Shad Season 2023-24 - Gear
Shad Fishing Gear
Unless you plan to do all your fishing from a boat, you’ll want to be prepared to get out on the shore or in shallow water. If it’s a warm day, a pair of wading boots or old shoes is all you need. In cooler weather, a pair of rubber boots or waders will help you stay comfortable. We carry several styles each of wading boots and waders. The product we are most excited about for local shad fishing is the Redington Escape Wader Pant. These are exactly what they sound like. A pair of waist height waders that are less bulky and less expensive than traditional chest waders.
Equipment for shad fishing is relatively simple. A 9’ 5wt fly rod with a matching reel is ideal but a setup from 4wt through 6wt will work fine. Match it with a cold water weight forward line, an 8lb or 10lb leader, and a few flies.
If you don’t already have a rod and reel that will work, we have plenty to choose from. The easiest solution will be to pick up an outfit. A 5wt Redington Field Kit, along with a pack of bass leaders, is a great option. Our Shop Choice 5wt, put together at Orlando Outfitters, is an excellent upgrade.
If you'd prefer a more customized rod, reel and line, we have plenty of choices.
Fly Rods for Shad
A 5wt is ideal for shad but if you want something a little bigger a 6wt will work fine too. Here are a few suggestions. If you're in the area, we suggest you come in and cast several rods before making a selection.
Fly Reels for Shad
A shad reel doesn’t need to be fancy, though we won’t hold it against you if you pick up something higher-end. Here are a few options that will work well.
Fly Lines for Shad
A floating line is all you need when the water is low but, with the current high water, a sink tip line will help get your fly down to where the fish are. If you have multiple rods and reels, why not rig one outfit with a sinking line and another with a standard floater?
Leaders for Shad
Rio Bass Tapered Leader, 8#, 10# or 12# tippet. The 10# is a good compromise.
Flies for Shad
We carry a variety of flies for shad, including small baitfish patterns, traditional shad darts, and some saltwater flats patterns. We consider most of these flies seasonal patterns and sell them in the store but haven’t put them on our website.
Flies for shad vary from extremely basic to pretty complex. Here are a few we stock.
Shad Fly - This basic pattern has lead eyes to get it down in the water column and bright colors to attract bites.
Crazy Charlie - This standard bonefish fly works equally well for hungry shad.
Tak's Mini Minnow - An excellent choice when gambusia (mosquitofish) are thick in the river.
If you tie your own flies, here are some patterns to get started with. We have how-to videos on our website for the Gambooozler and the Foiled Again Minnow, and Shadonthefly.com maintains a large library of shad patterns.