The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Tight Lines

March 16, 2012

The fishing destination is Weldon where the shad are biting

TARBORO — The Roanoke River at Weldon is a wonderful, abundant fishery. During Shad and Rockfish season, it’s a good place to hang out. March and April, I spend so much time in Halifax County I joke that I should have my mail forwarded there. I usually fish until exhausted, saving just enough energy to limp home. Those back road farmers between Tarboro and Weldon know my old red Jeep, and always give me a toothy grin and a big wave.

Last weekend, my brother, Charles, drove down from Maryland, and met me in Weldon to chase some shad. We had a large time catching White Shad. We caught a few Hickory Shad, but mostly “Whites” were the blue-plate special of the day. My Jimmy D Custom Shad Rig with a gold spoon and orange jig was the catnip. Surprisingly, I caught more on the orange jig than I did the gold spoon. I was also throwing a secret weapon provided by a friend. It was a custom painted red spoon with glitter. It should be named, “The Shad Killer.” I even caught a Racoon Perch which was a first for me in the Roanoke River.

It was a mystery to me why the White Shad have recently invaded the Roanoke River at Weldon until someone clued me in. The Tar River at Rocky Mount has always had a good rep for White Shad. This did not go unnoticed by the boys at the Wildlife Resources Commission. They sent the shock guys to stun some Tar River White Shad at Rocky Mount, tank’em, breed’em, and relocate the fry to the Roanoke River at Weldon.

Sources tell me that this has been going on for a couple of years. Apparently, the program is working because White Shad are chewing up the rigs at Weldon these days.

Tight Lines regular reader, Pastor Gary Bateman, fishes the Tar and the Roanoke River at Weldon frequently, and he says he has never seen so many White Shad. I consider Rev. Bateman an expert on White Shad. The man catches his fair share of “Whites,” and also mine and yours, too. I hope to meet Gary in Weldon soon to watch him perform a little White Shad magic. Between Gary and his fishing pal, Chuck Riddle, those White Shad hardly have a fair chance. These guys can flat-out catch some fish.

Hotspot of the Week – It’s all about shad out there. Because of the mild winter, shad season started early this year. I hope I’m wrong, but I think that means it will end early, too. Drat!

Rick’s Soapbox – You have until 5:30 this Friday evening March 16th to sign-up for the 11th Annual TASS Hickory Shad Tournament. Roberson & Dupree Shoe Store, or TASS Central as I call it, is your headquarters. This weeklong fun tournament is not to be missed. I look forward to it every year.

Shad Hole Shout Out – Say hello to Al Keen. Al is a Shad Hole regular, and all-around nice guy. Born in Wilson, and raised in Tarboro, Al has been fishing the Tar River for 10 years. Recently retired from DOT, Al has a little extra time these days to throw his favorite dart and spoon tandem rig. Wife, Brenda and daughter, Michelle, know where to find Al during shad season. Al is always helpful and supportive of his Shad Hole buddies.

Catching fish? Tell us about it. Better yet, send us a picture with all the details. We love to hear from you at

See you on the water, my friend!

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Tight Lines
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