There are different ways to catch Herring (Skipjack). First you can catch them with a jig and grub combination on a rod and reel. Second you can use a casting net. And some states will let you use a trawl net that you can pull behind a boat. My favorate is the the rod and reel with a jig and grub. I set a rig up with three jigs on 36 inch leader, one 1/4 oz jig at the bottom and two 1/8 oz jig approximly 12 inches apart. The bottom grub is a white 3 inch grub and on the 1/8 jig you can use any color of 2 inch grubs (I like yellow or orange). Then just find the shad schooled up, that the skipjack breaking the surface. Just cast your rig in the middle of those shad and start reeling it back and hold on for some fun.
I've yet to catch a skipjack in my castnet here in SEMO. Shad and goldeye are the only baitfish I've caught. Do they run in this part of the Miss? They catch them all the time with jigs at the dam at Kentucky lake.
You will have a very hard time catching skipjack in a net. Try crappie jigs or grubs or small spoons. If using jigs or grubs, tie a few on a foot or so apart. Look for fast moving current around rock dikes, power plant discharges, or rocks.
I have only heard of a coupple of people using them for cats and I have never used them before. But I did hear a guy talking about catching them on a jig on the bottom. He said he caught a ton, and they worked great for cats
Skipjack are generally a better bait than shad because they are oilier. While I've seen them caught on such things as small bright shiny spoons, those baits are too expensive, considering that skippies fight so hard that it's not unusual for them to break off. Saviki rigs work well, but I've always had just as much success using various types of crappie jigs. Use different sizes of jigs depending on whether you need to fish right on top, a few feet under, or want to go deep. Likewise, you can use 2"-3" curlytail grubs, tubes, feathers, or hair on the jig, but plastic is a lot easier and quicker to replace after a dozen or so skippies get through chewing. While I sometimes tie a jig on the end of my line with one dropper 12"-18" above, when I want to be able to quickly change both jigs, I use a dropper at the end of my line too. Look for places where the current is faster than usual, and try the fast current, the current break, and the slack water right next to the fast water, starting with a fast retreive, then slowing it down; try a jerky retreive, then a steady one; shallow, then deeper. The schools of skippies sometimes pass through the area, go on to other locations, then come back through, resulting in frantic activity for a few minutes, then almost nothing for 10-30 minutes.
Thanks guys, I'll be sure to try all of your technics.
I'll go out this weekend and catch a bunch for a fish-fry for everyone. Hummm I wonder how many BOC members there are? Guess I better catch a bunch eh'
If you're after the small skippies for live bait, you can't beat a sabiki rig. For the bigger ones, I use a couple of white curly-tail jigs (with some extra weight in front if the current is too strong to sink the lead-heads).