The Alosa Mediocre is more popularly known as the Hickory Shad. These fish are not terribly big but the fight they put up is becoming known from coast to coast, even resulting in articles in popular sport fishing magazines. They are a recreational fish, and because of the fight they put up, they are becoming far more popular among anglers.
The Hickory Shad has an unusual jaw-line – defined by almost the appearance of an under-bite. The lower part of the jaw typically curves upwards – toward the head of the fish. The body is an unusual gray-green color and they almost always have a dark spot above the head. Another characteristic that singles them out is the shiny silver marking that runs down the side and flows to the belly of the Alosa Mediocre.
The Hickory Shad or Alosa Mediocre feeds on small bait fish, squid, fish eggs and crustaceans. Their spawning time is anywhere during the period of February and June and normally done in gravel bars. The more moderate the temperature, the more likely you are to find a spawning ground. The female hickory shad typically lays eggs more than one time before she dies. The eggs harden after being laid and can be found along the sea bottom. These eggs mature, and typically are sexually mature sometime between the ages of two and four years. We have much to learn about the migratory patterns of these fish, as there is not much information about what happens to them in the open ocean.
Although the western Atlantic coast is where they are typically found, you can find them anywhere between Maine and Florida. Chesapeake Bay is a favorite spawning ground for the Hickory Shad. Unfortunately, not much research has been done on their movements once they have moved into the open ocean waters, though they are monitored heavily during migration periods.
Catching Hickory Chad is generally done using the challenging fly fishing method. Spawning season is the time you are most likely to have success finding this fish since they are far more visible and active. Small spoons, flies and artificial lures have all proven to be effective bait when properly used. They are most abundant in waters that are in the 55 degree range, though it’s not unusual to find them at other temperatures. Most anglers will use the same fishing gear they would use for light trout or large-mouth bass though these fish definitely have far more fight than either and the gear must be able to accommodate that fight. Hickory Shad are definitely fun to fish for, and most anglers really appreciate the large fight put up by this small fish.