Shad Kill: A 25 inch Fish

This past week more shad have come through the dam in small spurts.  Timing of course and a keeping a keen eye on the water fluctuations can result in a fish such as the one below with one heck of a beer gut…or in this case a shad gut.  This past thursday was a great day with Mike Davis of Heber Springs, Ar.  Not much in the way of crowds at least until later in the day when more boats showed up.


Here is a pic of the fish.



 Mike Davis 25 inch Brown trout 6 lbs.

A little bit about Guiding and the Shad Kill.

Yesterday morning I was not guiding but drove to the Dam to see if any shad were coming through.  What I saw instead were a ton of boats mostly fly fishing and more than a few very inexperienced guides attempting to learn how to work a shad kill.  It reminded me more of a three ring circus than of a group of well seasoned, experienced and competent guides doing a great job.  Boat control was lacking, drifts were inconsistent and uncontrolled, boats motored over the fish that others were fishing and the general rules of courtesy and conduct established over many years on the white river were lacking but what really got my attention was the lack of coordination of the guide with his anglers.  This lack of communication, coordination, coaching and leadership from the guide is evident in that less fishing is getting done and more knitting is.  IE: the guide and the anglers spend more time in frustrating minutes untangling from each other and less time with flies in the water where they should be.  Granted tangles are going to happen.  Fisherman are excited gung ho and ready to fish but it is up to the guide to lead his fisherman by communicating, coaching and coordinating the actions of the anglers in his boat (especially if there are three anglers).    I say this because the situation was grossly contrasted by a very experienced guide displaying all of the skills I list above and on the white river these days there isn’t much of this any more.  I saw rental boats fly fishing who were doing a better job than most of the guides on this day.  So be careful when you hire a guide.  Ask questions.  Just because a guide says he has been fishing the White River for 20 years dosn’t mean he has been guiding for that amount of time.  The skill set needed for guiding vs. just fishing the river are completely different.  Spend your money wisely.  Look for a competent well seasoned guide to spend your money with.  It will result in less frustration and more time spent with your fly in the water.


Jimmy T.

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