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 The Chef is also the Shad Man 
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Joined: March 26th, 2011, 8:30 pm
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Location: Lake Allatoona
Post The Chef is also the Shad Man
I guess I've followed a natural path to where I am today. I actually started throwing a cast net about 33 years ago at age 7 on Lake Sinclair. It was a 7 footer and I used the teeth method. We never usually had a problem catching shad a certain time of year at a certain place (winter at the power plant), but didn't even bother with shad the rest of the year.

It wasn't until I moved to TN in 1994 to attend school at UT in Knoxville that I needed shad at other times of the year. I fished with coach Trembley starting out my 'official' striper fishing career. We would toss the net off the road at Topside Dr. and load the livewell on his Smokercraft and head to the boils below Loudon.

I got my first boat in TN in 1996 and began riding all over every piece of water I could find in my spare time. I knew how to throw a net, but I was still using the 3 bucket system for my bait tank. Keep bait in 2 buckets and rotate to the 3rd when they started running out of oxygen. I mainly fished the tailraces below Loudon and Melton and then at Kingston in the winter with live bait and lure fished everywhere else.

I started my guide service Seein Stripes in 1998 and it was night trips below Ft Loudon in my 1448 Polar Kraft. Not all that safe, but I made a little cash on the side and it was good. I began to hone my river fishing skills and started fishing Bull Run shortly after that. I was learning as much as I could (without internet or anybody else) as rapidly as possible and started having some success. At some point, I met the at-the-time president of the TSBA, Allan Franklin, and we became friends. Shortly after that, Ezell Cox gave me a call one day wanting one of my river trips which didn't end up going so well due to weird water conditions, but hooking up with Ezell really changed my fishing.

He introduced me to planer boards and bait tanks. I built my first bait tank and set of planers about the year 2000. They actually worked! So the next time we went fishing, I went and netted gizzards below Loudon, stored them overnight, and showed up at the ramp the next morning with live shad! They were all red nosed and had about half of their scales in my 20 gallon barrel, but I think we caught a couple fish that day.

From that point, I really expanded my shad catching, keeping, and fishing. My guide service took on a whole new aspect, and pulling planers became the norm. We caught hundreds of good fish each year with a few topping 40 lbs every year. I lived, worked and guided in and around Knoxville until 2004 before I had to move back to GA for financial reasons.

Milledgeville was home for the next 5 years. I had obtained a 40 gallon SBT and maintained Seein Stripes on Sinclair, Oconee, and Juliette. I traded my 1860 Sea Ark for a 1660 Weld Bilt with a 25 Merc. It was my first "bait boat." Tiller with open floor plan. Once I got my roots established a little, I began toying with selling shad at the marina on Mays Rd. across from the power plant. Threadfin were $3 a dz, and we sold several dozen a day which was good money for someone who doesn't have much money! I had designed and built the tank with a pressurized gravel filter in a 4" pvc tube and spraybar return. It worked fairly well and eventually cleaned the water up. To replenish the shad supply, all I had to do was ease the boat off the ramp and throw the net once at the power plant discharge.

I moved to the other side of town and set up a home tank beside the house. I was able to catch and keep gizzards at the house. I sold some and at that point in about 2007, I started my business called Georgia Bait Company. My goal was to supply shad and shiners (I had a great source for MAGNUM shiners at the time) to local bait shops and people who wanted to come buy them. Shortly after I applied for my business license, I became very ill with a disease called Myositis which knocked me down for a couple of years. I didn't know if I was even going to survive at one point, but I fought my way back and the medication I took was able to control the symptoms. I still have the disease (you never get rid of it), but as far as people who have Myositis go, I'm one of the best cases they've ever seen.

So skip a few bad years...I meet my wife and we get married after only dating for 8 months. Moved to Acworth, working for the GA forestry comm as a research forester. I had dabbled in some pond stocking prior to getting sick when the shad were plentiful at the Sinclair power plant and decided to give it another try. I put a small ad on the GON website for $75 a month which was a lot of money for a guy making $24k a year trying to support a family. My wife worked as a teacher and was making about $35k so we were ok, but still hurting a little. The ad got a little attention from a company in Alabama who asked me if I had capacity to haul x number of shad. I didn't have the capacity, but assured them that I did.

I had invested in the stock market in Sirius satellite radio stock when it was very low. That stock had started to come up and was actually peaking so I sold it for a smooth 22K profit and invested that in a truck, trailer, tanks, and equipment I needed to upgrade my current Tundra and small trailer setup. My rig went from 2 tanks to 5 tanks and from about 9000 lbs to 21000 lbs. I made enough to quit the forestry job (BARELY!!), and make it to the next spring. I added some business the next year but the Sinclair source dried up when they shut the plant down for some repairs. I scrambled and still managed to make my quota.

All of this experience and time on the water and netting, keeping, hauling shad made me pretty good at it! Pretty soon the opportunity to open the store just unfolded right before my face and I took it. That was in late 2011. It's really been since then that my shad catching, netting, and bait network has really flourished. It's been really cool to be able to do this and make a living. It is pretty constant work, and a lot of road time, and some really miserable days on the water (cold, hot, wet, wind) but it's usually possible to net around the weather. I wouldn't say we've perfected anything because we still have die offs and can't keep shad from certain sources, but it's going well enough to sustain me and my family and my two employees.

Basically a lifetime of on the water experience, netting, handling shad and just in the past 4 or 5 years really HARDCORE baitfishing has led me to where I am at this point. Which is 3 shad-dependent businesses which are all doing pretty ok at this point. I've got some great guys I work with who I've selected as up to the task. Mike and Chris, my guys in Acworth are dedicated and enjoy keeping the operation going and do it without question of fail. David and Sean up at the TN store have kicked total ass up there and have one amazing operation going on. If you haven't gotten to go by, I suggest a trip to the area just to go by the store.

I plan on doing this until I can't anymore. There are some days that wear you out and you have to put the net down and leave. Other times, you swear it's so easy and have to laugh at all the frustration from other trips. I have netted shad in a few dozen different lakes/rivers/ponds and anywhere else I can find it. From nasty backwater sloughs, clear rocky rivers to wide open deep water, chasing shad is what I do, and YOU CAN'T DO WHAT I DO. :D :P ;)

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June 10th, 2016, 10:13 am
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Joined: February 18th, 2016, 8:03 pm
Posts: 126
Post Re: The Chef is also the Shad Man
If it weren't for you, this board, and the guys that support it, I wouldn't know jack sh!t about stripers, bait, bait tanks and such. Thank you and all the members here. :salute: :salute: :salute:


June 10th, 2016, 6:11 pm
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Joined: June 23rd, 2012, 10:52 pm
Posts: 1196
Location: Hickory, NC
Post Re: The Chef is also the Shad Man
Wow, that is how it is done. Awesome write-up :chef:. It has really been a privilege for me to be a part of this group. I've gained a lot of knowledge, but more importantly have made some new friends and relationships that I think will last a lifetime. You da' man!


June 10th, 2016, 11:04 pm
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Joined: April 16th, 2011, 1:54 pm
Posts: 491
Location: Verona Ky/Norris lake
Post Re: The Chef is also the Shad Man
Thanks for sharing your story :chef: !!


June 10th, 2016, 11:31 pm
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Joined: May 1st, 2016, 2:17 pm
Posts: 126
Location: wilkes nc
Post Re: The Chef is also the Shad Man
Great wright up :chef: Congrats on your success :bow: :clap: :tupl:


June 11th, 2016, 10:02 am
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Joined: March 26th, 2011, 8:30 pm
Posts: 7314
Location: Lake Allatoona
Post Re: The Chef is also the Shad Man
Someone else share your story. Will how did you become a dentist?

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June 11th, 2016, 10:32 am
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Joined: May 1st, 2016, 2:17 pm
Posts: 126
Location: wilkes nc
Post Re: The Chef is also the Shad Man
Well i always knew i enjoyed fixing cars since i was in high school . I had no money for a collage or tech school so I found job corp in news paper and found out it was free, so off i went. Moved to KY. to attend job corp for auto training completed the 1.5 yr training in 5 mo. so i was able to go to advanced training program in Clearfield UT. Hang around there 2 years or so and completed 4 of the 5 programs.After schooling was over found my first dealership job at Freeway Olds Cad in Ogden UT.Worked there as a Cad tech 2 years then moved back to NC and found a job at GM dealer in Ashe co. NC. NOW this was an old school kind of shop, so did not stay there long 4 mo and hated it. Moved to my current job in early 1999 at a GM dealer as a cadillac tech. Now specializing in GM electrical ,infotainment and driveability concerns. Have always enjoyed the finding and fixing of that pain in the ass problem that no one could find. I either spend my free time FISHING or mtb riding or rock climbing.also have seem too be the boat rigger, mech ,for all the friends


June 11th, 2016, 6:06 pm
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Joined: April 1st, 2011, 7:31 pm
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Location: Tazewell, TN
Post Re: The Chef is also the Shad Man
Nice FRIEND.


June 11th, 2016, 7:51 pm
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Joined: March 30th, 2011, 10:41 am
Posts: 1740
Location: Conyers, GA
Post Re: The Chef is also the Shad Man
That is a nice write up Shawn. You've come a long way and made a real impact on striper fishing. We're pulling for your continued success.

I enjoyed yours too Travis.

Not sure how to do these, so I'm putting mine on a new thread.


June 11th, 2016, 9:11 pm
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Joined: March 26th, 2011, 8:30 pm
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Location: Lake Allatoona
Post Re: The Chef is also the Shad Man
Mike Werner wrote:
That is a nice write up Shawn. You've come a long way and made a real impact on striper fishing. We're pulling for your continued success.

I enjoyed yours too Travis.

Not sure how to do these, so I'm putting mine on a new thread.


Yes please start a new thread for your own story/biography!

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June 12th, 2016, 11:36 am
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Joined: September 30th, 2016, 11:00 pm
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Location: Tennessee River, Chattanooga
Post Re: The Chef is also the Shad Man
Excellent story there, Shawn... Very similar to my own... Awesome that you were able to fight thru hell to get where you are brother.

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October 2nd, 2016, 4:22 pm
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Post The Chef was also a swimmer
Addendum#1: Some of you know but most probably don't know I used to be one of the fastest dudes in the pool when I was younger. Nowhere near Michael Phelps fast, these guys nowadays are turbo charged compared to us! Some of my claims to fame are:

-#1 Ranking in 15-16 age group in 100YD backstroke.
-Won the 200M IM in San Antonio at Olympic Festival. At the time that swim put me on the world top 100 of all-time at about 30th. Nowadays, it's barely faster than the girls go.
-Won 50M backstroke in Paris, France at an international invitational meet on the National JR. team. We were swimming against most nations' Olympic teams including Spain, France, and Ukraine.
-All-American at U of Tennessee multiple years and was one of only a few on the team who had a 100% scholarship.
-We won the SEC title which was held in Knoxville in 1996, despite Auburn being favored to win. It was an AMAZING competition. We were also unbeaten in our dual meet record that year. I got a big fat ring with McNew, a "T", Sec Champions, 12-0, and Molon Labe displayed on it.
-Several Runner up finishes at SEC Champs in back and IM. Never could attain the gold, but my times I swam would have won the events in other years.
-State Records, including breaking a 20 year old Steve Lundquist IM record. My 50 yd back record in 10&u age group lasted a good while.
-Still have records on the books for Gwinnett Co. that I don't think will ever be beat since I set them in a 25M pool that doesn't exist anymore and they all swim yards now. :D
-I have enough medals and ribbons to wallpaper a small bedroom.
-The only stroke I didn't log a top-16 ranked time in was butterfly.
Lots of other cool stuff, but the above is most notable.

:fish2:

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October 10th, 2016, 1:38 pm
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Joined: February 1st, 2013, 12:00 pm
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Post Re: The Chef is also the Shad Man
For those of you who are not "into" competitive swimming, it is the hardest sport out there imo. What Shawn just wrote about above is...well...fucking awsome! He better be able to throw a 12 footer all day long.


October 10th, 2016, 2:17 pm
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Joined: March 30th, 2011, 10:41 am
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Location: Conyers, GA
Post Re: The Chef is also the Shad Man
That's a good point Roland. It is fun to think of where we might rank in our area of expertise or talent. One in a hundred. One in a thousand. One in a hundred thousand. One in a half million. Any who have competed at any level can only marvel at the level Shawn was competing at.


October 10th, 2016, 7:53 pm
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Joined: March 26th, 2011, 8:30 pm
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Location: Lake Allatoona
Post Re: The Chef is also the Shad Man
This surfaced today on Facebook. OLD records!


Attachments:
shiloh swimming records 2016.jpg
shiloh swimming records 2016.jpg [ 56.28 KiB | Viewed 632 times ]

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October 15th, 2016, 2:56 pm
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