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hickory=bottom fish

Easiest way to tell for me is the nose is opaque and has a different slope... Plus, I never catch one. So...if it's on my line... hickory
 

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Top is american and bottom hickory ( I assume there is one each in the pics )

I've been told, hickories have tarpon like jaws.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Correct! :thumbup: :clapping2:

Hope you all find this useful...I always look at nose-shape too. blunt nose = American, up-sloping pointy nose = hickory.
 

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Someone told me the easiest way to tell is by looking at the lips. If the lower lip juts out further than the upper lip it's a hickory. And if they're more or less even it's an American. Is that right?
 

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Someone told me you had to stick your finger in the shad's butt, remove, and smell. Americans are supposed to have a hint of orange and oleander, while hickories smell like the $h1t door on a tuna boat.
I knew they lied to me after the first fish; Hickorys smell like the @$$ end of a barn yard cat.:yes::eek::hysterical::roflguy:

Later, Harry
 

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Tony, that's good ... I mean about the opaque area between the eye and upper lip on the American. Never noticed that before.
 

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yep hickory bottom maybe American top. I say maybe because the color isn't just right to soot me. Its to silver for an american. thier more cream white then silver white. But the mouth is almost right. I'm thinking the top is just a misfit hickory. bwahahahahaha
 

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What djamieson said, "Someone told me the easiest way to tell is by looking at the lips. If the lower lip juts out further than the upper lip it's a hickory. And if they're more or less even it's an American. Is that right?

The jutting of the hickory's lower lip is pronounced and easily observable. But you might need to close their mouths before this is obvious.

The other shad: I've lost track of the number of fishermen at Chain Bridge I've observed crank in a huge snagged gizzrd shad and proudly decree it to be an American shad. The mouths of gizzard shad is located slightly under their nose. Gizzard shad also have a very long last filament to their dorsal fin that trails back along their back. To see this extra long filament, you will need to stand up the dorsal fin. Sometimes its 1.5 to 2" longer than the other rays on the dorsal fin. Plus, gizzard shad are much more drab than either hickories or Americans.
 

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OK, now given that these fish appear to be identical in size, could you tell the difference between them in fight?
DF
 

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Americans are noticeably larger than hickories... BUT, the 2 species do overlap in size to a limited extent, so size is not a sure thing. The American are stronger fighters, but I think thats mostly due to their larger size. Hickories frequently jump, while Americans rarely jump.
 

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What djamieson said, "Someone told me the easiest way to tell is by looking at the lips. If the lower lip juts out further than the upper lip it's a hickory. And if they're more or less even it's an American. Is that right?

The jutting of the hickory's lower lip is pronounced and easily observable. But you might need to close their mouths before this is obvious.

The other shad: I've lost track of the number of fishermen at Chain Bridge I've observed crank in a huge snagged gizzrd shad and proudly decree it to be an American shad. The mouths of gizzard shad is located slightly under their nose. Gizzard shad also have a very long last filament to their dorsal fin that trails back along their back. To see this extra long filament, you will need to stand up the dorsal fin. Sometimes its 1.5 to 2" longer than the other rays on the dorsal fin. Plus, gizzard shad are much more drab than either hickories or Americans.
and those gizzards are about twice as slimy as anything else out there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I agree with Howard. Americans give you more of a low-down bulldogging work-the-current slugfest type of fight, but hickories come up high in the water column, when hooked, shake their head, and will jump once or more...I've never had an American jump on me.

Once you hook an American, you will immediately know there's something different going on. Pound for pound, they are stronger than the hickories.
 
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