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Large Shad

3039 Views 24 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  tryin2learn
No problem getting 2-3 inch shad with an occational 4 incher but how do you get the big ones? Plus, does putting two or three smaller ones on the hook work as well as one large shad? Any info appreciated.
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Hey Bill what's up? The way we get our shad, shiners, and blue gills is by a cast net. We have a dam that we go to in our friends neighborhood. On the bottom side of the dam, it is very shallow and is loaded with baifish. Throwing the net is sort of tricky,but we always get plenty. I have heard of people putting three hooks in their baitfish, but I always just use a 7/0 or 8/0 circle chunk hook. The fishing has been terrible where I'm from(Indiana) for the past two or three months. I think it is due to no rain and steady 90's. Terrible, anyways good luck fishing and let me know if you do any good!

P.S.- How did you get your reputation color to change? Thanx.
I go to a lake not to far from me at night. The shad come shallow and infest the water. Most of them are in the 5" - 12" range. I start out in the cove in around 20 foot of water and start shining the spot light to see if I can get them to jump.
When I only catch small shad (2-3"), I always put 3 or 4 on my hook. I usually cut the tails off of a couple to add a little extra scent. I caught a 47 lb Blue this way at the end of June.
Hey Bill. I've had alot of luck using several of those small shad as well. When I use alot of them, I hook them through the hard part of their heads so its hard for a fish to get them off. IMO, with several of them on a hook it looks like they are fighting over food or something. The Blues, Channels and Flats didnt seem to mind that there were four of them. I know what your talking about though, sometimes thats all I can find too is those little bitty things. They still work. Good Luck. Oh, As for the big ones, I usually find them off the tips of the *****, right where the main channel current and backflow current meet. Youll have to be carefull though so you dont get your net hungup on the rocks. I also find the big shads on the tip of the sand bar thats immediately adjacent to the tip of the rock wall. I target the two current lines there as well. They seem to like hanging where those two currents meet. Make sure you get the net on the slack water side, not the main current side. Hope this helps.
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I to have a hard time catching large shad,but i do catch a bunch of small
ones.What i do then is cut them and mix them in with my cut blue gill,gives
the cut bait XXXscent seems to work real well for me.that makes the trip
to throw the net well worth the time.
Thanks for the info guys! I've seen a few guy's use really big shad like a 1/4 pound or better, I wonder where they get them? I would love to use them but never seem to catch them in my throw net. I wonder if they fish for them somehow?
I get the bigger ones by going out in my boat and throwing the cast net into deeper water.
I find bigger shad at night not always though they can be hard to find sometimes. :0a26:
LilRyjoe04, turtle1173, Crazy, Capt. Kirk, Jetdriver, Desperado and CatfishWEIRDO, all great tips and I'll try them! I'll try the night/evening with lights and see how I do. If I don't find any big ones I'll put several on my hook!

I was watching "Big Cat Safari" and they were using a throw net for those big ones (shad), and I mean big shad and catching monster Blues/Flatties on them. It didn't seem they were catching the shad in any special place. They would cut off the heads and use the rest of the body.
Bill, I've seen the small 3"-4" shad work very well for catfish while very fresh, but the smaller they are, the faster they deteriorate. IMO, the cats are attracted by the blood and other body fluids which leach out of the smaller shad much more quickly. While a big shad head can be the ticket when you're targeting really big blues, I prefer to use chunks cut from the body of larger shad. I won't use the tails unless I'm running out of bait.
Lots of good thoughts. It does seem that when I'm catching 3-4" shad, that's about all I catch. However, sometimes a throw to a slightly different spot (perhaps deeper) will net me a few bigger ones. I rarely catch large and small at the same time though.

I certainly prefer the larger ones but they do seem more elusive at times. After all, you can always cut them up :D

I enjoy going over to Barkley Lake Dam and watching the guys pull their boats up on the rocks, pull out a big net and start throwing big ol' shad into the boat. Sure looks easy. Seems a lot harder on the Mississippi with a cast net.
I fish in the Ohio River and a few years ago it seemed like you couldn't throw a net in without getting a net full of huge shad, but lately it seems like they have all dissappeared and all that is left is the small ones....I too would also like to find the big ones cuz I'm sick of putting 3 or 4 shad on the same hook.

so if you end up getting results let me know.
Good Luck
Someone mentioned letting the net go to the bottom for the bigger ones. I'm gonna give that a shot. I'll work the slack water around the mud flats close to the ***** and let my throw net float to the bottom and see what I can bring up...
i have most of my luck below the damn trowin my net in the boil but u have to add weight to yer net kinda tricky but its worth the time cause them hoss daddy shad are in them boils
you guys are lucky to have shad around all year or at least most of the year we have big american shad come up the river between may and june and . and they are 5-8 pounds and we use shad darts, flicker spoons and spinners to catch them. then again we dont need the big ones since we only have small channel catfish here, now we have like inch shad coming down the river and its a great time to imatate them and catch smallmouth and other fish but here i have a thought, i learned it from fishing for sharks in sc off piers, if you see a huge school of shad or other bait take a 2 once sinker on the bottom then 2 or 3 large hooks on the line above it and jerk it in the school takes a little pactice to tell how deep the school is but i snag them very easily often two or three at a time and after i get one i ether bring it up at fast as i can so the sharks dont get it yet if i have to light of a pole and the shad are out far away or just drop the shad down below the school if i have a larger pole big enough for the sharks and i bet the same tatic could be used for catfish,
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I think it's risky letting the net sink to the bottom, I have lost countless nets that way so be careful. It may work for you so best of luck to you.
I hear ya man, I won't let it go to the bottom until I know it's free from trash. The mudflats are pretty safe. I'll use my rod with a sinker to check the bottom before I throw. That may help some.
Hey Bill. You will find those large shad in the same spots you are catching the little ones, just a little deeper. I've been getting my 8-10 inch shad in about 6-8 feet of water. As for fishing them, The large ones are sort of a pain in the a..... They really like to swim and often tie up my other lines. I found the cure to this......I cut off their tail. Not in the meat part, but just the tail itself. They stay very lively, and just do alot of thrashing with no forward movement. I've found it adds to the action considerably. As you know, you wont get alot of bites on these huge baits, but when you do hang on. Another problem I've been working on, is my hookup percentage isnt very good on these big baits. I'm missing too many. I'm in the process of trying a stinger hook, with one hook in the mouth of the shad and the stinger in his aft dorsal. Just like salt water captains do when they are trolling ballyhoo and skippys for blue water fish. I'll let you know how it turns out. I really think it will work. Not trying to be a know it all, just thought I'd save you some wasted time on river by letting you know the mistakes I've made with these big baits. Good Luck catching those Shad and monster fish.
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Jagal & Cross, I hear ya, Nets get expensive and there are only soo many times you can repair one before you hafta throw it away & start over.

Jagal, That "Thing" (gar) you are holding eats it's own body weight in baitfish every day. That's one reason I kill every one I possibly can~!
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