River-shad baitfish

Discussion in 'Catfishing Baits' started by onlyriverfish, Sep 4, 2006.

  1. onlyriverfish

    onlyriverfish Member

    Messages:
    319
    State:
    Nebraska
    Name:
    james
    How do baitfish use structure in big rivers?
    Shad I find are found in backwaters (slow)and like the cover of bank structure to dart into away from predators when they are smaller. I figure as they get bigger, they move out to more open water like the head of wing dikes. But I also see what I figure are shad often in the channel as well and sometimes scattered sometimes relating to bottom sometimes structure. Im allways looking for buched up indicating predation,but hoping to gain more insight.

    Seems to be a definite size to location corrolation as to where they are at, but are they allway schooled either loosly or bunched up? Whats thier life cycle?

    Is anyone looking for scattered fish in channels as indicators or reading anything from that?
    Thanks.
     
  2. onlyriverfish

    onlyriverfish Member

    Messages:
    319
    State:
    Nebraska
    Name:
    james
    I had a very good July. Hindsight-Must have been the post spawn. During that time I noticed alot of balled-up baitfish indicating predation. Definite corrolation, but at the time I figured this was an ordinary day.

    Hasnt been as good since and also have seen less tight-balls of bait.

    Had a worthless night recently no bites, no graphed fish and no balls of bait. Happened to fish all night and in the am noticed things felt like they were picking up (but had to leave anyway)-started seeing couple of tight balls with arch behind at structure-current breaks......

    Q: There is a corrolation, do any of you find same?

    This is shad I assume, but how about other baitfish predations observed.
     

  3. laidbck111

    laidbck111 New Member

    Alot of "feeder" fish/bait fish do this. I have noticed it in the ocean as well as the river and lakes. They group up to form the "baitball" to escape predation, power in numbers. And it is thought that it confuses the predator fish. I think that the size correlation to where you locate them may be correct and that the fry tend to stick together for the reasons mentioned above. Safety being another reason. Shad, herring and mullet all do it.
     
  4. onlyriverfish

    onlyriverfish Member

    Messages:
    319
    State:
    Nebraska
    Name:
    james
    My only observation thus far has been (I assume) are shad predation when they are balled up and blues nearby.
    There are plenty of other baitfish that get predation from blues I know.
    Dont recall ever seeing herring (skippies) being predated, figure blue just either position to snatch em or hang behind stripers.

    I bet others have observed such predation and would love to hear about it.

    The whole idea though is I am trying to use graph to look for these predations to indicate when fish are more active.

    Can the baitfish be a real time indicator of what our prey is up to?
    Can assumptions be made on days where baitfish are scattered.
     
  5. laidbck111

    laidbck111 New Member

    Can the baitfish be a real time indicator of what our prey is up to?
    Can assumptions be made on days where baitfish are scattered.



    Bait fish can be an indicator but it is not always blues that are feeding on them. I have heard and seen catfish follow the baitfish which are also being chased by stripers and other fish. As for making assumptions when the bait fish are scattered I couldn't say. I have had some very good days fishing when the bait fish were scattered but I have also had some tough days. The bait ball are an indication that fish are activly feeding along with skipping across the top of the water.
     
  6. StuBone278

    StuBone278 New Member

    Messages:
    625
    State:
    south central Louisiana
    I'm also trying to find more shad. I usually cast-net them on a flat along the inside bend of the river that I fish, but I have been seeing less and less since summer. I think they may migrate up into a lake upriver from me. I do still catch a lot of mullet, though.
     
  7. onlyriverfish

    onlyriverfish Member

    Messages:
    319
    State:
    Nebraska
    Name:
    james
    I never paid much attention to (river) baitfish to fish corrolation before. I simply sonared what I considered obvious ambush spots and fished them.

    Maybe its the newer electronics with better screen resolution or just looking for better "real time indicators" than weather, water temp and such to indicate patterns-predictabillity.
    I dont believe predictabillity is a lost cause (yet).

    I have no longterm historical data to correlate success to bait observations other than this year.

    These days I find myself actively looking for baitfish predation alot more while mindfull that fish may be at a spot before the bait gets there so not to miss fishing locations (ambush spots).

    Would love to hear input from tracking studies or commercial fishermen who have netted areas to learn something new.

    I have a trawl net that used several years ago and never again and may have to re-try it to confirm some baitfish/graph activity at spots.
     
  8. just cats

    just cats New Member

    Messages:
    325
    State:
    Leslie Missouri
    Great post james, those are some very good questions. I wish I could answer some of them but you are way ahead of me in just thinking of the question in the first place. I'll be watching this thread closely , lot's to be learned here. Thanks for asking and helping us all to learn.