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Saltwater Fishing

Rigged Shads- Take Over as the Hot New Striper Bait
By Richard Welton, CCA

Starting in the bay season and finishing strong in the ocean striper fishery, this year the 9-inch pre-rigged shad baits took more really big stripers than any other single bait. If you already have some get more, if you don't, get some because you are missing out.

Shad tails have been around for a long time and have caught plenty of fish, stripers especially. This article is about the new shads with built in weights and hooks, the 9-inch size for big stripers. I say new because they have only been out for about two years. Even though plenty of people used them a year ago, they really took off like wild this year. Storm Baits came out with the earliest version available locally last year. I read about them on the Internet and even heard from some anglers who used them. I talked to my local tackle shops and they were reordering them regularly but couldn't keep them in stock. This season, plenty of Storms were reordered and Tsunami and Chesapeake Bay Lure Co both had 9-inchers on the shelves.

Fishing for big stripers was really off this year up until after New Years Day. A charter Captain friend started using the Chesapeake Bay Lure Co. version and caught 9 out of his 10 fish on it one day in early November off Cape Henry. Another Captain was already using the Storms and promptly switched over because as soon as the fish size went up, he was having trouble with the two lighter hooks on the Storms straightening out or breaking. I haven't talked to anyone using the Tsunami but looking at it, you can tell that it has the same two light hook set up as the Storm. The Chesapeake Bay Lure Co. "Red Eye Shad" has become the preferred 9-inch version because of the substantial single 12/0 hook built in. Once the big striper was hooked, that 12/0 held them! The rubber in the tail of the Chesapeake version seems to be tougher too.

I gave one to a good friend and fisherman David Nobles and told him that they had been hot. He was fishing off of Virginia Beach the next day with his brother Wilson, (Wilson is really OK after you get to know him.) They had been catching and releasing 30 to 36-inch fish all morning when David remembered the 9-inch Chesapeake chartreuse shad I had given him. He pulled it out, handed it to Wilson and asked him to put it on the Mojo line. Wilson replied, as I probably would have, "Why? We are catching them plenty fast on the rig we have out." David calmly explained that it was his boat, his rod, and his lure so put the darn thing on! Wilson reluctantly reeled the deep line in, tied on the Chesapeake Shad, and put the line back out. He turned to David and said rather tersely, "happy now?" David said, "Heck yeah, and you will be too when you turn around and see the bend in that rod." Wilson promptly reeled in a 38-˝ pound fish of the day on the shad. I don't know that David ever said, "told you so. " because they were not speaking very much at that point. I heard through the grapevine that Wilson was seen using the Chesapeake shads the next weekend when David wasn't there. David and Wilson are now "Shad Believers".

Rigging and fishing the 9-inch shads - The Chesapeake Bay version has two eyes to tie to. Tying to the top eye gives the lure much more action and is the preferred eye to tie to. Early in November, (the day one lure took 9 out of 10 fish), fish were biting best near the surface on lures fished WFB (way far back). The root beer colored Chesapeake shad called "golden croaker" was the top producer fished near the surface without extra weight in water 60 to 72 feet deep. That's right the fish were near the surface in deep water. A couple of weeks later, the Chesapeake Shad with chartreuse edges started catching great fished on the deep lines with the Mojo. By the time the fish worked down the beach in January. "Surface lines" with any color Chesapeake shad (chartreuse was still best) fished on a 25 foot 80 LB mono leader with a 6 oz trolling weight between the line and leader produced on scattered fish. Most boats also fished at least one more 9-inch Chesapeake on a deep wire of synthetic braided line with a Mojo.

Carolyn Brown caught her 63 pound state record on a 9-inch pearl colored Storm. She is an excellent and patient angler who took the time to ease the record fish in. Still, according to Carolyn, the fish was barely hooked when it came in the boat. Pearl is a good color that was not available in the Chesapeake version this year. Chesapeake's President, Larry Demmerle reports that he is working on a pearl color with the 12/0 hook for the coming season.

Easy Fix - The 9-inch pre-rigged shads are hot baits but at $7 to $7.50 they are a fairly costly piece of rubber, particularly if bluefish are around. One local charter Captain brought a Chesapeake Bay shad by my office complaining that it had a tear by the hook after catching 35 or 40 big stripers, 34 to 44 inches! That's about 20 cents per 15 pound plus fish. Try using a $2 eel more than once. The next day he brought one by that had 3 rips almost all the way through due to a bluefish hitting it 2 minutes after it came out of the package. It seems that the more rubber tail lures cost, the quicker the blues chop them up. I remembered a bottle of PRO's Soft~Bait Glue® that I had purchased at the CCA striped bass show. I dug it out and in less than 4 minutes had both baits better than new! You put a light coating of the glue on one side of the rip and then hold both sides together for 5 to 15 seconds. The resulting bond is stronger than the original rubber. (No, Super Glue does not work, I already tried it.) If the tail is bitten completely off and lost, simply cut the jagged edge off and cut an unrigged 9 inch tail that sells for about $1.50 off so that the edges line up. Light coat of glue on one surface, hold together for 15 seconds, presto a like new lure. You can even try two tone color combos.

There are a few places to purchase PRO's Soft~Bait Fishing Glue®. CCA Fall Striper Show, Buco's Bait & Tackle, R.W.'s in Callao, Bishop's Fishing Supply in Yorktown and at Long Bay Pointe Tackle. Long Bay's reported that they have doctored over 40 torn 9-inch shads for customers with one bottle, and it isn't empty yet. At $9.99 per bottle, it may seem pricey but is a bargain for instantly fixing that many soft lures. I am sure that by the next striper season, more tackle shops will carry PRO's Soft~Bait Fishing Glue® but if not, you can get it direct from: Michael Rice, Innovative Promotions, 804.798.5225 or

In past articles, I have talked about using Crippled Alewives, Tomics and Hopkins 550 spoons and I still use them but I am now a true "Shad Believer" in the new Chesapeake Bay Lure Co. 9-inch Red Eye Shads. Make sure you try these 9-inch pre-rigged shad baits next season and maybe you too will catch a new state record. As the PRO's Soft~Bait Glue® guy says, "Fish Chew-um - We Glue-em." Wilson says, "It's the chewing that counts."

Written permission by the Sportsman's Magazine of the Mid-Atlantic

As an inshore/offshore guide in the Tampa Bay area, I cannot tell you how many times I threw away a partially torn grub or Sluggo due to a small tear in the body. At 4 for $1.99, it soon gets expensive. That’s all changed once I tried PRO’s Soft~Bait Glue™

Jennifer Drain of fished with me recently and brought along a bottle as a gift. I looked at the bottle and stored it away in my tackle box for future use. (Not thinking that I had a very valuable tool inside!).

That day, we fished a couple of grass flats and deepwater docks. Using 5 inch Sluggo’s for bait, we soon were into the Trout and Redfish. As you know, spotted sea trout are notorious for ripping apart soft-bodied baits. They have a snaggle-tooth in the upper part of their mouth that just cuts your baits in half sometimes. After throwing away a few torn baits, Jennifer suggested I use the ‘present’ she brought me. I was simply amazed that once the glue set in a few seconds, my soft-bodied bait was as good as new. Even the action of the bait was not affected! That day on the water sold me-no more discarding partially ripped baits!

Since then, PRO’s glue sits inside the console of my boat-ready to fix any rip or tear that these toothy predators generate. Now, if I can just figure out a way to keep them from swallowing the whole body!!

Good fishing to All!!

Capt. Chuck MacIntyre
Vortex Charters of Tampa Bay

Hi Mike,

As you know from meeting each other at the Sports Show in February, I'm a guide on the Outer Banks of NC. As a captain for 18 years and fisherman for much longer, I've been in many hot bites where I would go though many soft baits and would run out or nearly run out of the hot color or style. Now, with your new product, PRO's Soft~Bait Fishing Glue, I really don't worry about it anymore. Also, fishing for those big Stripers with oversized shad bodies I don't go though all the expense as I used to before. When ever my baits are chewed up or almost cut in several peices this glue will fix it within seconds and I'm back in the water catching more fish. And my paying guest stay happier when they can keep on fishing too without re-rigging all the time. I also use your glue to keep my soft bodies on the hook with a drop of glue on the shank.

In my business not only do I need to catch a lot of fish, but like any other business the bottom line means everything. This is the best product for fishing in years! Thank You!

Capt. Tom Wagner
Fish Trap Charters
Outer Banks, NC
(*As Seen on TV on ESPN2, OLN, HTS)

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