Fly Patterns - Ron English Shad Fly

                        Ron English Shad Fly



Ron and Jeanne English showed me this simple fly a couple of years ago. While there are many good shad pattern, this one catches a lot of fish when drifted properly. There is a shad clinic scheduled for May 16th, with Al Smatsky. If you haven’t fished for shad, or want to improve your skills at hooking these hard fighting fish, be sure to sign up for this  clinic. The cost is $25, and well worth it. Covered subjects include rods, lines, leaders, flies, tactics, and fish handling.

Tying Instructions

1.      Cover the front ¼ of the hook with thread. Mount the eyes about 1/8“ behind the hook eye and on top of the hook. This will cause the hook to ride upside down, which helps to minimize bottom snags.



2.      Wrap lead or substitute, if weight is desired. Cover it with thread wraps to secure it in place.




3.    Tie in a small bunch of calf tail just above the barb of the hook which you should have smashed by now. Fishing barbed shad hooks is unsafe. If, due to wind or an errant cast, you happen to hook yourself, or if another angler sinks one in you, although it still hurts, the de-barbed version will back out easily. The barbed version is difficult and painful to remove.




4.      At the same point as the tail, tie in a strip of mylar. You can use mylar tinsel, which comes on a spool, or salt water pearl flashabou.

5.      Tie in hot pink (or other color) floss at the same point and wind it forward to the rear of the eyes; tie it off there..

6.      Wrap the mylar forward as an overbody, and tie it off at the same point as the floss.

7.   Form a head with the tying thread, and whip finish. Apply head cement or superglue, since the thread will be slippery and it helps to keep the eyes in place.




Useful Tips for Shad Fishing



1.    Keep it simple. You won’t need your gadget-laden vest. All you need is your fishing license, a small box of shad flies, a spool of 8 or 10 pound maxima for your leader, a forceps and a nipper.

2.    Don’t use tapered leaders for this type of fishing. Your leader should be short (6 feet) and stout. The object is to get the fly down quickly for the swing.

3.    A good sink tip such as a Teeny 200 (for single-handed rods) will do in most situations. For higher flows you may have to go up to 250 or 300 grain lines.



Tying Tips

1.    When tying on eyes (whether on the top or bottom of the hook) just wrap diagonally between the eyes and around the hook. Once you’ve done this 5 or 6 times, wrap horizontally around the eyes. This tightens up the diagonal wraps. Don’t bother with the “figure 8” method as it ends up not nearly as tight. Always add superglue before proceeding with the rest of the fly.

2.    To tie materials such as calf tail on the hook without having it roll over to the other side of the hook, use the “45 degree” technique. See the “Tips, tricks, and techniques” page on my website:

3.    When tying flies such as the one in this month’s article, it pays to coat the body with a good, flexible cement such as Dave’s Flexament or Softex. You will get more use out of your flies by taking this step.






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