View Full Version : Advice sought by Shad newbie

04-30-2007, 09:22 AM
Hey guys: I have never fly fished with a sinking line or a shooting head before (although I think I've figured out the difference) and I would like to try my hand at some of those shad I used to spin fish for with my Dad about 25 years ago. I have a 10 foot 6wt with a medium fast action and was wondering what you all might recommend for fishing the A or the Feather or the Lower Sac (Woodson Ave)? Could I use the same set up for Steelhead on The T? Thanks very much -Rob

Bill Kiene semi-retired
04-30-2007, 09:48 AM
You could use a 200 grain integrated "Teeny type" fast sinking line in most cases till the water gets low.

When the flow get lower and cleared in June you could use a 15' sinktip.

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The other more versatile set up is a running line with welded loops and a couple of 30' Rio shooting heads in different sink rates.

Rio ST6S type 3

Rio ST6S type 6

04-30-2007, 11:27 AM
Rob,.... In adition to what Bill advised I would think (....considering your statement you haven't actually casted a sinking line) you'd want to practice some casting before actually fishing with a sinking line.... As you might recall, most Shad fishing occurs in a crowd (...line-up) and there're some line pick-up, safety issues when casting in a crowd on a river....IMHO 8) 8) 8) Pick out a place without a crowd and give it a go. :D :D

04-30-2007, 12:00 PM
My ex-partner, Al Smatsky, who guides for shad on the American and Yuba uses Teeny lines from 275 through 325. You "might" be able to handle the 275 if your rod is fairly stiff and you slow down your cast, allowing the rod to fully load.

You'll probably want a line with a floating running line so that you can mend on the swing, unless you're fishing deep. Not a problem this year but, in years past, for deep fishing I'd just use a head and amnesia. You have to be very fast on the mend when using amnesia since it sinks quickly.

And yes, you should definately practice. With practice you should be able to cast with a short roll cast or line pick up to lay out the line in front, one false cast and then, bam! fire that line out.

You also need to figure out what you're doing with the running line when stripped in. Some people use a basket. I prefer to loop the line in my mouth and shoot it from there. Since I have a tendency to talk too much to people when I'm fishing, the line loops in the mouth serve two purposes.

Bryan Morgan
04-30-2007, 01:35 PM
Deffinitely practice if you have never thrown a Shooting Head. We have a low water year, so go to Bill's, and stock up on maybe a 2,4, and 6 rate shooting head. I prefer an intermediate running line, but I like to get to max depth just in case they are down deep during the day. :D

04-30-2007, 02:57 PM
Make sure you wear a hat and some glasses also, hee hee. :D

05-01-2007, 02:48 AM
Thanks for all of the good advice, guys. I do remember those line ups and I will definitely practice before I endanger others. Hope everyone has a great season. Thanks again. -Rob

David Lee
05-01-2007, 06:35 AM
Rob -

Keep in mind , Shad are 'tender' fish - they don't usually give up easy . A 6 wt. is a little light for them , if you're not used to fighting strong fish .

Use a 10 lb. tippet , fight them to the point of horseing them in , and DON'T touch 'em or drag your Shad onto the bank .

Light tackle + handling Shad = dead Shad . Don't wait for them to quit .... beat them down .

To release one , slide a hand down to the eye of the fly (barbless , please ...) and shake 'em off . I play them off the reel , except for the last 10 or so feet - I keep that line in my hand . When the leader connection is close to the tip , I swing the rod and release the line at the same time to get the line/leader junction in my hand , then run my hand down the leader to shake the fish off .

This will save your rod tip from high-stick death .

Good luck out there !!

David :D

05-01-2007, 12:01 PM
Hey David, what do you think about using a soft catch and release trout net? Or are they still too fragile?

05-01-2007, 12:34 PM
Definitetly land shad quickly. In fact, just pop them up on the surface and skate them in! Use a set up that allows for this tactic.

Tie shad patterns on 'cheap' hooks with thin wire. 50% of the time, the hook opens and the shad fall off not long after the grab. Bend the hook back to a "J" and go after another grab.

I'd rather not touch shad or even mess with the hook or risk breaking a rod tip.

05-11-2007, 09:26 PM
Smokey - I wouldn't contaminate a net with shad slime. It will smell forever.