Earlier that morning, Fee and I had been anchored at the edge of a mid-river eddy, swinging for American shad, another oceanic migrant that makes a massive spawning run up the undammed Delaware this month. They don’t eat now, but they’ll smack a shad dart or flutter spoon flashed in their faces—and when they do, you’ve got a serious light-tackle challenge on your hands (see “Shad Hacks,” p. 40). Shad have paper-thin mouths that tear very easily, so the trick to handling their fast runs and athletic leaps is keeping your drag set light. Of the 12 we’d hooked, half made it to the net, including a 6-pound personal best for Fee. Shad had been the plan from the outset, so as I rowed downstream toward the takeout, we were totally satisfied with our day. Until we saw the stripers.