Menhaden shad

Discussion in 'LOCAL TEXAS TALK' started by tufffish, Jan 18, 2007.

  1. tufffish

    tufffish New Member

    has anyone had any luck using the big shad from salt water in a lake. i tried some last year in a lake in oklahoma with limited sucess. i was wondering if it is worth another try.
  2. JAinSC

    JAinSC Active Member

    South Carolina
    I cast net menhaden and use them for catfish bait a lot. The coastal rivers I fish in SC often have menhaden in them in the summer and fall (the juveniles live in the rivers in brackish, low sailinty water). The ones in the river usually are not real big - like 2 to maybe 8 inches for a big one (they run in schools by size).

    Anyway, they make great bait - they are very bloody and oily. I find, though, that they have to be very fresh. Even just sitting in the cooler of ice for a few hours, they seem to start softening up. Don't even think about freezing them, they just turn to mush.

    I've heard 2 ways of keeping them fresher: for short term storage, the best way is to put them in a cooler, but don't let them touch the ice, like keep them separated by a layer of newspaper or something (not in a plastic bag, they sit in their own juice and don't keep as well).

    The second way (supposedly good for up to a couple of days, is to keep them in ice cold salt water. Either add a good bunch of salt to you cooler and a bit of water, or fill a cooler with water and then add salt water from the ocean. Thing is, you have to keep adding ice as it melts and add more salt as it is diluted by the melting ice.

    That's kind of a lot of work for me. I just try to catch them fresh. When I can't get menhaden, I usually end up using cut mullet (another saltwater baitfish that comes up into the rivers). They are almost as good for bait and keep fresh easier, because they are not as oily.