How to Catch Shad

How to Catch Shad

Shad are giant herring that live in the ocean but reproduce in freshwater each spring. They’re originally from the East Coast, but they’ve spread west as well. Shad are caught for food and sport, but they are also used as bait for larger fish such as blue catfish, bass, and stripers.

Finding Shad

1. In coastal rivers, look for shad. Shad spend most of their time in the sea and coastal rivers, where they migrate in the spring to breed. They are known as “poor man’s salmon” because they may migrate hundreds of kilometres upstream in a single season. However, unlike salmon, most shad do not perish after spawning.

  • The Colombia and Sacramento rivers in the Western United States are the greatest areas to catch shad.
  • The Connecticut River is the finest site to find shad in the Eastern United States. Shad, on the other hand, may be found in rivers all the way down to Florida.

2. In the spring and summer, you may catch fish. Because shad spend their autumns and winters in the ocean, the optimum time to catch them is in the spring and summer, when they return to the rivers and are much simpler to catch. The majority of anglers start catching shad in April and May.

3. Where there is a strong stream, fish. You want to capture the fish as they swim upstream, thus you should face the river. They’ll migrate closer to the coast, where the current is less powerful. Look for spots where the river bends, since the current is stronger there and the fish will be pushed closer to the beach.

  • Shad cluster on rocks and islands, where the water flow changes from rapid to sluggish. They are often found beneath cover, which provides a break in the current.

4. Fish at the depths of 4 and 10 feet (1.2 and 3.0 metres). Shad are easier to capture in water that is no more than 10 feet (3.0 m) deep and no less than 4 feet (1.2 m). To figure out where you should set up shop, consult the fishing guides for the river you wish to fish.

5. Within 30 feet (9.1 metres) of the bank, fish. Because fish hug the coast to escape the river as they travel upstream, casting within 30 feet (9.1 m) of the bank increases your chances of catching them. You could wish to anchor a small boat depending on where you’re fishing to offer you greater casting flexibility.

Choosing Gear

1. Invest on a light rod and line. Shad fishing does not need the use of a hefty rod. Choose a fibreglass spinning or fly rod that is long and light. For the size fish available in your area, use the lightest line you can find.

2. Use hooks that don’t have barbs. This will make releasing other fish that you aren’t looking for much simpler. For shad, silver or gold size 1 or 2 works are acceptable.

3. Make sure you’re using the proper bait and lures. You’ll need to individually entice bigger, heavier shad with the correct bait and lures if you want to capture them. Change them around to see what works best with the fish in your region.

  • Popular are white or yellow flies with red heads.
  • In the cooler water, beads should be utilised to lure and attract the deeper shad. Cast the beads upstream, letting them to gently drift towards the shad, giving them a lifelike appearance. Just make sure there’s enough weight on the bottom for the beads to bounce off.
  • When fishing in deeper, colder water, darts should be utilised. They’ll drop deeper and more quickly than a fly.
  • When fishing from the beach, spinners should be used to drift from upstream to downstream.
  • Spoons operate well in water that is around mid-level. When fishing from a boat, throw out and reel in at a medium pace using these.

4. If you wish to capture smaller fish to use as bait, use a net. For the shad you’re catching, you’ll need the right mesh in your casting net. The wider mesh holes will allow smaller shad to fall through. A standard shad casting net has a circumference of 7 ft (2.1 m), weighs 12 pound (230 g), and has a mesh size of 12 inch (1.3 cm).

  • Soak the net overnight in a washing machine or tub with hot water and fabric softener to make it simpler to toss and more effective. After then, let it in the sun for a day. The net will be more flexible and simpler to use after it has dried.

Using Effective Techniques

1. Recognize their routines. The placement of shads in the water changes depending on the weather. During the spring and summer, look for shad early in the evening or just before sunrise (though you can catch them at any time of day).

  • Shad may be found in the warmer water towards the rear of a cove or stream in the evenings. Shad may be seen near light sources in the mornings or after dark.
  • You’ll have to plan more around the chilly weather patterns in the autumn. The shad will be pushed out of the creeks and coves into deeper water by the cooler currents, making them more difficult to capture.

2. Cast your line upstream. Casting upstream and letting your line drift downstream with the water is the greatest technique to catch shad. Your lead should gently flick the bottom, but not so far that it becomes stuck. With any luck, it’ll come upon a school of shad. Make sure you’re casting within 30 feet (9.1 metres) of the beach, and look for a point where the rapid river meets the slower stream.

3. Attempt to locate the line. Rather of travelling in large groups, Shad go in single file lines. That means it’s all too easy to come home empty-handed after a day of fishing in the wrong area and missing the shad line by a few feet or even inches. If you don’t get a bite on your first few casts, don’t give up.

4. Cast more than once at the same location. Keep fishing that line after you’ve found it. There will always be more shad where there is one. The appeal of shad fishing stems in part from the ability of a fisherman to return home with a cooler full of fresh fish at the end of the day; all you have to do is locate that line, and you’re good to go.

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