What’s in my Backpack?

What's in my Backpack?

As the shad fishing ramps up in the early part of the season, it’s time to start planning and preparing for some trips to different areas of the river. For me, that not only means getting the kayak and canoe rigged and ready, but ensuring I have what I need in my backpack to do some hiking when its time to head down the path less traveled to find fish.

Luc Desjarlais’ book Wade Fly Fishing The Upper St. Johns River Basin (Florida) for American Shad provides a wealth of information on places to hike to fish for shad on foot. Some of these hikes can put you many miles from civilization, so being prepared is key. For example, my hike to the Indian Mounds last year covered around 12 miles where I barely saw a boat or another person. Even if you are not planning a long trip, it is important to make sure you are prepared. Cellphone coverage can be spotty in areas, and even if you have coverage, help could be hours away.

In the video below, I invite you to take a look at what I normally carry in my backpack. There are likely things I could add, and perhaps things I could remove, but this is what I choose for me. I hope that you will also give some thought as to whether you have what you need in your pack, not only to ensure a great day on the water, but to provide first response that could save your life in an emergency.  The video focuses primarily on the preparedness items that live in my backpack, rather than the items I would add to go fishing. In addition to the items highlighted in the video, I would of course add what I need for the day such as rod(s,) reel(s,) flies, vest or sling pack, lunch, water, etc.

If hiking is not your thing and you plan on using your boat, kayak, or canoe to pursue shad, give some thought as to whether you have everything you need in your float bag. I have a very similar list of items that live in my float bag that I bring every time I head out in the kayak or canoe. Regardless of how you are going to get to the shad, the key is to BE PREPARED!


Here is a list of the items in my pack along with weight.

# Item Weight (ounces) Pounds
1 headlamp 1
2 germx 2.2
3 Sun & Bug 0.9
4 Swiss Army Knife 3.5
5 TP 0.4
6 Duct Tape 0.7
7 Signal mirror 0.7
8 Poncho 1.6
9 Compass 0.8
10 Whistle 0.4
11 Paracord 3.2
12 Tinder Kit 2.5
13 Bivvy 3.9
14 Lightmyfire 1
15 Pillcase 0.4
16 First Aid/ Trauma 15.6
17 Water Kit 4.9
18 Green Dry Bag (for clothes) 1.2
19 Blue Chamois 0.7
TOTAL 45.6 2.85

Meet the Man Who Wants to Make Eating Shad a Fad Again

Warner Lew claims he has witnessed two people moan with rapture while eating smoked shad. Not just two people—two teenagers. They happened to have stopped by Lew’s kitchen right as he was taking a batch of canned shad out of the pressure cooker, and they were willing to give it a try. READ MORE…


Art of Eating The Lost Fishery – Art of Eating

Shad in California By Hank Shaw

Excerpt: Shad are everywhere in the rivers of the Pacific Coast and nowhere on the menu. Along the Sacramento River, which flows into the Sand Francisco Bay, it’s not uncommon to have a 50-fish day… READ MORE.

Source: Art of Eating The Lost Fishery – Art of Eating

Shad on the Fly Facebook Group

Shad on the Fly Facebook Group

I am excited to announce the creation of the new Shad on the Fly Facebook Group! Several people reached out during the 2015/2016 Shad run and recommended adding a discussion forum to this site where we could trade fishing reports, discuss tactics, share fly patterns, and post pictures and videos. After giving it some thought and doing some research, I decided to take advantage of the group functionality within Facebook rather than attempting to setup and then moderate a separate forum. The Shad on the Fly Facebook Group will receive updates when new posts are added here, so if you are not subscribed to Shad on the Fly via an RSS reader and would like to receive notifications for updates, you can do so by joining the group.

If you enjoy fly fishing for shad as much as I do, please become a member of the Shad on the Fly Facebook Group and join other shad fanatics in discussion, trade stories and advice as well as pictures and videos during future shad runs!