We have Shad in the Merrimack River, which products would you recommend to mimic these bait fish?
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I’m happy to provide some recommendations on imitating Merrimack River Shad.
From a quick bit of research, it looks like the shad anglers target are pretty sizable, these are my recommendations for imitating larger shad:
1. Topwater Slow Twitch: The 10” Hogy Original is great for slow moving rivers and tidal areas. It is ideal for casting during low light periods and when casting around fish aggressively working bait pods. Bone would be my top color recommendation for daily use, while the Bubblegum Pink is excellent for bright sunny days and makes for a very visual presentation while twitched along the surface.
For rigging these soft baits, our 10/0 Swimbait Hook allows a semi-weedless presentation and excellent soft bait wiggle.
2. Topwater Blind Casting: The Charter Grade Dog Walker is a great surface walk the dog style plug, offering plenty of vibration and rattle as it swims along the surface. These baits are best for low light or overcast days with a slight big of chop.
3. Mid-Water Blind Casting: It’s hard to beat our 6.5” Protail Paddle Swimbait for simplicity and imitation of larger forage. For slow moving rivers, I recommend the 2oz weight for regular casting conditions, allow for a nice slow rolling thump as the bait swims along at steady pace. For windier days, bumping up to the 3oz weight helps stay in tune with the lures action in a light chop. Color wise, Olive or Blue Herring would be great color choices.
4. Bottom Twitch Jigging: Finally, when fish are buried down and bottom grubbing, the 2oz Epoxy Jigs are a great presentation for offering a larger profile with a slow sink rate and great fluttering action. I recommend casing these up or across current, allowing them to sink to the bottom, then twitching them back in with occasional pauses to let the lure bump bottom. Color wise, Silver or Blue Herring would be great imitators.
If you’d like, I would be happy to put together an assortment of these products and build out a personal kit for fishing the Merrimack River. Just let me know and I’ll be happy to help.
Capt. Ross Gallagher