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Fishing guide shares tips for shad season in Middleton

Fishing guide Perry Munro frequently takes groups of people to the Annapolis River in Middleton during the shad season.
Fishing guide Perry Munro frequently takes groups of people to the Annapolis River in Middleton during the shad season.

MIDDLETON - Sheila Ward is not fooled by the subtle tug on her line, or the weight that causes her fishing rod to bend ever so slightly.

“I got one,” the Port Williams resident jokes, turning to her fishing guide on the bank of the Annapolis River, Perry Munro.

Seconds later, they share a laugh while admiring a mussel dangling from the end of Ward’s hook.

Munro smiles, reassuring his student that reeling in a mussel means she’s letting the shad dart sink deep enough for the fish to take notice.

“The thing to remember is shad do not come up for anything. They don’t come up for a dart… what you’re trying to get them to take has to come across in front of them,” he explains.

“You try to get it down as deep as you can without hooking bottom and bring it across in front of them.”

Sheila Ward of Port Williams happily shows off a freshwater mussel she reeled in during a recent shad fishing trip in Middleton.

Munro, a resident of Black River, Kings County, has been bringing people to Middleton and Nictaux to fish out of the Annapolis River for years. He says the shad season, generally spanning from May to mid-June, is the prime time for aspiring and advanced anglers alike to cast a line in the Annapolis River.

“Everybody can catch them,” he says, noting that it’s best to aim for darker pools of water as shad are sensitive to light.

“They’re a great family outing fish.”

Munro has been working as a Nova Scotia Master Guide for more than 30 years. He travels extensively; venturing wherever a guiding job takes him, but still gets a kick out of fishing shad in Middleton.

“They fight like demons,” he says.

“It’s considered poor man’s salmon… it’s kind of like a salmon. It jumps and it runs hard.”

Munro, a writer who used to pen articles about his outdoor expeditions, was once part of a promotional effort that aimed to generate more interest in shad fishing in Nova Scotia.

“We changed the way we look at shad in Nova Scotia from a fish that we used to jig and net, to one that we consider a sport fish,” he says.

The sport has been steadily gaining momentum. It’s not uncommon for Munro to find that stores stocking shad darts in the Middleton area are nearly sold out soon after the short season gets underway.

This year, he’s had the most success with bright green and fluorescent orange darts. An avid fly fisher, Munro says this is another technique to consider for shad.

“It’s becoming more and more popular every year. There was a time I was considered an odd ball carrying a fly rod for shad , but now I see more and more people are using fly rods,” he says.

Whether he’s dropping a line in the icy arctic conditions or battling a shad in Middleton, Munro said fishing always offers a sense of tranquility that is always within reach in throughout Annapolis Valley.

“We have shad, smallmouth bass, pickerel, brown trout, speckled trout, rainbow trout… the list is quite extensive of what we can fish for,” he said, listing Aylesford Lake, Black River Lake, Gaspereau and Lumsden Pond as a couple of great fishing destinations in Kings County.

“You’re sitting in the middle of one of the nicest spots I can think of to fish… it’s all here.”

 

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