Help in Keeping Shad Alive

Discussion in 'LOCAL MISSOURI TALK' started by perch, Jul 9, 2006.

  1. perch

    perch New Member

    Moberly, Missouri
    I was wondering if you guys can tell me how to keep shad alive. I have read some post where they are using live shad, but I don't have much luck keeping them alive. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. RiverKing

    RiverKing Active Member

    Yellow Spr
    I wish i could help you, but i have the same problem a lot of times

  3. blindfly69

    blindfly69 New Member

    well first and foremost is will need an aerator if you wish to keep them alive for very long. lol they cant live in low water quality.i like to try and keep the water cool for them......that's pretty much all i know....sometimes i get lucky and they live lol
  4. suddawg

    suddawg New Member

    Must have round container. If you put them in a tank with corners they will bunch up and die.

    Put some non-iodized salt into the water, this will help prevent scale loss

    Must have really good filtration. They will be very stressed and their urine will make the water have ammonia buildup.

    And cold water.

  5. diodeman

    diodeman New Member

    Benton Co. Mo.

    Walter L. Flack
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    Shad Tanks and Keeping Bait


    Water: Should be kept moving and changed often in bait holding devices in boats. Baitfish forced to swim will absorb more oxygen due to water flowing accross thier gills.

    Aerator: This mixes the water and adds oxygen. Paddle aerators work well but can beat the scales off the bait.

    Temperatures: Kept between 50-62 degrees are best. Check with the bait man and try to get within a few degrees to keep from shocking the bait during transfer. Warm water means lower oxygen levels. Cool your water by adding ice, but do it slowly, rapid temperature change can result in shock or death. 3 degrees per minute is a good guideline. Buy an inexpensive temperature gauge. This can be a valuable tool to have.

    Chemicals: Salt is the most important ingredient (use rock salt; never iodized) 10 gallons- 2/3 cup 20 gallons- 1 1/2 cups 30 gallons- 2 cups 40 gallons- 2 2/3 cups. hardens and bonds scales to Shad. Replaces valuable electrolytes lost due to stress. Should always be used in holding tanks. Chlorine: If you are using city water or ice, use a chlorine killer. Most bait dealers can order this or will have some form of chlorine killer. It's cheap, and it kills the chlorine before you put the shad in the tank, not after.

    Ammonia : Caused by waste products from stressed shad resulting in red nose shad, loss of scales, loss of color, dead shad, and dirty, foamy water.Change or clean water regularly or filter with cotton and charcoal.

    Foam: Caused by ammonia and dirty water. Foam on the water cuts down on the oxygen level. Non dairy coffee creamer works well. Using defoamers allows proper oxygen transfer add one or two drops until foam disappears.

    Bait Saver: 1 teaspoon per 25 gallons helps coat scale damaged areas eliminates chlorine and trace metals

    Red Nosed Shad: If you experience this you are doing something wrong. Caused by stress , over crowding or using a non-oval tank .

    Filtration: Can be done through a developed system in the tank or changing water. If you change the water watch your temperature rise and fall.

    Amount: I shad per gallon of water. Adjust this formula with the season. The hotter the weather, the less shad in the tank.

    Guidelines:The effort you put forth in caring for bait will greatly enhance your ability to catch fish. It is always best to mix a fresh tank of water. Match tank size and air to load requirements. Keep temperature steady and in desired range and mix in proper chemicals. Your bait will stay livelier and help you catch more fish.
    Walter L. Flack
    BOC member since July 2002

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  6. kccats

    kccats New Member

    Olathe, Kansas
    What they said!
  7. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    I kept 24 to 36 shad alive all weekend in my Grayline bait tank. It's horrendously expensive (I bought mine used, but still paid about 3/4 of new) but it absolutely works. I caught shad on Friday evening, kept them alive all night and used them on Truman lake on Saturday. We caught more shad on Truman and I kept them alive for today's trip out on the Missouri. I had exactly 3 dead fish in the bait tank that entire time.

    The important things to worry about are pretty much summarized in Diodeman's post. Change the water frequently, keep it salted, keep it cool and keep it filtered and you'll have good results. Also don't over-crowd the fish; no more than one 6" shad per gallon of water.

    Note that you can't take a shad from 80 degree water and plop him into 60 degree water - the shock will kill him in minutes. They can handle about a 10 degree differential at the most. So cool the wate (with bagged ice) *after* you've got them in the bait tank.

    Finally, when you first catch them, put them in a regular livewell or some other container for the first 30 minutes or so - that gives them time to puke, poop, lose scales and generally pollute the water from their stress before you put them in the bait tank. Transfer them to the bait tank with a net, keep that cruddy water out.
  8. BigKat24-7

    BigKat24-7 New Member

    I am currently building a live well myself out of a large cooler and an aeration system. i will probably use a filter system to keep the scales of the shad from clogging the pump. i recently read about one system where a guy put about a cup of rock salt in his aerated cooler live well and the shad were lively for over two days but haven't tried it myself will let you know when i do!
  9. elalr

    elalr New Member

    warsaw missouri
    they couldnt have said it better. fresh water, cool water, well aerated water, and most importantly luck
  10. laidbck111

    laidbck111 New Member

    couldn't have said it better
  11. blackhorse83

    blackhorse83 New Member

    Shad keeper, some way to move the water, and ice thats what works for me.
  12. SubnetZero

    SubnetZero New Member

    Sherman IL
    There is a bait tank in the Library that I made for less than $50 that I've been having really good luck with.. Or you can opt to spend the big $$ and buy a commercial tank..
  13. sherdan

    sherdan New Member

    Lebanon, Missouri
    My dad was able to keep them alive by putting what he planned to use in a 5 gal. bucket and took a 1 lb. coffee can and dipping one can full of water out and adding one every few minutes. I can't say that I've ever tried it but he liked to use live shad for hybrids and always seemed to have them when he went. If you didn't want to spend the money for a tank might give it a shot. Good luck
  14. Michael Jake

    Michael Jake New Member

    Troy, Missouri
    just got back from MTL and as soon as they are dropped out of the cast net into the live well fresh water is pumped in... the excess were put into a floating wire basket placed in the shade and remained healthy for the 2 days I was there... caught a nice 9 lb. flathead on one... I found they stay alive longer on the hook when hooked thru the front of the dorsal fin... if you are to keep them in a container then the previous info. given on chill, areate and ph plus adding fresh water is the best advice.
  15. Hannibal Mike

    Hannibal Mike New Member

    Hannibal, MO
    I am curious about filtration systems. I have a large tank that I hope to improve for keeping shad. I have rounded the corners of the rectangular 50 gal tank with a plastic liner to make the inside oval. Will a pump with a timer that adds water periodically and overflows the old water work well enough? Or, is it better to have something like a bilge pump that sucks up water, runs it through some type of filter device, then goes back into the tank? What do you think? I am not sure about the drain on the battery from running pumps. Would you wire up to a trolling motor battery or off the starter battery? Hannibal Mike
  16. SubnetZero

    SubnetZero New Member

    Sherman IL
    I got tired of having my shad start dying in my livewell before was done with the casting net, so this year I made myself a baittank for the boat
    You will want some Filtration on a closed system (recirc only). On an open system, you can by without one. On the one I made in the link above, I have one pump, and I can run it in either a closed or open system. I usually run it in open after I've been sitting awhile to let it change out the water on the fly.
    I've used this tank quite a bit now and have been VERY pleased with the results. I've kept Shad and War Mouths in it for over 12 hours with no problems. I have it wired to my Trolling Batt. I've been Day and All nite fishing with it. My Trolling Batt has both fish finders, trolling motor, and cig lighter outlet I rigged up for hooking my spotlight/Black lights I use for nite fishing. I have ran the pump non stop all nite, along with using trolling motor for chasing shad, and fish finders with no problems. Think the pump has less than a 2amp draw.

    The only downfalls I have with it are:
    The pump is not self priming. When first starting, you have to suck the air out of the lines to get it started. No biggy, just have to watch you dont get a mouthfull of lake or worse, TANK water :eek:oooh:
    I've added screens to the intakes (both lake hose and tank tube). Seems the War Mouths/Blue gills puke alot of crap up after putting them in there. There was a Jap Beetle hatch not long ago and the screen would get partially blocked up with bug shells. Just had to reach in and wipe it off with my hand then I just netted the floating stuff out.. Again, no big deal (A filter probably would have helped here)

    Like I say, Im now able to keep my shad alive for hours and hours. They stay nice and frisky with no problems. I have yet to use any chemicals in it. I want to get a cheap floating thermometer to moniter temps. I do notice my Tank seems COOLER to the touch than the lake water after running it in recirc for a while, even though its not insulated. Im guessing its from the recircuilation.
    Big plus, I fill AND drain it on the lake. I dont have to worry about Chlorine, ph Levels, starting water temps, etc etc. I just fill it and go while I'm casting my net or fishing for gills..

    Fire away if you have any Questions ......
  17. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    One of the big problems in many shad tanks, homebuilt or commercial, is that they don't do a good job of getting rid of all the scales that the shad shed. Eventually, the shad wil inhale a scale and get it stuck across their gills, become unable to breathe effectively and die. Eliminate the scales and you eliminate a big part of the problem.

    Whether you filter through a recirculating pump or by constantly adding fresh water, you need to be sure that you're getting rid of those scales. I've seen tanks (bought one on eBay, in fact) that have a big foam filter surrounding the bilge pump - it traps the scales for a while but doesn't do anything to permanently remove them from the tank - jostle the tank or the pump/filter media and they all float right back out in the water.

    The Grayline tank I have has a pickup at the bottom of the tank. A 500 gph bilge pump lifts the water and discharges most of it through a hole in the filter box, designed to provide aeration and movement. A portion of the water overflows onto a 3-layer filter bed that permanently traps all the small particles and scales, then lets the water flow back into the tank. I'm of the opinion that it's the filter that makes this tank so effective, with the insulation being the next most important feature.

    As the water warms up this summer, I think you'll find that a tank that simply pulls fresh water from the lake will become less effective. The shad are already in a high-stress environment; add the stressing effects of water from the surface of the lake (several degrees hotter than the water just a few feet down) and you really make things worse. A recirculating tank where you can add salt and cool the water will almost certainly perform better under those conditions.

    As for powering the tank pump, I have my wired to one of my two trolling motor batteries. I ran it for better than 12 hours without any problems; plugged in the onboard charger when I got home and left it all night, then went out for another 10 hours the following day. On the first day, I also used the trolling motor for about 3 hours so I'm sure the batteries were starting to drain.

    I sure as heck wouldn't use my starting battery to power the pump. I want to be able to get back to the ramp when I'm done fishing!
  18. flatheadsteven

    flatheadsteven New Member

    use an areator and dont keep alot of them in 1 tank cuz it kills them for some reason i only put like 10 or 15 in one tank.i use five gallon buckets and usually cary two buckets of shad.o and keep the water fresh.
  19. Taliesin

    Taliesin New Member

    I notice that there hasn't been much talk about a bank fisherman keeping these things alive, but I do have a couple of things you can try.

    I keep two 5 gallon buckets with me and no more than 4 shad at a time (when I get down to one left it's time to use the net again). One bucket will have shad, the other empty. About every hour I will fill the empty bucket with water and transfer the shad, then empty the old bucket. A bit labor intensive compared to the other methods, but I haven't drilled holes in a bucket yet. I also haven't kept a shad for more than 8 hours.

    As one earlier post mentioned, you can use a wire basket kept in the water.

    I saw one fellow with a 5 gallon bucket that had 1/4" holes drilled all over it. He kept his shad in that bucket and the bucket in the water, just like a wire basket.

    Any of these methods will keep your shad alive more than long enough. With the 5 gallon buckets, you will get shad that have a red nose, but they won't build up enough speed to kill themselves bumping into the sides or bottom.
  20. btmfdr

    btmfdr New Member

    "I saw one fellow with a 5 gallon bucket that had 1/4" holes drilled all over it. He kept his shad in that bucket and the bucket in the water, just like a wire basket"

    as a matter of fact i manged to keep about a dozen shad alive for about six hours in one of those bucket in bucket, strainer type minnow buckets.
    i just put the strainer bucket in the river. no red noses no dead ones. really supprised me though i rhought they would all be goners pretty quick.
    but if yor on a boat and you dont have to carry any thing around a tank with filtration and a pump is the way to go.