Dragging my kayak down a dirt path, I could hear a series of sporadic splashes in the creek I was approaching. Peering down into the green water from atop the clay bluff, I could see a disco ball series of flashes. But a deaf and blind man could tell that the shad had arrived. The oily stench of thousands of Hickory and Gizzard Shad filled my nostrils. The squeeky calls of a Bald Eagle in a sycamore tree top fifty yard upstream warned another bird of prey to stay off his side of the creek. Several Great Blue Herons stalked the shallows near the creek mouth where it entered the Susquehanna River. Out on the ledge rocks mid river, dozens of cormorants lined up like pall bearers at a funeral. The funeral was that of any silvery chunk of swimming protein that got too close to someone's beak or talon. I had the creek to myself that afternoon, yet I was in one of the biggest crowds of my life.
The following three and a half hours fishing the creek and the current seam where it met the river resulted in catching roughly 50 hickory shad, and accidentally snagging another half dozen gizzard shad. As I reeled in each acrobatic leaping shad, I thought, "I wish my boys were here for this!" So I brought them the next chance I got. Watch the video and see how a seven and five year old react to catching "the poor man's tarpon" for the first time.