Spring Sil­ver

FLY AND LIGHT-TACKLE AN­GLERS AWAIT THE RE­TURN OF HARD-FIGHT­ING HICK­ORY SHAD

Anglers Journal - - FIRST LIGHT - STORY BY GARY RE­ICH PHOTOS BY JAY FLEM­ING

MMost spouses get sent to the couch af­ter an un­re­solved ar­gu­ment, or for ne­glect­ing house­hold chores. In my house, if I’m rid­ing the sofa it likely means I’ve for­got­ten to take out the trash for the fifth or sixth week in a row, or fixed the smoker in­stead of the bro­ken light in the bath­room.

In April, I’m on the couch for an en­tirely dif­fer­ent rea­son. The hick­ory shad run is on in Mary­land, and hav­ing no sense of hu­mor about be­ing wo­ken up be­fore 5 a.m., my lov­ing spouse ban­ishes me from the bed­room. I barely sleep the night be­fore a hick­ory trip, so the couch and latenight tele­vi­sion suit me just fine.

By 3:30 a.m. I’m fill­ing a ther­mos with black cof­fee and load­ing up the SUV with my waders, fish­ing vest, fly rod and a cou­ple of bags of peanut M&MS. In­ter­state 95 is empty as I pass the steam­ing smoke­stacks in Bal­ti­more with Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” blast­ing on the ra­dio. It’s just past 5 a.m. when I find my­self bounc­ing over the pot­hole-rid­den dirt roads along­side Deer Creek, just north of Havre de Grace, Mary­land. A trib­u­tary of the Susque­hanna River, this creek is one of the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay’s best hick­ory shad spots.

I rig up in the dark just down­stream from a wa­ter sta­tion

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