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we catch em real deep after a thaw, if at all! tie some 1/4" rope on to your cast net line and let er down! use duct tape around your weights and it will stay open oon the way down. also, don't put tension on the rope as it goes down, or it will close too early, but do leave it running through your hand. this will allow you to detect vibrations of baitfish struggling in the net. if you don't feel that fluttering, let the net go all the way to the end of the rope. if you feel fluttering and allow it to sink after that, you could lose some bait, and at a time when it's hard to come by!
 

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I catch shad after ice-out on shallow mud flats. I don't get the numbers, that I catch when the water warms up. I usually stick to creek chubs in the early spring and winter. I set my bait traps in the deep creek holes. The creek chubs lay up for the winter in these areas. They are pretty easy to catch.
 
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