The shad have started to run up the rivers. Yellow perch are fun to catch; but when a shad hits the lure, there is a big difference. The shad fights the whole way, and a lot of them get off the hook. I like it when I reel them all the way in, and sometimes I can flick the rod and get the hook out without the fish ever leaving the water. I don’t want to keep them. I want them to continue to come back each year.
There are less shad now than years ago. I can remember seeing the water boil with so many shad and herring in the river. My grandpa took me fishing in the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers when I was eight years old. We went fishing a lot, and I became addicted to fishing. Grandpa would hook a shad and let me reel it in. We also caught a lot of rockfish in the Pamunkey River. There were a lot of stripers back then.
Fishing probably never will be like it was when I was kid and up through my twenties. It was common to catch white shad then. Now you may only catch one or two through the entire spring run. To me, spring isn’t here until the shad get here. You can have your crocus and daffodils; but when the dogwood tree starts to bud, get down to the river!
I challenge you to fish responsibly. Fishing is a gift from God, even though the government wants a cut from it. I have seen fishing licenses start for saltwater, and the price for fishing licenses go up while the fish decrease along with the boat ramps. One of these days, we will see the price of a fishing license at $50 each. I hope I’ll be dead by then; I couldn’t bear to see it.
\Remember the saying, “Take a kid fishing”? Maybe when they are sixteen years old, they can afford a license. I know it’s big business, but you don’t have to spend a lot to enjoy fishing. My fishing rod has lasted me forty-nine years, and it still works!