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Spinning with shads

One of the real fun ways of fishing here is using a spinning rod set up with lead headed shads.

Indeed, if I am asked what fishing do I enjoy most I would most likely name this method. The main target species is Pollock but we have picked up many different fish including Ling, Cod, John Dory and even Megrim!

So how do we do it? Well first the equipment. You need a good sea spinning rod that has a nice flex but also enough strength to cast up to 150grm. Most of these are in the 8 to 9 feet bracket and sold as “sea spinning” rods. These needs to be pared with a good quality fixed spool reel. As you know there is a vast range of these out there but the main thing is that the centre pin is up to the job as I have seen the poorer quality ones bend under the first couple of fish. The boat rods we use for this are Shakespeare Agility with Penn Slammer reels. The reels are loaded with 40lb braid.

For the business end there are a vast range of shads available on the market. A lot of them are quite good but as we are fishing in up to 70mtrs of water I find the limiting factor is the weight. You need at least 100grms and I use 120grams. Indeed, I make up my own “leadheads” and then pick up the plastic bits as and where I can. We always have a good supply of these on board.

There are a few little tricks to rigging these but you will need to do a trip to pick them up (; but mainly it’s a case of tying them on and getting out there!

As we fish on the drift and as I’ve already said, in quite deep water, we would cast the shad down the drift far enough so that the boat is directly over the shad as it hits the bottom. So, the faster the drift the further the cast! To get a bit of action into the plastic you need a reasonably fast retrieve. Indeed, I often surprise people by telling them to speed up their retrieve to improve their catch rate! You also need to make sure your drag is set right.

Now all you need is a fish to take interest! While you can get a “hit” on the first turn or 2 from the bottom it is often mid water that the action happens. First you will often feel the fish bump or suck at the shad. Here fisherman often make the mistake of slowing their retrieve while in fact you need to speed up. Think on it, if you where a small fish with somebody on your tail looking for dinner, what would you do? (: Hopefully your shad now gets hammered by a hungry fish that turns and heads for the bottom. This results in your reel screaming and an increased heart rate and some fun fishing……GREAT fun fishing!!