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last year I was catching these 2 to 3 inch shad..hooked them whole and after not getting any bites or when I'm moving I step on the shad mushing it up a little and try throwing it out again. Worked a few times last year.
 

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fresh caught goes on the hook whole. if that don't produce i will start cutting it up. the big shad get cut up right away.
 

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If I can't catch skipjacks.... I like big shad, still flopping. Cut straight down behind the head about as far down as the eye, then make a diagonal cut down to the end of the anal fin. This gives you the head with gut pocket attached. I learned about this "maja cut" from a saltwater magazine about trophy striper fishing. Big blues seem to like it too.
 
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