Shad Comet

The Shad Comet is a fly I learned to tie after studying an image I found on a Google Image search several years ago when researching shad flies. I could never find instructions but was able to piece together the pattern based on what I saw in the image. This fly became one of my standard alternates and has been a fixture in my fly box since I first started targeting shad on the St. Johns River. When I first started tying this shad fly, I liked the way the fly looked, but found the process of tying hackle style flies tedious. I found hair wing flies like the Kip Tailed Clouser, Shad Dart, and Crazy Charlie much easier to tie and I gravitated towards them when tying up dozens of flies for the season. Because of this, hair wing type patterns became my defacto choice when targeting shad by no fault of the hackle flies themselves, but rather laziness and a self imposed restriction to use flies that I could tie and replace quickly.  Now that I have become a better fisherman and lose less flies, I don’t necessarily need to tie two or three dozen flies for me and friends each year. I have also become a more patient fly tier and I find the process of tying soft hackle flies much more enjoyable, so these types of shad flies intrigue me much more than they once did. Only time will tell whether soft hackle flies will take lead over the hair wings but, more and more of them find their way in to my fly boxes each year.

At minimum, the Shad Comet is a great alternate pattern and one that I have relied on many times when the fishing got slow. The subtle use of flash and the innate action of the hackle lends itself well to fishing for finicky or spooky fish. Bright days and shallow water are where I fished them frequently. I have found that this fly does not require much from me to come to life and I typically fish it using a dead drift, and then retrieve it using a slow, smooth figure of eight retrieve. Most strikes come at the end of the dead drift, before starting the retrieve. An interesting note about the Shad Comet fly is, I have caught more gar on this style fly than any other as a bycatch when fishing for shad. I am not sure what gar think they are, but they seem to love them. Catching a good size gar on a 5wt is good fun, trust me!

Note: My favorite color combinations are orange hackle/ white tail, orange hackle/ orange tail, pink hackle/ white tail, and pink hackle/ pink tail. While I generally do not carry a lot of chartreuse flies, this is one fly that chartreuse seems to perform as well (or maybe even better on some days) as the other colors, so chartreuse hackle/ white tail, and chartreuse hackle/ chartreuse tail are also recommended.

Shad Comet

Shad Comet:

Hook: Size 6
Thread: Orange 6/0 Uni-Thread
Tail: White Kip Tail
Body: Orange Flashabou
Collar: Orange Ice Dubbing
Hackle: Orange Soft Hackle
Eyes: Bead chain 

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