they had had better manners I was going to tell them. I guess the moral of the story is, don't be afraid to experiment when fishing.