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Old 03-13-2004, 06:36 AM
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Default Shad at Weldon!

I went fishing with my younger bro yesterday. We fish for Hickory Shad on the Roanoke River every March, put a canoe in at Weldon and paddle upstream were motor boats canít go. It was sunny and warm enough to take off our shirts, and we caught dozens of fish. Itís a much more relaxed atmosphere than the striper fishing because there are more shad, and fewer fishermen. If my fellow Carolinians (I never say ďTar HeelsĒ) feel like catching some fish, the next few weeks are a good time. chip.
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Old 03-13-2004, 10:08 AM
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Default RE: Shad at Weldon!

I've made that early-spring fishing trip to Weldon myself a few times, although not this year. It's a great way to break out of winter's "cabin fever" and enjoy some light-tackle or flyrod action.

I'm headed further down the Roanoke River later today with family & friends to eat fried "herring" at the Cypress Grill in Jamesville. Another NC tradition with "culture".
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Old 03-14-2004, 12:45 AM
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Default RE: Shad at Weldon!

Chip - I've been going to Weldon for striper for the last 7 years. Never been for shad. I don't fly fish. What lures have you had good luck with?
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Old 03-14-2004, 06:15 AM
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Default RE: Shad at Weldon!

Baypro, IMO line diameter is more important than the lure- youíll get more bites with 4 pound than 6 and anything bigger than 6 is bad. Also, you need to get the lure down pretty deep so I think its best to cast across the current and let the lure sink as it drifts downstream. Sometimes it helps to add a split-shot or two.

I think the very best lure is a small spoon, about an inch long. I had two and they consistently outfished everything else we tried. I think you can buy them at tackle stores in Roanoke Rapids, but I found the ones I used while I was snorkeling. The second best lure, and the one I use most is a 1/8 or 1/16 oz crappie jig with a curly tail. The head should be white or yellow, and the tail a bright color- white, yellow, red/yellow, something like that. I use crappie jigs the most because they are cheap, and so am I. Third on the list would be shad darts. They are expensive for what they are, and donít have the action of a curly-tail, but lots of folks buy them, use them, and catch fish with them. Whatever you use, releasing them is a lot easier if you bend the barb down with a pair of pliers.

If you're using a spoon, a slow steady retrieve is best. With crappie jigs either a slow steady retrieve, or long upsweeps- the strike usually happens at the top of the sweep.

Sometimes the fish turn off for a while. Not sure if they move upstream, or if they quit biting. When this happens we move a short ways upstream or down and usually start catching again.

There are lots of shad stacked up at the foot of the rapids, right at the boat ramp, and thatís maybe the best place to fish. Good luck, itís tons of fun and theyíre beautiful fish. On light line theyíll run off some drag and jump like a tarpon! chip.
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Old 03-14-2004, 01:23 PM
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Default RE: Shad at Weldon!

Chip - Thanks - May give it a try next weekend.
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Old 03-14-2004, 03:36 PM
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Default RE: Shad at Weldon!

Fished the Neuse below Kinston Friday and caught several. They are truly a sporty fish. Anyone know where they go when they leave, out to sea, up or down the coast?

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Old 03-15-2004, 09:05 AM
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Default RE: Shad at Weldon!

Eat Mo' Shad!

I grew up in Roanoke Rapids, and I remember fishing the tailrace up near the dam,*the hatchery they used to have in Weldon, the fishing shacks all along the river...haven't been back in many,many years, sounds like it's time to make a trip...but I don't know the water anymore...anybody know a good guide?*
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Old 03-15-2004, 09:14 AM
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Default RE: Shad at Weldon!

Gordon Churchill would be good if he is not already booked out. home-252-728-7480
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Old 03-15-2004, 04:29 PM
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Default RE: Shad at Weldon!

Sounds like you could talk Chip into taking you.
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Old 03-15-2004, 07:04 PM
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Default RE: Shad at Weldon!

Silverg, Hickory shad survive the spawn and migrate back up to around Nova Scotia where they feed on plankton (like krill). They may return 4 or 5 times to spawn in the Roanoke (or wherever their natal river is). As soon as the eggs hatch, the fry go downstream to the sounds, then presumably out to sea.

There are also American shad (aka White shad). Amshads grow bigger, up to around 7 pounds. In southern rivers, up to about North Carolina, American shad die after they spawn the first time. But as you get farther North the ratio of shad that survive and spawn several times increases until almost all of them survive at the northern tip of their range (Maine, I think). The theory behind this is that southern rivers are pretty flat, so shad can always get upstream far enough to spawn. But up North, the streams are steep, so a dry spring can make the headwaters inaccessible. The fish have to balance bodily growth, energy to swim to the spawning grounds, and calories to make eggs. The southern fish invest all their spare calories to make eggs (they donít have to save any energy to swim back to Nova Scotia) so they are depleted at the end of the spawn. The Northern fish canít spawn every year so in order to ensure they spawn at least once, they make the trip several times, sacrificing number of eggs to increase number of trips. When the American shad eggs hatch, the fry stay in the river Ďtill the end of the summer feeding on invertebrates, then migrate up North in the Fall.

Probably a lot more info than you wanted, but I love these fish. I went back up Sunday and snorkeled the river with my underwater video camera. It was pretty murky and awfully cold, but I got a little footage of the fish.

Preoccupation, I just kayak and canoe upstream of the rapids at the boat ramp- Iíd be scared to run an outboard on the river. Good luck. Chip.
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Old 03-16-2004, 07:41 AM
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Default RE: Shad at Weldon!

Wow Chip, that is exactly what I was asking! These fish are amazing. Thanks for the explanation.

Last year during April the water stayed high, at or above floodstage of 9 ft. We along with everyone else were able to motor just about any size boat above the rapids to fish the stripers. We did very well with the fly rod just above the trestle.

I check the water level daily this time of year. http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nc/nwis/uv...cd=00065,00060
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Old 03-16-2004, 08:05 AM
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Default RE: Shad at Weldon!


Thanks Chip, glad to hear the shad have moved upstream a bit. We either float down from Roanoke Rapids, or like you paddle upstream. It sure beats fighting the traffic below Weldon, plus at low flows, we can get out and wade. I think I'll go this weekend!

-Will
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Old 03-16-2004, 08:57 AM
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Default RE: Shad at Weldon!

SHAD RULE!!!! I fished Shad in the Savannah 2 weekends ago and we caught 115, average about 3.5 to 4 pounds. All Americans, no Hickories. The best rig I have found on the Roanoke is a dart, spoon tandem rig. I find the most fish below the rapids down where the creek comes in is very good.
Preoccupation, I am an NC guide but I am also booked solid from this weekend until middle of May. If I get a cancellation do you want me to let you know????? THT members recieve substantial discounts!!!!!!!!
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