Is it just me or does the world lack some info on shad flies? I've seen several online, and a few friends have shared their treasures. Gathering that any flo pink, green etc.. works. Got any faves you wanna share? Websites?
There is not much to a shad fly. Pink , white and chartruse and flashabou. Tie them in wat ever color combo you want. Key is to have a sharp hook and keep the tail short. I limit my tails to no more than 1/4" past the end of the hook. I like to add chain eyes on my flys
Search back on here in April or March of previous years. It used to get thousands of hits a day and numerous reports per week/day when the shad were in. There are countless descriptions and pictures of excellent flies. Quick suggestions; #6 to 8 gold hook (doesn't have to be but I like it), bead chain eyes, crystal flash body, marabou tail. In Green, pink, orange, white. Rig two flies, one as a dropper off the other. In the peak of the run you'll have double 18 inch hickory hookups reguarly. Americans are around too. Rarely do you get them in pairs or sometimes not at all. The Americans or white shad are larger, swim deeper and are less numerous than their cousins the high flying hickories. To say I can't wait for shad season is an understatement. Kids love it too. 6 weeks maybe, March 24th, high tide, watch out.
Is it free to launch your own kayak at Fletchers or is it just as easy to fish from shore? I'm just getting into fly fishing but I'm going to try it for shad this year, is the 8' - 4 weight I use for trout too light?
Launching a kayak at Fletcher's is doable and free, but you have to drive through a very low tunnel to get to the lower parking lot that can barely fit a truck to begin with (maybe 7.5' tall?). If you carry your kayak on top of your vehicle, you can more than likely not make it down there, and will have to walk a couple hundred yards from the top parking lot. Additionally, during the peak run there are 20-30 boats sitting in the best seam anchored up with little space between vessels, you will also probably need to anchor up in your kayak with a rock anchor (don't want to lose a good one). For the shad, you really *have* to have a sinking line or at least a long sink tip, you will be hard pressed to find a good sinking line that can be used on the 4wt--a 4wt is sufficient to fight the smaller Hickories early in the run but the Americans can be big, stout fish (5-8 lbs) that will fight harder than any trout; really a 6-8wt set up with a 200-300 gr fast sinking head or a type VI or VII full sink line is optimal.
Fishing from shore is also doable, but it is normally quite difficult to cast out to the seam where the fish sit without a two-handed rod. I have a kayak, a few two handed rods with all types of line, but if I have a few hours to spend and actually want to catch fish rather than just cast, I spend or split the $20 on a boat rental.
For flies, I did well last year using the Angler's Lie/Urban Angler shad fly. It takes a colored cone head (normally red), flashy white chenille body, and fish hair or super hair synthetic tail (SHORT) topped with a little gold/silver flashabou on a size 6 or 8 1X long shank, 2X heavy hook.
4 wt is too light. a full sinking line makes all the difference in the world. Or you could put a shad dart on the end of your rod, while throwing a wet sock but that's no fun. Just get a 6 or 7 weight and a FULL sinking line. You'll outfish the sink tip guy or the split shot guy 5:1.
Listen to Jon (Salmo Trutta). I often go to the rappahanock b/c of ease of shore line and wade fishing most days. I use a 6wt with full sink also and also use flies that have some wt to them too. You will snag a few times but if you dont you dont get down to the shad especially if the water levels are up and running. I use bright colored clousers and decievers (Red, Pink, Chartruse) I had good success this year with a double set up. Just like double nyphing. i would use 2 different colors and switch if one color got hit preferentially. I did not go to Fletchers last year but hit the Rapp 4-5 times with a couple of great days and a couple of so so days. All Hickories and some herring though no Americans. Oh on the flies. I also will use real short tails as you will get short strikes all day long with less hookups. I will even cut off the back feathers on flies I buy since I dont tie a lot and that works great. Also in VA like the Rapp some guys around may keep some for roe as it is legal in this state.Nothing wrong with that but just an FYI.
Thank you for all the info, that sounds like all the justification I need to make another bass pro trip. I've been meaning to get another fly rod anyway, something in that size range that I can use for light salt water use too and the sinking line will help there as well.
Is there a better place to launch than Fletchers? Something less crowded that might have better access?
If you are looking to buy a rod to fish the Chesapeake Bay and the Potomac (shad run, largemouth, smallmouth, schoolie stripers), you can't go wrong with an 8wt, with a reel and spare spool holding a floating and sinking line.
I'm not sure where else you can launch a kayak around there easily. I know people with jon boats launch at the closest boat ramp, all the way down at Gravelly Point (Reagan National Airport) and motor up. There is a possibility that Thompson's Boat House would let you launch a kayak, and this isn't too far downstream of Fletcher's (give em a buzz: http://www.thompsonboatcenter.com).
You guys are good, thanks. I just called Thompsons, the guy who answered was very friendly and with the nice weather today it sounded like he was busy. He told me they charge $3 to launch and there's meetered parking @ .75 per hour, the only hitch is there's a 3 hour limit unless you can find something on K Street. I'll have to measure the height of my vehicle with the yak on the roof, it's an Exporer and I can strap the yak on either verticle or horrizontal so if the clearance is really 7'6" I might be able to squeeze through if I don't hit any bumps. I could also hang it out the back window temporarily to get through the tunnel but I'd rather not if I don't have to...
I've been thinking about either a 7 or 8 weight / 9' rod for my next fly outfit, I'll make sure I get one with spare spool so I can mix it up.
I have a trailblaizer and I can go under the tunnel with SOT kayak on the factory roof rack. There might be some shad around Georgetown but it's slow going and you must fish a moving tide, i.e. outgoing. There is no current on an incoming. Just go to fletchers, it's where 90% of those fish stack up and high tide is the time. Low tide is "Good for something hot to drink" as Animal, aka Mike Bailey put it.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-comfficeffice" /><o></o> <o></o> Shore fishing is an option especially early season, renting a row boat is good too. $20 all day to have a stable platform you can stand on is well worth it.<o></o> <o></o> Don't honk your horn in that tunnel with the windows down. Ouch. But watch out for pedestrians and other cars. I think it was Jeff who wrote something one year about passing through hell (DC traffic) but once you get under that tunnel you have just entered the gates of heaven. Especially in the spring. There's no place like it. <o></o>