Alex, I have been fishing the river since 1964, sometime we cut shog very far north of Smithfield and very very early, but now we just wait till the end of April and concentrate on flyfishing Smithfield, I hope you have a good luck whenever you go out
Chiggy | Frackville | Monday March 20th 4:58 pm
Capt. Alex Craig | Hatteras, NC & Green Lane, PA | Monday March 20th 12:03 pm
Chiggy, as I caught my first fish in the lower Delaware on 2/25, I guarantee you the fish are already at Smithfield Beach & points north. Now finding a school & getting one to bite is a different story. Also, a buddy of mine caught 'em pretty good last year just north of Smithfield on 3/18/16. What the heck. Since I'm putting up this reply I'll include another pic from yesterday's skunking.
Chiggy | Frackville | Monday March 20th 8:08 am
I'm glad to see you guys are still trying, but remember this, its a smart man knows when he had his butt kicked. Tomorrow is another day and hopefully it will get better from here on out. See you guys when the fish reach smithfield.
RUSTY BALLS | ALLENTOWN | Monday March 20th 7:33 am
RUSTY BALLS TACKLE HAS SHAD SPOONS , SHAD DARTS & RIVER ANCHORS FOR SALE...CALL FOR PRICING...RUSTY ...484-239-4723
Capt. Alex Craig | Hatteras, NC & Green Lane, PA | Sunday March 19th 5:27 pm
Well boys, my early season streak ended with inglorious certitude today. Got in the water at 1010 hours in 35.4 degree water. Two hours later and zip to show for it, I took another temp & it was 37.4. Half an hour before I left it was 39.5 Still zip! I'm as confident as I can be without being God, that the fish were simply not there in numbers while I was fishing. I've got that hole dialed in and kept the dart poppin' through the money water 50% of the time I was fishing. If they were there in any numbers, I'd have scale 2 or 3. I was 4 days for 7 on catching. Sadly, I am now down to 50%. Bottom line, at 1450 hours after 4 hours & 40 minutes on the river I trudged back up the bank with my tail between my legs like the whipped old dog that I was! One thing I do know for sure from the schools that I hit on those 4 trips. Given the inclement weather, there will be a lot of fish that hit Port Jervis this year without ever swimming through water with a hook in it. No fish pics today. You'll have to settle for one of my gear with snow to the west of it. <sigh>
Duff | Down Yonder River | Sunday March 19th 10:22 am
Rich - I really like that ! Bookmarked.
Rich | | Saturday March 18th 2:36 pm
This shoes the total amount of frozen water on the ground in real time.; http://www.weather.gov/images/marfc/snow/swe_north.png
Capt. Alex Craig | Hatteras, NC & Green Lane, PA | Monday March 13th 10:51 pm
Weofish, you are quite welcome. There is a huge pool north of the Gap where the water flow is probably similar in speed to what you have at Trenton where I've gotten this technique to work. It is popular with guys who like to wave the long wand over 'em. It is well known and has gotten too crowed for my taste so I have not fished there for a few years. I was fly fishing up there with a buddy who only uses darts. And he wasn't able to get a bite while we were catchin' em pretty good with fly rods. I put my 5 weight down and re-rigged my spinning rod with a tandem dart rig that I thought would get down deep enough to do the job to try and figure out a way to get my buddy into some action as well. Basically, I used the technique I previously described but with shorter pauses between pops because of the slower water flow. Kinda like a modified bluefish plugging retrieve. Anyway, it worked and after he got the hang of it, he started catchin' as well. If you can figure out a way to get a dart deep enough with a 1" chartreuse metal flake mister twister tail on it and put it right where it will fall in front of a shad's nose as it is swimming upstream you'll get bit down there, I'll bet. With your side scan you should be able to note the depth at which they are running. Then it is just a matter of putting a heavy enough dart on a dropper loop to get a smaller dart on the end of your line to fall at the right depth. The smaller the better. I've been using two 3/16 oz darts because of the amount of current flow in the seam I'm fishing. I prefer to go no higher than 1/8 oz. on the bottom dart as smaller baits will almost always produce better on shad than larger ones. The wet flies I use have bodies that are only about 1/2 inch long. Green head/chartreuse darts seem to work best for me early in the season, but I expect you could do OK with just about any color combo dart as long as you are using a chartreuse metal flake tail. That said, the tail has to be rigged perfectly straight. I.E., if you drop it in slack water at your side, it must flutter as it falls, if it doesn't, your odds of catchin' are slim to none! One other thought comes to mind, if you need to tie on a large dart (say 1/4 oz) on top make sure the bottom dart is over 24 inches, maybe like 30 inches away from the top dart. For whatever reason, the fish seem to get spooked by the larger dart if it is tied too close to the lower smaller dart. FWIW ....
weofish | Jamison Pa | Monday March 13th 9:33 pm
Alex, I think I understand what you are saying. It kinda reminds me of trout fishing with a spinner, I hated when them fish would get finicky on me. Drove me crazy, like teasing a cat with a string, they come up swiping back and forth, back and forth, looking, and looking, nip at the feathers. Like you had to have that, just right presentation, before they would hit. However in the section of Trenton I was fishing that type of water is a little hard pressed to find, with the tidal water. But I will keep that technique of yours in mind when fishing further north. Thanks for the tip…..
Duff | | Monday March 13th 8:55 am
15"->18" up in the head waters. My prayers have been answered. I know you guys up north don't like this. But a slow melt off will likely guarantee a consistent level for the run. That is if we don't get any heavy spring downpours soon after.
Capt. Alex Craig | Hatteras, NC & Green Lane, PA | Monday March 13th 8:22 am
Weofish, FWIW I could not get a bite twitching on the drift which is normally how we pick up many of our fish in the spot I was fishing. I positioned myself so I was fishing straight down a well defined seam where the fish were moving to into the fast water out of the seam to traverse the rapids maybe 20 yard from where I was standing. I used a technique I discovered years ago which in many cases will get 'em to bite. At the end of the drift I was bringing the darts straight back to me just inside the seam in what I call the swirly water for lack of a better description. Basically a very slow retrieve starting with the rod parallel to the water in front of me then one turn of the handle, then a sharp pop of the rod bringing it 90 degrees to my left side keeping it parallel to the river then immediately moving the rod back to the starting position so the darts could sink & swim in the current. When the wind wasn't blowing I tried popping 90 degrees up so the rod wound up pointing toward the sky; however, that wouldn't work yesterday, probably because it was bringing the darts too high in the water column. Popping the rod straight up requires less effort, and later in the year it will work as the fish appear to be willing to move farther out of their path heading upstream to bite. Of course, if the wind is huffing you need to pop to the side regardless to keep the wind from catching your line and raising your darts higher in the water column. I've had this work in pools, as well, when the fish have been finicky. That's not to say it works every time and/or in every circumstance. One thing I am certain of, your margin of error with these early fish is very narrow and you have to have the darts working pretty much dead in front of their noses. There has been many days when I could get a bite and guys on either side me of couldn't buy one. There was a time when I was one of those guys! ;-) And when I'm fishing with my buddy Dennis, from time to time I am still one of them. Well, I can get bit, but not as consistently as Dennis. He is just flat deadly! Since I'm putting up this post, I'll add a pic of one of yesterday's suckers (probably pushed 4#). I know everyone is just dying to see it!
weofish | Jamison Pa | Sunday March 12th 9:45 pm
Alex you're killing me here, a buddy of mine and I left the Trenton ramp at 11:30 am and fished the slots, moving from place to place trying to find a hook-up to no avail. We were marking fish on the way up river, however after moving around multiple times my electronic device would not give us anymore pics of fish the rest of the day. And yes you are right to say how cold it was, but all and all it was still nice to be out, even if we didn’t get to see any silver slabs to the boat. We finished our day at 5pm.
Capt. Alex Craig | Hatteras, NC & Green Lane, PA | Sunday March 12th 3:55 pm
Gentlemen! Quite a learning experience today! Not so much re: fish catchin' as I did what expected to do which was catch 'em up. More so re: fishing in this kinda weather. Have never fish in air temps this cold before. Thought I'd be smart and suit up at home. Put on two pair of sweat pants and 3 layers of shirts, flannel, quilted flannel & heavily quilted flannel. Drove down to the river in my waders, so, in theory, all I needed to do was don my wading boots and off I'd go. Jumped up in my dressing room (truck bed) and immediately saw that my wading boots which had been left wet out in the cold since Friday afternoon were frozen solid. It was akin to trying to put your foot in a cast iron mold! Had to put them on the floor mat with the heater on max for 10 minutes to get them somewhat flexible. Got into 37.3 degree water about 1010 hours. 3rd cast, bang had one on/off, 3 strong rod twitches on the same cast and I was hooked up. Now this was one of the fish which decided it didn't want to keep swimming against the current. It immediately screamed off about 80 yards of line in 8-10 seconds headed south bound! I know it was that much because 'Stella' (my pet name for my reel) holds about 240 yards of the 6# class Ande tournament which I use and a 3rd of it disappeared at a somewhat alarming rate. I was primarily concerned because the reel was still cold and I'd set the drag in warmer weather. Anyway, the fish finally turns west into slower moving water and I start working it back north. I'd gained maybe 15 yard back and 'Stella' starts making a gosh awful noise (and she's a pretty high quality gal less than a year old). What the heck!? Took me about 5 seconds to realize it was the ice on the line going over the bail roller that was creating the racket. Hmmmm .... so maybe another 10 minutes later I put a 3# roe on the bank, take a couple of pics and send her back to make babies. I learned another annoying lesson. You really need to remember to clear your guides of ice before you cast; and the top guide was icing up on every cast. About 30 minutes in I forgot to clear it and since I needed to make very long casts both Friday and today to get to where the fish were crossing from the swirly water into the fast water in these low water condition, I was having to put a lot of muscle into casting. You know what happened next. The darts headed out and the line stayed glued to tip top & I needed to re-rig. I quickly learned that re-rigging a pair of tandem darts is just a thrill a minute in 25 degree weather! About an hour later after another fish cut itself off on a rock and took my bottom dart north with it and I had to re-rig again. The wind had picked up and I was already shivering. By the time I tied a dropper & uni on the bottom threaded two tails on & superglued 'em, I was ready to cut the tag end off of the uni knot. My hands were shaking so violently, it must have taken me over a minute to get the line between the cutting edges of the tool! I also, discovered the joy of having to cinch knots in your mouth because saliva was freezing instantly, otherwise. For the 1st 40 minutes I couldn't make 5 cast without a hook-up, missed hit, on/off or a scale! Fishing was just as hot as it had been Friday, perhaps more so! Bottom line, I went 2 for 5 & 2 suckers with numerous scaled fish & missed hits. Headed for the barn at 1250 hours (2.5 hours fishing). I really wanted to fish for a couple of more hours, but the cloud cover had moved in and the wind had picked up at noon as predicted. I knew I was asking for trouble if I stayed. After all, at age 69, I'm no spring chicken. ;-) I.E., I really didn't need to fall in the water due to fatigue. Oh yeah, one other amusing item springs to mind, if you have a wading stick tethered to you and you walk on shore and stop for one reason or another and let the wading stick sit against your waders, it will freeze tight to your waders. :-) Catchin' in 37.3 degree water is a personal best for me. If they're there, they're there. If they're not, they're not! You just gotta get the darts in front of their noses. And I know where they live in that hole! Note: the pic fish, a nice 3.5 # buck is being "freeze dried". Credit to my old fishin' friend Rich Fasanello for that pun! Guess this guy cooling his heels on ice is enough and I really don't need to put up two more posts with pics of a 3# roe and a sucker. ;-)
Alex Craig | Hatteras, NC & Green Lane, PA | Saturday March 11th 3:16 pm
Weofish, You are quite welcome. I was fishing north of Trenton, so there's a decent probability that if you know how to put your darts or spoon right in front of their noses in the slot in which they are running that you will score. Good for you for being willing to brave the chill! Go for it!
weofish | Jamison Pa | Saturday March 11th 11:13 am
Thanks for the report Alex, that make me feel a little less anxious about going out into the elements tomorrow. I'll be fishing from Trenton area again.
Capt. Alex Craig | Hatteras, NC & Green Lane, PA | Friday March 10th 7:15 pm
Well boys, they were there this afternoon. I wasn't going to fish today. Worked at my desk 'til noon, ate lunch and looked out the window at about 1315 hours. The sun was peeking through the clouds and I said to myself, "screw that desk, I'm goin' fishin'! Got in the water about 14:45 hours and had an on & off on the first cast, put a 3# roe on the bank on the 3rd cast and the action continued from there. There was only one time where I made more than 10 casts without a missed hit or scale, or hook-up. At one point I got to 20 casts, but my 20th cast was rewarded with an honest 4# roe. Wound up 5 for 8 in 2 hours. 2 buck/3 roe. It was snowing on & off while I was fishing, and a nasty squall ran me off the river. I simply could not see where I was casting on the last 3 casts. At one point I had 2 scales on the top dart hook. Don't know that I've ever had that happen before. Anyway, these cold water (43.4 deg temp) fish fought well, as they should and I spent as much time fighting fish as casting. I.E., I use 6# class tournament thread and it takes a while to land 'em. Bottom line, they're head up river towards y'all. Probably be a week before I fish again with this stinkin' cold weather movin' in! All fish released healthy. Pic is the 4# roe. Hmmm .... no suckers today.
Riverwolf | Coopersburg | Thursday March 9th 5:42 pm
I will start the Hotline on March 17.....Call with reports 610 984 5944......Thanks
Capt. Alex Craig | Hatteras, NC & Green Lane, PA | Wednesday March 8th 9:28 pm
Waded well below Easton from 0945 hours to 1530 hours. Water temp was 41.4 when I started. Air temp - who cares! I was catchin' fish! Went 4 for 8 slinging darts. Used a tadem rig (I.E., dropper loop for top dart and UNI knot for bottom dart about 24" apart. Both were 3/16 oz. In retrospect, shoulda gone to 1/8 oz on the bottom as I was knockin' the heck out of the paint on the bottom dart. Also, snagged 6 suckers which also indicates I was gettin' down where I needed to be. Wind wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, but I did need to side stick it most of the time to keep the line low to the water. Went with classic early season green head/chartreuse body/chartreuse metal flake 1" tail. 2 buck (1 2 lb & 1 3.5 #). 2 small roe, both around 3#. The bigger buck made the day as it did what they are supposed to do in highly oxygenated cold water. It simply went nuts. Nice runs and I stopped counting after 12 jumps. Also, had 1 opalescent scale. Definitely from a shad. Can't say I killed 'em, but not too shabby for early season wading. One of the 3# roe in the pic.
Ironshad | | Wednesday March 8th 6:23 pm
Fished Lehigh confluence again today marked a very few fish water was 44 degrees nothing to the boat.
RUSTY BALLS | | Wednesday March 8th 2:03 pm
YOU CAN NOW POST PICS FROM YOUR FISHING ADVENTURES ON THIS WEBSITE ALONG WITH YOUR POST
Ironshaf | | Wednesday March 8th 6:29 am
Fished confluence of Leighigh and deleware for a couple of hours last night. Water temp 39 marked a few fish no bites . Gonna try again tonight
C shad now | Rieglesville | Tuesday March 7th 7:23 pm
Went out for the dinner hour and found fish stacked at 20 to 11 feet in deep water. Water temp was 36 F and got one bump. Water flow was up so I found myself having fun doing more distance than fishing through water that I wasn't able to get in last year...no jet, but the skeg guard has my confidence up. Finally got to toss big musky lures at log jams I'd been eyeing up since last year too. Good evening to ditch the wheels for a prop!!
Rusty Balls | | Monday March 6th 9:52 pm
just announced this evening, if ur entered in the bi state shad contest or would like to enter, there is another prize added to the jackpot, Mayberry Marine out of port murray nj has donated a new 16 ft G3 boat with a jet motor and trailer...anyone that registers for the contest has a chance at winning this boat...value of 12,ooo dollars...nice going Bob...call Eric at 610-762-0440 to enter or go online at shad fishing contest.com
C shad now | Rieglesville | Monday March 6th 7:39 pm
Tomorrow...the procrastinator's dream. If I can get work squared away, if the weather parts and if I get the new downrigger on, then it will be go time. If there's no snow, it may as well be fishing season.
Rusty Balls | | Monday March 6th 3:11 pm
Shad tournament meeting tonight at riverside at 630...come on out & have fun & get the latest info
fjp110 | 19464 | Monday March 6th 1:48 pm
I'm a first time Delaware river shad fisherman, spent many years fishing in Maryland. I drove to Rieglesville yesterday to check it out for the first time. Drove down old river Rd on the Nj side and then upstream on the Pa side past Mueller's. No one was fishing anywhere that I saw. Really looking forward to trying this river for the first time this year.
Capt. Alex Craig | Hatteras, NC & Green Lane, PA | Monday March 6th 7:24 am
Can't catch a fish without a worm in the water! Thus, despite less than ideal conditions, I fished well south of Easton from 1545 hours 'til maybe 30 minutes before sunset. I.E., once the sun dropped below the hill behind where I was fishing I was on the verge of shivering and headed for the barn. Air temp 38.7. Water temp 39.6. Scaled one fish. Scale was big enough to be from a shad, but could have been from a decent size carp. Since the wind was only blowin' 0 - maybe 5 knots max and the sun was on my back it wasn't too bad until the sun dropped low enough to block it. The only excitement was a large adult beaver that spooked itself (and me) when it unwitting surfaced maybe 20 feet to the right of me before it realized I was there, at which point it whorled and gave a slap of its tale sending a 6-8 foot geyser of water into the air and put a hole in the water that would have done a 40# yellowfin proud that had come 3+ feet out of the water and landed on its belly! Will probably try again Tuesday in the afternoon if the rain dies off by noon. Note: The pic is of one of may sticks at the edge of the water with icicles hanging from it. ;-)
weofish | Jamison Pa | Sunday March 5th 9:41 pm
Well I Fished Trenton area today from 12pm till 4:30pm. I was the only one fishing, no other boats or shore fishermen. The water temp was 39 degrees, I have a Humminbird Helix 10 with Mega down and side image sonar and I did not mark any shad runs. So we wait till the water warms up. It was nice being out again. For the record, yes I do have a fire extinguisher on board, and no it was not cold enough to use the heater.
C shad now | Rieglesville | Sunday March 5th 8:02 am
I mostly launch out of Rieglesville nj cause it's 10 mins from me. I also like upper black eddy and in the kayak i frequent raubsville, frys run and easton. The big boats at easton push my little kayak out pretty good, so now with the skeg gaurd on the merc I'm looking to do more in easton this year.
keith wolfthe | coopersburg | Saturday March 4th 8:14 pm
C shad......where do you launch.....
C shad now | Rieglesville | Friday March 3rd 7:41 pm
I'm looking like Tuesday afternoon is the only time in my near future to get out. If you see a boat with a big side sticker that says "pike attacker" give a wave and come fish. I'm only on the shad for two seasons and still learning. Really appreciate all the details on this log. Mostly I fish Nock but the last two years been loving the water on the river. Went from shore yesterday night, but obviously only caught sticks, leaves and brown water....didn't loose any tackle, so not bad given the weather.
Iron shad | Johnstown pa | Friday March 3rd 6:43 pm
Will be fishing Easton this week in the evenings hopefully there will be a few fish around...
Darren | Northampton | Wednesday March 1st 11:29 pm
Yes. From boat. All bucks. Water was 48 mid afternoon.... all on divers. None on the down riggers.
Capt. Alex Craig | Hatteras, NC & Green Lane, PA | Wednesday March 1st 10:54 pm
Pretty work Darren! I presume you were fishin' from a boat? Bucks? Roes? Water temp. FYI, I was born/raised in Northampton on Washington Ave. Graduated in 1965. ;-)
Darren | Northampton | Wednesday March 1st 9:03 am
Fished where the lehigh empties in to Delaware yesterday with a buddy. Fished for 4 hours landed 7 lost 1.... most bites coming in afternoon on spoons.
C shad now | Rieglesville | Tuesday February 28th 6:17 pm
I gotta say, the early season board this year is good. I'm liking the thread! Of course, more fishing is always good fishing in my opinion. I think I may find a moment to wet the line tomorrow if it's not too horrible out.
Capt. Alex Craig | Hatteras, NC & Green Lane, PA | Tuesday February 28th 8:11 am
Well Bill, as I jokingly remarked on Woofish, the upside is that some of the better known spots will be less crowded. Also, on a more serious note, it would also be a boon to the season as the water will stay cooler longer which in my opinion has two additional upsides: 1) Shad are cold water fish and they fight best between 40 & 50 degrees. Once we get over 50 degrees the amount of fight in them diminishes dramatically as the oxygen content in the water is degraded. Frankly, once the water gets over 55, they lose a lot of their spunk & have trouble recovering for the spawn after release. Personally, I'll go find another species to play with and let them alone so that more of them reproduce. 2) Also, it could mean the season is prolonged as the water temps may stay lower longer. They won't spawn until the water temps are somewhere above 60 degrees. In short, for guys who are willing to spend more time fishing in chilly weather, what's not to like? :-)
Bill | Philipsburg | Monday February 27th 7:31 pm
What's this is hear about an extended winter due to shift in polar vortex....
Kevin Ingram | Yardley Pa | Sunday February 26th 10:01 pm
Rprs of a few shad landed this week in the Trenton area and Lambertville..,.yes shad ARE. Here in the Big D...get your gear ready!"
Alex Craig | Hatteras, NC & Green Lane, PA | Saturday February 25th 9:49 pm
C shad, appreciate the sentiment. I should have included a couple of other comments. This was my 3rd trip with a total of 11 hours over the 3 trips invested. No joy on the first 2 trips. Didn't want anyone I thinking I went 1 for 2 in Feb. by ONLY investing 5.5 hours. ;-) Water temp was 45.7 where I was fishing. However, that is not of real consequence. Myself and a couple of other guys I fish with frequently have caught plenty of fish in 39 degree water. One of my buddies hit 'em good in 38 degree water once. If the fish are there, they're there. If they're not, they're not. That said, at those temps you have to know the slot & depth well enough to put it right on their noses. They won't move very far to bang a lure in those temps. Also, water was rising today and with it, increasing amounts of debris. Often, shad fishing doesn't involve a lot of finesse, but when you're dealing with debris, some is required. How, depends on where & how you're fishing, but that is another kettle of fish (pun intended).
C shad now | Rieglesville | Saturday February 25th 6:29 pm
Congrats on the catch!
Alex Craig | Hatteras, NC & Green Lane, PA | Saturday February 25th 2:18 pm
Acckkk! Forgot to past in the end of the link. My apologies. http://www.Tempest-Sportfishing.com/1st of Year Shad - 2-25-17.jpg
Capt. Alex Craig | Hatteras, NC & Green Lane, PA | Saturday February 25th 2:16 pm
Greetings to all! They're here! Fished from 0640 hours til 1215 hours today well south of Easton. Picked up the honest 4# roe pictured in the link to follow at 0910 hours and lost a small buck at around 1015 hours. Not fast fishing for 5.5 hours; however, it is 2/25/17 and that ain't half bad! Caught on double dart rig green head/chartreuse body/metalflake green tail. http://www.tempest-sportfishing.com/1st of Year Shad - 2-25-17.jpg. You may have to type the url in your browser as I don't know if the DRSFA board supports html links.
Duff | | Saturday February 25th 10:11 am
Weather is NUTS ! Just got a text & Pic of 1st shad caught.
C shad now | Riegelsville | Saturday February 25th 8:39 am
Everything is a sign that points to go fish. Can't catch of the lines not wet.
Mimi | Trenton | Saturday February 25th 7:35 am
The water is 48 at trenton currently will probably hit 50 today is that a sign to go fishing
C shad now | Riegelsville | Thursday February 23rd 7:04 pm
BTW, saw water rise to 42F. It happening!
C shad now | Riegelsville | Thursday February 23rd 7:03 pm
Went out this afternoon cause I had to. Was really looking for wall e ...but one hit that felt right, really right. Nothing in the boat so take it as you will. I'm ready for the run!
Kevin Ingram | Yardley Pa | Thursday February 23rd 4:55 am
Ramp is ready...had some major work done recently..Shad will be here soon...need the temperature close to 50....Spoons shined...ready to go! See u on the River