Several years ago, I was faced with a "shad" dilemma. A recent post on the Little River Outfitter message board reminded me of the great fun of fishing shad patterns during shad kills. I developed this pattern to not only imitate the size and color of the naturals but also to get down deep where the large fish often are. For those of you interested in fishing on top during shad kills, I recommend taking a guide trip with me or with my buddy David Perry. A favorite technique is fishing flies on the surface during this time. I can promise that there is nothing more exciting than a huge trout sipping a dying shad off the surface as delicately as it would a mayfly during a hatch.
This pattern has been one of my favorites for big shad-eating stripers. In fact, I have caught more big stripers on this pattern than anything else. This fly can be modified to use plastic eyes so it has neutral buoyancy if you don't want it sinking too far. I call it the Puglisi, Bunny, and Jelly, PB&J for short. The little bit of red near the throat gives it a wounded appearance. I'm a firm believer in giving fish that extra trigger to induce strikes.
Hook: Gamakatsu SL11-3H or similar hook (also use Mustad 34007)
Thread: White 3/0
Eyes: Medium Lead Eyes tied in on the BOTTOM of the hook shank (original) (or lead-free substitute)
Body (top): White Zonker strip (I personally like the magnum strips for extra bulk and movement)
Body (bottom): White Puglisi fibers
Throat: Fiery Blood Red Jorgensen SLF dubbing with a bit more Puglisi Fibers tied in in front of the red dubbing
Note that the eyes are tied in on the bottom instead of in the usual Clouser method. I find that for this pattern, it rides better and gets better hookups when the eyes are tied on the bottom of the hook shank. However, it is more likely to snag on the bottom this way.
This fly is one of my bread and butter streamers. When all else fails, I toss some PB&J and the fish will usually eat!!!
FISHING REPORT AND SYNOPSIS: 4/23/2017
SPECIAL UPDATE: HIGH WATER EVERYWHERE!
The next couple of days will be tough just about anywhere you go. High water is the rule and heavy runoff has muddied lakes as well. Best to stay home and tie flies for at least the next day or two. Once the stream levels settle down, fishing in the Smokies should be good.
The fishing has been great lately! This spring has been phenomenal in the Smokies. Long hatches have produced dry fly fishing lasting for hours every day. The Caney Fork has been producing some great fish on high and low water.
In the Smokies, we have a high water day. That should soon give way to good flows and hatches as well. Evening hatches should really be going strong now at good flows. It is the time of year for yellow, cream and tan.
Unfortunately Center Hill Lake is filling rapidly and the USACE will be running a lot of water for a while to drop the lake back down. If you are interested in streamer floats, those will be able to happen into May this year. This is as good a time and method for getting into big fish as any. Once the lake level drops and flows go down, the fishing should be excellent on low water. We had some unreal trips on low water before all of this rain happened.
The musky and smallmouth bass rivers are totally blown out. If you are wanting to get in on this fishing, contact me about a float in May. Once conditions settle down, the fishing will be very good.