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my buddy and i recently bought a bait tank. we used to put shad in the live well and when they died we put them on ice to keep them fresh. i read an article a guide wrote that he did a study (unscientific) where he put on cut shad that had been on ice on rods and fresh cut shad on rods and he found that the fresh shad got bites like 3x more than the shad that had been on ice. he said that once the shad had been dead over two hours the bite went down significantly. no, he wasn't selling anything either. we have had great success keeping them alive but its been cold. i know when the weather heats up it will start being more difficult. i read where you need to put salt in the water and that helps keep them from getting red nose and keeps them alive. i really dont want to put salt water in my boat for obvious reasons. would like some tips from anyone that uses bait tanks what you add to your water. it would also help if it was economical. i know to change the water and keep it cool. thanks.
 

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shad are the most delicate fish i ever saw, i had this problem till i put in a positive flow bait tank. But, there are some steps you can take to help maintain your shad ,make sure your bait tank has round corner use either a oval or round tank, keep fresh water in your tank by replacing the water every hours or two, when you catch your shad put them in a holding bucket with water before you put them in the bait tank, this will allow the shad to stress and shed scales outside of the bait tank, any bait saver is always a good idea. a frozen 2lt bottle frozen will keep the water temp down for a long time. also keeping a good O2 content in the water is vital, good luck
 

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shad are the most delicate fish i ever saw, i had this problem till i put in a positive flow bait tank. But, there are some steps you can take to help maintain your shad ,make sure your bait tank has round corner use either a oval or round tank, keep fresh water in your tank by replacing the water every hours or two, when you catch your shad put them in a holding bucket with water before you put them in the bait tank, this will allow the shad to stress and shed scales outside of the bait tank, any bait saver is always a good idea. a frozen 2lt bottle frozen will keep the water temp down for a long time. also keeping a good O2 content in the water is vital, good luck
thanks for that tip ncfowler
 

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I think circulation , temperature of water and some shadkeep are important. Plus overcrowding seems to be a big killer. Seems they have problems with the pressure in a small tank vs coming out of 10 ft of water.........I'd probably find the oxygen layer and take a wire basket and lower them to that depth and see if it works better.
 

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Good info guys! Thanks a bunch! I've never had any luck keeping them alive for any period of time at all. I'll have to try that bait saver, hope it'll work for me.:confused2:
I have even tried them in a 5 gallon bucket with a good aerator and kept it cool and changed the water often but they always die on me.
 

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Never really worried about keeping the shad alive. Usually cut them up, and use live perch. Are they really better alive? Seem to work great dead. Gonna have to try to keep em alive sometime I guess. :tounge_out:
 

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Never really worried about keeping the shad alive. Usually cut them up, and use live perch. Are they really better alive? Seem to work great dead. Gonna have to try to keep em alive sometime I guess. :tounge_out:
I'm with you ,Mat. I never really try to keep them alive,Just put them on ice as soon as caught and keep the water drained from them. never noticed any slowdown in the bite ,fresh is good even if dead.
 

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i kept 50 big shad alive for 4 days this last week. I used 30 gal drum, changed the water every day, had air pump (bilge w/ 1/4" air hose) and recirc pump keeping water circulating in tank. I made a filter system but i think it wasnt working right but who really knows. I put 2 cups of rocksalt in the water for the 30 gals but had problems w/ foam. so i changed from rock salt to shad keeper, took alot of the foam off.
I also added smaller threadfin shad periodically and they are much harder to keep alive than the gizzard shad
 
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