The American Shad is a saltwater fish that ascends rivers to spawn, where it provides great sport for both spin and fly anglers. When hooked, the American Shad is a prolific leaper and can put up a dazzling fight, often cartwheeling through the air.
The American Shad was once such a valuable commodity that a series of "Shad Wars" were fought on the tributaries of the Susquehanna River in New England, complete with shootings, dam and weir destruction, and even cannon-fire! Wherever you find groups of fishermen exchanging artillery salvos, you can be certain the fishing must be pretty darn good.
Today, the Shad Wars are over and anglers no longer lob explosive shells at each other on the riverbank. Rod and reel fishing for American Shad has since become very popular all along the Atlantic Coast, as well as some Pacific Coast rivers where this fish has been introduced. Specialized lures called "Shad Darts" are very effective and are still used today. The original shad darts were made from a wild turkey quill fit over a long-shank hook and filled with tin. These were later updated to molded tin or lead.
A Modern Shad Dart. Shad Darts were traditionally made from wild turkey quills.