Gang-banging American River Shad

Chinook
edited June 2005 in Catch Reports
We hit the American River about 6AM yesterday and there were already a handful of fishermen whipping
the river to a froth in their quest for the fiesty Hickory Shad. We walked along the river looking for a spot
to our liking and the fish were everywhere in the river. We could see fish being caught by both by spin and
fly fishermen. The sun was already rising and it was going to be another hot day in the 90's (degrees Fahrenheight)
and we wanted to get our shad fishing in before it got too hot for our tender fishermen-size brains.




  • Chinook
    We stopped at times to watch fishermen bring their hooked shad to net. The fish would jumped out of the
    river trying to shake the hook out from its mouth. Silver flashes of silver would reflect off the bright shiny
    scales of the fish from the golden rays of the rising sun. Even the occasional school of nesting Canadian
    geese along the river were still asleep at this hour of the morning.




  • Chinook
    Finally we decided that we had done enough walking to warm up and that this will be our 'hot-spot' for the morning.
    We set-up our rods for drift-fishing (or fly-fishing depending on one's whims) and then carefully waded into the
    chilly, crystal-clear waters of the American River. If we were not awake during our walk - we woke up in a hurry
    from that cold rushing water. Before long, I had a strike and felt a heavy struggling weight at the end of my 6-lb test
    line. In a flash, the fish headed downriver like a bat out of hell and the lovely paean of a well-oiled reel screaming
    in its own special way of telling the world "Fish on!"




  • Chinook
    With an estimated 8-knot strong river current, it felt like I had a huge fish at the end of my 6-lb. line. The
    shad made wild spirited dashes down and across the river with leaps out of the water at times trying to
    shake the irritating barb of the hook out from its mouth. Eventually after a 5-minute battle, I managed to
    slowly ease it into the shallows and onto the shore. It had been a delightful and exciting battle and I
    released it back into the river to fight another day. It was a beautiful shad that weighed around 4 pounds.




  • Chinook
    The shad were very active in the early hours of the morning while it was still relatively cool temperature-wise.
    I would guess that we were hooking about an average of 7 fish per hour using a 1/32-oz jig with a curly tail and
    weighted with 2 BB's crimped 2-feet above the jig on a light 6-lb. test line. The trick in shad fishing is to keep
    the arc-directional drift of the jig just barely off the river bottom. The wriggling curly-tail seem to excite and
    trigger the aggresive retaliatory strike from the shad holding in the fast current of the river.




  • Chinook
    Action was fast and furious and none of us took time out for a food break or rest. The shad were biting and we
    were doing our best in obliging the aggressive anadromous fish as fast as we could in casting out and letting the
    jig drift in a wide 90-degree sweep. We were rotating between spin and fly-rods to break the monotony of the
    strike pattern. Then all of a sudden, I felt this real heavy pull like I had snagged the weeds growing on the
    river bottom. Then it took off like a runaway freight train downriver and all I could do was to hang onto my
    rod for dear-life.




  • Chinook
    For a minute, I thought that I might have hooked onto a salmon or steelhead by chance but the manner
    and pattern of its short strong runs soon dispelled that notion. It was solidly hooked and I knew that the
    only way it could get off if it managed to break the line via some underwater structure. Slowly over
    the next 10-minutes or so, I carefully coaxed and pumped the fish until it was tired and brought it to the surface.
    That was when I realized I had hooked a Sacramento Squawfish. It is a native California fish that looks like
    a cross between a carp and a sucker fish. It can grow to 3.5-feet in length and weigh up to 20-lbs.




  • Chinook
    Slowly I eased that big fat squawfish into shallower waters and guided it onto dry land. Since I do not know anyone
    who has the palate for a squawfish nor did I hear anyone on shore screaming "I wanna eat that squawfish!"
    so I gently removed the hook from its mouth. Prior to releasing it back into the river, we weighed it and it was
    close to 11-lbs. An exciting battle which I enjoyed thoroughly from start to finish.




  • Chinook
    It had been a very productive morning wading in the cold waters of the American River but it was worth
    every minute of it! We plan to do it again this coming weekend at a different spot upriver for more
    explosive shad fishing....can never get enough of it! It's pretty contagious after you have hooked
    a big silvery shad in a fast-flowing river - you're about hooked for life.




  • seacucumber
    wow......very big American "tamban"!!
  • jambul
    brings back so much memories of the time I was in Canada, wading up river with the salmon run each autumn. Not only the fish but the scenery was just breathtaking. Sigh....now have to settle for Pasir Ris Pond.....
  • dtyr
    hi there, nice cr u've posted.. hope to c more from u.. cheers
  • Chinook
    dtyr" said:hi there, nice cr u've posted.. hope to c more from u.. cheers
    Hi dtyr,
    Thank you. Glad you'v enjoyed my CR. I stopped by The Fishernen's Warehouse (biggest tackle store in
    Sacramento, California) and asked the proprieter about the hot new lures that the fishing reports were raving
    about 80-100 shad hookups a day by fishermen using it. He showed me what they were and I purchased a
    few packs of the 1/32=oz painted jig-heads (25-pack for US$3.99), soft-grub bodies (50-pack for US$5.00)
    and split shot (30-pack or $0.99) to assemble the shad mini-grub lures myself.




  • Chinook
    I just could not wait until tomorrow morning to try the new shad mini-grub out so I stopped by the American
    River briefly and made a new casts. I always carry a rod and reel in my auto in the event of an emergency
    like this one...hehehe. Whammo! A size big shad hit it and I enjoyed a brief battle with it before releasing
    it. Well, tomorrow morning will find me performing extensive "field tests" on the Hickory Shad in the river
    using the new hot shad lures!



  • xiggie
    hmmm what kinda fish are these ?? looks like oversized tambans to me ... :lol: :lol: :lol:
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