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Shad Fishing in Florida- November Anticipation


You see, it just happens… it’s a warm November, and there is absolutely, positively, no way we are going to catch shad on the fly with daytime water temperatures just finally starting to dip below the eighty degree mark (today.) Do you know what? I don’t care! I rigged two rods with my favorite shad flies, threw the kayak on the Jeep, and loaded my gear at 9:00pm on Friday night so that I could meet a fellow addict on the water tomorrow morning at sunrise. They may not be there… NO, they should not be there, but we are going to do it anyway!

Every year it seems I talk to someone that catches shad early in the season… I mean REAL early. By the time the hordes arrive, they have basically had their fill and are just about done with their season. I have talked to old timers that have said that hickory shad can start arriving in mid November, as they are much more tolerant of the warmer water. So, you can sit around and await the messages of shad arriving via the coconut telegraph, or you can get out there, go fly fishing, and see if you can find one early.

Update: We did not find any shad, but found that the bluegill and bass had keyed in on grass shrimp coming off the vegetation as the water receded within its banks! Luckily I always carry a couple of grass shrimp patterns in my shad fly box. That said, the first buzz on the coconut telegraph has begun as fish have started to arrive downstream on the St. Johns River of where we fished, so it will not be long.

St Johns River Grass Shrimp Fly Pattern

I know this is not really a shad fly… although, I bet shad would take it now that I think about it, but anyway, this is my St. Johns River Grass Shrimp fly pattern that I developed several years ago to target bass and panfish when the river begins to recede within its banks. I have found that when the fish are keyed in to grass shrimp, this is a very effective fly pattern. This fly has kept the skunk off of me on more than one occasion. 🙂

St. Johns River Grass Shrimp

Hook: Size 6
Tail: Black Kip Tail
Antennae: Two Green and Black rubber legs
Body: Rootbeer Sparkle Chenille
Eyes: Beadchain

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