The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

May 11, 2012

White Shad Bite Still On At Rocky Mount

Rick Goines

TARBORO — I had every intention of doing a different article this week, but I am so impressed and thrilled with the current White Shad bite on the Tar River at Rocky Mount that I feel the need and obligation to share this exciting information with you.

Don't put those shad rigs away yet, if you still want a little White Shad mumbo jumbo.

The Tar River at Rocky Mount is the place to go. I have a feeling that anyplace upriver from Dunbar will produce some measurable results.

This fishing involves a lot of casting and a good measure of patience. The fish are there, but you will need a little trial and error to find them. Once you do locate them, cast to the same area where you caught the last fish, and chances are good you will get another bump.

The shad are stacked-up pretty good out there in the deeper holes. Your strike zone might only be 6 square feet, so the key is to roll that rig right past their pretty noses.

Missed the strike zone? Throw again; casts are free in the Tar River in May.

White Shad has quickly become my favorite fish to catch. Shhh, don't tell my Maryland friends. It's considered blasphemous not to revere the almighty Rockfish up there in Chesapeake Bay Country.

My affection for shad was helped considerately by the fact that we have enjoyed an unprecedented, phenomenal year for White Shad in Eastern NC.

Old timers talk about a May shad run of new, different fish. These White Shad in Rocky Mount have made me a believer: a grateful, thankful, dyed-in-the-wool believer. Wayne Harrell made a recent call to a NCWRC wildlife biologist that confirmed these are new spawning fish that just got to town. Wayne's contact said that electrofishing, or sampling, has recently turned up good numbers of shad in the Tar River.

Reportedly, these are fresh looking, plump females, pre-spawn and full of eggs. Even better news is that the "experts" predict that these fish will be around well into June. H-E-L-L-O! You are talking my game, my man!

I am writing this Thursday afternoon, and what I am getting ready to tell you is so fresh and current that I am sitting in front of the computer smelling like shad with quarter-size scales on my clothing. Don't tell wifey! She will throw me out!

I got up at O’Dark-thirty this morning, and made a beeline for the boat ramp at Battle Park in Rocky Mount. It's always a joy to watch the wildlife stir at first light. I saw ducks, beaver, muskrat, and several snakes out looking for breakfast. My attitude is that I am a guest in their home; a large, loud, intrusive one, but a guest all the same. Oh yeah, I have an unwritten contractual agreement with the snakes. I don't bother them, and hopefully they will not bother me. Apparently, some of these snakes didn't get the memo. They swim right up to me and sit there and just look at me with those beady little eyes. I slap the water with my rod, but it doesn't seem to scare them. I appreciate God's slithery creatures, but I do not like them. Wifey is amused at my fear of snakes.

I snapped on my Jimmy D Custom Shad Rig. It took about a dozen casts to find the fish. Once I did, it was action-city. Nice, big, healthy White Shad that were none too pleased to find out my gold spoon had a hook attached to it. Plenty of bumps, hook-ups, and caught fish all morning. I left biting fish to come home and write this for you. What a guy, huh?

Care to share? Send us your fishing success stories and snaps at

See You On The Water, My Friend!