The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Tight Lines

January 16, 2012

2012 Tar River First Shad Contest

TARBORO — As you read this, the Alosa mediocris are making their annual trek from the Atlantic Ocean, through the Pamlico Sound, and up the Pamlico River, which magically becomes the Tar River as it flows under the Highway 17 Bridge at Little Washington.

To us, the plebeian unwashed masses, those Alosa mediocris are called Hickory Shad.

These fish, like their cousins, the fabled rockfish, are scientifically referred to as an anadromous fish. That means they live in saltwater, but traverse up freshwater coastal rivers to spawn and reproduce. I guess in Las Vegas-speak we could say, “What happens between two consenting adult fish in the Tar River, stays in the Tar River.”

For 2 to 3 weeks in March, I would put the Tar River Hickory Shad fishery in the Tarboro area up against any shad tributary on the East coast. It’s that good folks, hands down.

The first shad caught each year is a rite of passage, and big doings in these parts. With cellphones and computers, it takes about 13 minutes for the entire fishing community to hear the good news. Believe me, rods, reels, darts, and spoons are all primed and ready to go. No instruction needed, just point us in the right direction, and of course add water.

Jimmy Dupree, Jr., is a top notch Tar River shad fisherman. If Jimmy D ain’t catching ‘em, the rest of us can go home, watch a fishing show on cable TV, and stuff our faces. His Jimmy D Custom-Made Shad Rigs are the only baits I throw during shad season. Why? Duh! Because they catch fish, Bunky! The rigs are available locally in Tarboro at Roberson & Dupree Shoe Store, and also at Marrow-Pitt Ace Home Center.

Last year, Jimmy D teamed up with Tight Lines to offer a free card of Jimmy D Custom-Made Shad Rigs to our 2011 First Shad winner.

This year we decided to do it again, and make the prize package bigger and better.

Mission accomplished! We have added some nifty-keen gifts to make a right fair prize package for the winner of the 2012 Tar River First Shad Contest.

The rules for the contest are basically that there are no rules. No fees or registration, and it is a wide open fishing contest to anyone with a pulse.

Of course, this would be somewhat hard to police, but we ask that your fish entry be caught somewhere in the Tar River on hook and line. A little honor system, if you please.

The first person to bring a freshly caught (very convincing if it’s still alive) Tar River Hickory Shad to Roberson & Dupree Shoe Store, located at 418 Main Street, in beautiful, historic downtown Tarboro can claim the following nice prize package: see the chart attached.

To give online readers and newspaper readers an equally fair chance, let’s use Saturday, January 14th as our start date. We have one generous prize package to reward to one fisherman, so it is strictly a first shad, first come, winner takes all contest.

A word to the wise is sufficient. Catch that slimy dude or dudette, and high-tail it over to the shoe store. In the case of a tie coming through the door, a fist fight will determine the actual winner. Just kidding, of course!

Sorry, no room for Hotspot or Rick’s Soapbox this week.

Care to share? Send us your fishing success stories and pictures to

See you on the water, my friend!

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Tight Lines
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