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Shad run looks to be good for 2014

American shad caught in Shad Alley on the St. Johns River.
American shad caught in Shad Alley on the St. Johns River.
Ron Presley

Early reports from the St. Johns River indicate a healthy population of American Shad already present in the river. They can show up anytime from about Christmas to mid-March.

Anglers should use light tackle and colorful lures to target the feisty fish. They are a favorite of anglers because of their hard pulling fight and aerial displays when hooked.

The best place for anglers to go for this once a year fishing opportunity is known as Shad Alley. This is the portion of the St. Johns that runs generally from the east end of Lake Monroe to the south end of Puzzle Lake. Shallow areas are present, so boaters need to use caution.

Add crappie to the mix and it should be a great year for the Coastal Angler Shad and Crappie Derby. Organizers have lined up over $5,000 in prizes, including monthly prizes and two grand prizes for the largest shad and largest crappie, regardless of division. Ten division prizes will be given in ladies, youth, men, pro, and fly categories.

The derby is a catch-photo-release tournament. Photos are emailed to derby officials for posting and judging. More information can be found at

For those anglers wanting to learn how to catch shad a free Shad Rally will be held at LouAnne’s Bait and Tackle House on Saturday, February 8, 2014 from 11:00 to 2:00 p.m. It is near the C. S. Lee Park Boat Ramp on Hwy 46.

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Angler Alert: Don’t forget to log you catch online at the Angler Action Program.

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