I have never had a shad take a fly off the surface. I have also used both sinking tips and floating line and had great success with both so I wouldn't say that you need one over the other. My shad flies all have the dumbell eyes or a set of beads at the head. Just enough to get it to where it needs to be. OBviously if the current is stronger then I will get a heavier weighted fly to keep it in the same zone for the fish. These fish have a really sift mouth so when they strike set the hook but don't horse them.. you will want to land these fish as quick as you can if you are planning on releasing them because of the lactic acid build up in the tissues.