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Discovering “The Poor Man’s Tarpon:” Shad Fishing on the Neuse River

  • Apr 19, 2014 · 1:00 PM

Discovering “The Poor Man’s Tarpon:” Shad Fishing on the Neuse River
Event Date: Saturday April[masked], 1 pm to 5 pm

Learn about our native shad species, their habits and habitat, and enjoy an afternoon of shad fishing on the banks of the Neuse River. North Carolina is home to two species of large shad, American shad and Hickory shad, and thanks to deliberate management efforts shad populations are recovering from recent declines. Called “the poor man’s tarpon” for their breaching, leaping, and tail-walking acrobatic performances, these fish are spawned in inland rivers and tributary creeks, migrate to the ocean to mature, and then return up river to spawn in their native streams. Our NC shad are sporty and historically important, a natural wonder right here at home, and a conservation success story.

Please note, this outing will be held on the Neuse River anywhere from Milburnie dam to Goldsboro, depending on where the latest fishing report indicates the shad are. Location will be announced before the outing. Most likely location Milburnie Dam.

We will be fishing from the river bank and not launching any vessels.

You will need:

A current NC inland fishing license. If you don’t have one you can buy one at your local tackle shop or directly from the NC Wildlife Resources Commission. $5 for 10 days or $15 per year for NC residents.

A light action or ultralight action rod and reel. Choose a longer rod over a shorter rod to add distance to your casts. Most of our shad will fall between 1 and 5 pounds in weight, so heavy tackle is not recommended.

A handful of terminal tackle. Expect to lose tackle on rocks and snags! Shad darts are traditional and work well, alone or tied in combination with a trailing spoon, but can be expensive if you lose many in rocks and snags. Curly tail jigs and marabous draw strikes too and cost less. Pink, purple, white, and chartreuse are good colors. A bag or two of jigs and a smaller number of darts and spoons makes a good shad tackle starter kit.

Dress appropriately. Terrain may be steep, uneven, rocky, or muddy. Insects or poison ivy may be present. Long pants, long sleeves, and solid shoes are recommended.

Group size limited to 6. RSVP on our Capital Group Meetup page at:

All Sierra Club outings participants must sign a liability waiver. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or guardian, or the parent or guardian must complete the Minor Medical Treatment Authorization and Consent form in addition to the liability waiver.

Additional information about shad:

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  • Seth

    Sounds good. See you there. Hopefully the rain stays in the clouds.

    April 19, 2014

  • Clay

    Weather doesn't look promising, water was high, fast, and forceful at Milburnie Dam on Thursday, with more rain coming tonight. Fished Milburnie Dam for just over an hour with no bites, but saw shad in the river.

    I'm still planning on coming out, although if any of you want to suggest a reschedule date we'll consider that too. Lets meet at Anderson Point Park, in the parking area under the high tensile power lines.

    Shad are in Raleigh now, so if the flow is too high to catch them this weekend, it would be worthwhile trying again this coming week as river flows recede.

    April 18, 2014

  • Seth

    Is this a rain or shine event? It looks like showers are forecasted.

    April 18, 2014

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