Shad Shootout to benefit Multiple Sclerosis here in Richmond, VA. This event would also be the first time my son had ever been in the new Pro Angler 14, so he was more than a little excited to say the least. I made a run to Green Top and picked up a handful of shad darts in various colors and a few tandem rigs with flutter spoons to use for the event.
I had never fished for shad before, but I had caught a few while fishing at the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel in the past while chasing light line stripers. I knew how much fun the fight was with these fish, so I wanted my son to experience the thrill and excitement of catching a "poor man's tarpon". We launched from Ancarrow's Landing on the James River with my son riding shotgun in the rear of the Pro Angler. We made our way up river to a couple spots that my friend Rob Choi had suggested during the previous night's captain's meeting and how-to seminar. When we failed to get any action, we moved upriver further just below the 14th Street bridge area and anchored off into a promising looking spot.
It wasn't long before my son was hooked into his first shad. He was using his own rod and reel and slinging one of the tandem rigs with a dart and flutter spoon combo. A short fight and his first ever shad made it's way into the Pro Angler. It was a 15" Hickory Shad and my son was amped up for another one. Before I could even take the picture of it, he had already recast and was hooked up again. Such was the story for the next two hours as my son ended up landing 15 shad in total and a couple smallish white perch.
He didn't seem phased as he slung the last tandem rig out into the flowing James River. A few seconds later, I hear him eschew out sounds of amazement as he screamed , "WHOA!!!! Dad I think this is a bigger one!" I just reeled in my line and let him fight the fish on his own. I didn't even have to tell him to ease the fish towards us. He fought the fish beautifully and played him out right next to me, so that I could land him. He was right. It was much bigger - 19 1/4" to be exact and an American Shad at that!
After he sat down, I fished for a bit and managed six more perch including the best one of the day for us - an 11 1/2" chunky little fighter.
Here's a quick video I made for some of his fish catches. His reactions are priceless and really show how much fun he had. Enjoy!
The shad bite is still on, so if you have an ultralight rod and reel and some shad darts and flutter spoons, head on down to the James River and try to get in on some of the action. It's a blast!!
Until next time - tight lines and be safe!!!