The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC


March 15, 2013

March Shadness is kicking in to high gear

ROCKY MOUNT — College basketball fanatics have their March Madness. Shad fisherman in Eastern NC always look forward to March Shadness. Fleet Temple coined that phrase several years ago, and I think it’s a nifty-keen description.

My brother, Charles, drove down from Lanham, Maryland last weekend and met me in Weldon to pursue some Roanoke River shad. We were not disappointed. We had a big time catching Hickory & White Shad, and eating like Sumo wrestlers-in-training. We watched some interesting shad fishermen, visiting from Pennsylvania, that were using thin 8-foot rods. A 2-pound shad bent that rod to the water like it weighed 10-pounds.

I love shad fishing, and sometimes I even feel fairly proficient at it, but the honest-to-goodness truth is that the only time I am the best shad fisherman on the water is when I am fishing alone.

However, I have had the good fortune to fish with and around some world-class

shadsters. I’m talking about the likes of Bobby Mason, Wayne Harrell, James Long, and Henry Knight. These guys are awesome! If you ever get a chance, watch these dudes work their magic with a rod & reel; it’s poetry in motion. Collectively you are looking at over 150 years of shad fishing experience and expertise. Doesn’t seem fair to the shad, does it?

Hotspot of the Week - The Tar River at Tarboro is starting to look and behave like its old shad-producing self these days. I understand someone even caught a doubleheader at the “Shad Hole” earlier this week, and that is always a good indication the fish are schooled-up and the bite is getting healthier. Sounds like its “peaking” just in time for the shad tournament.

White Shad are showing up nicely in all the familiar places in Rocky Mount. It gets a little crowded on the riverbank when word gets out the White Shad have arrived. Please be courteous and respectful of those fishing around you. The unwritten rule is that those already in place get priority in casting and location. If one has been on the river at first light, and you stroll in at 10:30 a.m., don’t expect that early bird to change and alter everything he is doing to accommodate you. It’s your job to fit in, not visa versa. Get your hindquarters out of bed earlier, and then you can call the shots. Nuff said!

I want to give a shout-out to J.P. Luper of Rocky Mount. Familiar to Rocky Mount

area Tar River anglers, J.P. is a serious, skilled fisherman, who is an accommodating fisherman that goes out of his way to help all those fishing around him. When I saw him, in his chest waders, step in the cold, frosty Tar River early one morning, then reach into the icy waters to retrieve someone else’s rig that was snagged on a stump, I knew this man was special and deserved a little recognition. You ‘da man,’ J.P.!

Rick’s Soapbox – If you see this before 5:30 p.m., Friday evening, you still have time to do-de-bop over to Roberson & Dupree Shoe Store, 418 Main Street, in downtown Tarboro, to sign up for the 12th Annual Hickory Shad Tournament.

After a productive day at Battle Park, Wifey was complaining that I smelled like shad. I asked her if she preferred I smell like some other lady’s perfume. Bazzinga! I think she got my point. However, she nearly laughed herself silly.

Care to share? Tight Lines welcomes your fishing success stories, fishy snaps, tall tales, and unbelievable lies at

See you on the water, my friend!

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