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Offline JV

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Shad Fever!
« on: March 13, 2012, 01:37:10 PM »
Here's my first monthly spotlight article. As the North Sea boat fishing season is nearly upon us I hope this article is of interest to those who fancy a bit of boat fishing this year.  There's great boat fishing to be had from Whitby in the South to Berwick in the North.  Wrecking boats are based at Whitby, Hartlepool, Sunderland, Tyneside and Amble with boats that specialize in rough ground fishing from all of these ports plus Blyth, Craster and Berwick.

Shad fishing for North Sea Cod.

Only a few years ago nearly all cod caught from the North Sea wrecks and rough ground were caught on pirks or strings of lures that resembled squid or small fish.  Pirking and jigging are still popular today and these methods of course do catch loads of fish, however they also have major drawbacks due to the amount of terminal tackle lost and the effort required to jig heavy pirks all day long.

A more sporting method is to use shads, this type of lure fishing is much more tackle friendly, easier on the arms and basically more fun.

Beware shadding is very addictive and before you know it you'll have a huge selection and spend hours a day trawling the internet for new versions to try.

Cod on the shad caught over a  North Sea wreck.



So what are shads I hear you cry, well basically they are  soft plastic lures that are often lightly weighted in the head area with a hook that protrudes from the back.  There's loads of different types of shad to try but my favourites are the blue herring shads made by Storm in four or six inch lengths.

The Storm blue herring shad.



Cod absolutely love the life like action and appearance of shads!

Another excellent shad is the Tsunami pro four inch blue mackeral made by Jarvis Walker.  The smaller four inch shads made by both companies are great for fishing over rough ground and wrecks but if you really want to catch that personal best cod go for the six inch versions or even larger which tend to give a better stamp of fish, large shads as a general rule work best over distant wrecks where the larger cod often reside.

An 18lb'er caught on a shad from a wreck 18 miles off the port of Whitby in England.



Fishing with shads is simplicity itself, basically you drop the shad to the bottom over the wreck or rough ground that your fishing and wind in around twenty turns of the reel handle quite slowly until you feel a fish take the shad.  At this point you must resist the urge to strike and continue your retrieve as normal until it's obvious the fish is on.  If there's no interest in the shad after twenty turns of the handle, immediately  drop your shad to the bottom again and repeat the process slowly retrieving twenty turns again. Try to keep your line as near vertical as possible while fishing. Wind your line fully back in if it begins to stream away at an increasing angle from the boat.

Cod are nearly always taken either on the bottom or just off it. It really helps if your fishing in clear water to so the fish can easily see  the shad, it's a good idea when lure fishing for cod to give dirty or silted water a miss.

Terminal tackle: How to set up a shad 

The items you'll need are a weight, a three way swivel, a link to your lead, 50lb clear mono line and of course your choice of one shad, all items required are shown in the picture below.  The storm shad is the larger one and the Jarvis Walker, Tsunami pro, the smaller.

Basic stuff you need



Weights

You should really be using a quality braid over 50lb test as your choice of mainline to get the best out of this type of fishing. In deep water with a low diameter braid, 10  to 12 ounce bomb or cannon ball type leads are an excellent choice due to the fact that they glide through the water with ease and don't tumble on the drop to the sea bed . I like to dull my weights down because brand new shiny lead weights can be hit in error by fish. In shallower water you may find you can easily fish with weights as light as four ounce with lighter rods that give even more fun.

Three way swivel:

A strong three way swivel is required to connect your weight, shad and mainline.

Lead link:

A link is required to connect your weight to the three way swivel.  You could buy or make a weak link that will release your lead when snagged but personally I don't use a weak link and normally only lose a few shads and weights on each boat trip.

Shads:

Your choice really but the types I've shown here work well for me.  Blue is a cod catching colour for some reason with the bigger shads for wrecking and smaller shads for rough ground. I tie my shad to the three way swivel on a 3ft trace of 50lb clear mono.  This short length normally doesn't twist and knot and there's no need for a boom.  Cod aren't put off by the lead weight. 

Rods, reels, mainline, leader and knots.

Rods: I like to use a rod around 8ft that's designed for use with braid.  Fladen make excellent rods for this type of fishing along with manufacturers MTI and Shimano.  I prefer a rod that's around 8ft in length as this helps to give a bit more distance between mainline and boat.  I use a MTI 20/40 braid rod and it's brilliant for this type of fishing.

Reels: For deepwater shadding over wrecks, I prefer a reel with a fast retrieve as it just makes retrieving your gear much easier and quicker.  Many anglers like to use level winds but I don't like them as they can and will jam your thumb in the spool at a crucial moment.  Well made reels capable of holding over 300 yds of braid are a good choice.  Penn, Daiwa and Shimano make some excellent reels for this type of fishing.  I use a Shimano TN 16,  a reel that will last a lifetime.

Mainline: Braid is the key to success when shadding, it's low diameter and lack of stretch mean you can feel your way over a wreck and quickly release any snags that you feel by dropping your weight to the bottom, nine times out of ten it's the shad that snags first.

A fish on braided line is the ultimate experience and every flick of the tail and nod of the head is transmitted instantly and directly to the rod tip.  I use 65lb Power pro in red as this colour is the first to disappear at depth.  The high poundage also helps a great deal in breaking free from snags.

Great fun on light gear!



Leader: I always use a 50lb monofilament leader of around 25ft in length, this protects the braid and is a slightly weaker link that will break before my expensive braid when snagged.  The last thing you want when snagged is your expensive braid parting in the middle!

The leader also acts as a cushion when fish first take the shad or fight hard.  My leader is always a length of clear 50lb mono and again I just use Seastrike XT by Ultima tied to the braid with a 15 turn albright knot.

Knots: I only ever use two knots and they've never let me down when tied correctly.  The half blood knot and the albright knot are my pick of the bunch for their strength and simplicity. 

A simple half blood knot left with a bit of a tag after trimming is all you need in 50lb mono to tie your shad to the three way swivel at shad end and three way swivel end.  Also the mono leader can be tied with this knot to the top of the three way swivel.

Pic below. Leader/mainline to the top of the three way swivel and 3ft of 50lb mono in the left of the picture to the shad.



Albright knot: Learn the albright knot to connect the leader to the braid mainline, it's a very simple and extremely strong knot which will save you money in lost braid.  On charter boats many tangles often occur so another big plus having a mono leader connected to the terminal tackle is that it makes it far easier to untangle than braid.  A link to the albright knot....get to know it!


The Albright knot.



It's a good idea to take a second reel with you when boat fishing because mono leaders can be lost in snags.  Simply put a spare reel with leader already on and get fishing again as soon as a leader is lost.  Re-tie your lost leader in between moves or quiet spells. Many anglers use snap link swivels for shadding as they aid in quick release, my advice is don't as you will lose fish to them.  All you need to do when tangled with another angler is to snip the leader or trace and re-tie to the three way swivel.

North sea cod love shads!



I hope you enjoyed this article, the first in our spotlight series.  If you want to write one for spotlight just go ahead we'd love to read your tips and fishing stories.

Tightlines and good shadding!
"For we are the Vikings tamers of the deep" Check out my blog http://viking-valhalla.blogspot.co.uk/

Durham-Lad

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Re: Shad Fever!
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2012, 03:55:10 PM »
A very informative write up Dave. One thing that does stand out is the fact that you suggest using a running leader of approx 25ft or so of mono, on a few occasions last year I noticed some skippers tend to run straight from a rig clip on the end of the braid direct to the mono trace, the mono rig being anywhere from 3-5ft say. This in itself would certainly increase the "direct contact" feel and aid the pleasure of the fight. Obviously if snagged up then the rig will part company at the weakest link being the mono trace. I understand that with a longer leader you lower the risk of chaffing the braid, but at the expense of 25ft of braid being disposed of every now and then the increase in sport may be worth it. I will be trying the shorter mono versions myself this year and will let you know how I get on.

I have also thought about adding a stinger to the cannonball leads in case the bright and shiny appearance does create a take on the lead, the hook will not protrude below the leads so as not to increase the chance of snags.

Offline Nicky

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Re: Shad Fever!
« Reply #2 on: March 14, 2012, 08:35:22 AM »
Great write up Dave  :)

The way i see it you need the rubbing leader not just to stop the braid connecting with the wreck but also to take the shock of a fighting fish to stop it getting back in the wreck as with braid the hooks pull out very easy with the direct contact to the end tackle.If your fishing clean ground and you can play a fish without any bullying then braid direct to end tackle would be fine but fishing over wrecks and hard ground i wouldnt recommend it.
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Offline paul longstaff

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Re: Shad Fever!
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2012, 08:50:01 AM »
We find not using a shock leader reduces tackle losses, we use 1001b berkley whiplash pro and sixty to eighty pound rig bodies its a thing we have tried and tested. ;)
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Gary

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Re: Shad Fever!
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2012, 09:08:43 AM »
Great read dave thoroughly explained for the simpletons like me lol am sure this review of shad fishing will convert a few more from the old pirks and feathers ;)

Offline Nicky

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Re: Shad Fever!
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2012, 09:11:42 AM »
tackle losses should be at a very minium while shadding because the way your fishing if a big fish hits you without a rubbing leader more times than not you will miss the fish unless your using a long flowing trace of around 10-20ft  as your in to much direct contact with the end tackle.100lb braid is a little to much for the north east coast imo.
East End Sea Angling Club Secretary


Offline paul longstaff

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Re: Shad Fever!
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2012, 09:36:27 AM »
Like i say nicky we have tried and tested it,have a look at bryans rig in the first photo four foot trace on the shad no shockleader. Using a shockleader wreck fishing you will find you get stuck in the wreck more often resulting in lost tackle and lost fish. :'(
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Offline Nicky

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Re: Shad Fever!
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2012, 09:46:53 AM »
Im not saying it dont work mate look at Daves picture using a rubbing leader  ;) i have also tried not using a rubbing leader for pollack from the shore and i found you lost a lot more fish soon after hooking than you do with a rubbing leader so from what i have tried and learned thats what i would use each angler is different and finds what works for them best  ;D
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Offline JV

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Re: Shad Fever!
« Reply #8 on: March 14, 2012, 12:34:19 PM »
There are no hard and fast rules, if it works for you stick with it.  100lb braid does work, but as I've always said it's a bit thick for my liking. You and Bri catch plenty of fish on it so it certainly works.  Personally I like to go as light as possible, I've tried 30lb braid but lost too much tackle on the wrecks.  50lb I can just get away with, but 65lb really works for me, just the right balance between strength and low diameter (again just my opinion).

The main reason that I use a mono leader is tangles, if I get tangled with another angler it's easier to untangle from their gear than braid is, it also serves as a cushion because fish can pull off the hook easier when using braid straight through.  The mono leader also acts as a slight weak link between braid and terminal tackle, when snagged in a wreck the 50lb mono will break before my 65lb braid parts in the middle.

As said if it works for you stick with it, my article is all about how I fish with shads, if it helps you to improve your fishing in anyway then I'll be happy. :)
"For we are the Vikings tamers of the deep" Check out my blog http://viking-valhalla.blogspot.co.uk/

ballarat

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Re: Shad Fever!
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2012, 07:50:02 PM »
100lb braid :'( :'( :'( :'( i hope i never have to snap that out :) :) :) :)

Norman

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Re: Shad Fever!
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2012, 07:41:44 PM »
Excellent thread dave and the initial post is most informative.

we are, and have been now for the last couple of seasons totally turned on to shads.
I find it most odd putting bait on a hook :) , and as you say it's so adictive I must have well over 200 shads on board as I cant stop buyiing them (2012 target ... NOT to buy any more lures for the season, I almost weakend last night but remain good)

did notice last season a lot less lead being used and only had a couple of melt days to keep up, may have enough for us for the full season if we stick with the shads, all due to the type of fishing being over rather than IN the wreck .....

Great site mate, well done.

norm

ballarat

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Re: Shad Fever!
« Reply #11 on: March 24, 2012, 08:46:42 AM »
excellent post :) the knot vids are a great way of learning :)

Daz

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Re: Shad Fever!
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2012, 06:11:20 PM »
Gearing up.


Offline JV

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Re: Shad Fever!
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2012, 06:29:23 PM »
Some good un's there Daz, but we do still need to get you booked on trips.  ;D  Get in touch with Paul Longstaff or Bri who's Spoofa on this site and try to find any available dates with space when I'm out to.  :)
"For we are the Vikings tamers of the deep" Check out my blog http://viking-valhalla.blogspot.co.uk/

ballarat

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Re: Shad Fever!
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2012, 07:37:54 PM »
 :)so that's where all the orange shads are :) :) :) :) :) few quids worth there mate,you just need to get out and lose them now :(

 

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