Short Strikes on Shad

Discussion in 'Blue Catfishing' started by Mr.T, Oct 10, 2005.

  1. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    What do you do when the blues are striking hard but only hitting part of your shad?

    We were drift fishing yesterday using whole shad 3" or so, hooked through the hard part of the head just behind the eyes. I use 6/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hooks (not circles). Usually I'd put 2 shad on the hook at the same time.

    Time after time, we'd get huge strikes but no hookups. Pull the line in and find the rear 2/3 of the shad either gone or crushed to pieces.

    We managed to catch a few nice eaters but probably missed 4 or 5 for every one we caught. Were the ones we missed just the smaller fish that couldn't gobble the whole shad at once?
  2. Desperado

    Desperado Active Member

    Pataskala, Ohio
    I drift alot and use 5/0-6/0 circles. But it sounds like you might have the hook point going back into the bait and not hooking up the fish. Make sure on the hook that the point is above the bait and clear of scales, so when the bait is taken you get a good hook set. Or just having small fish taking the bait. As I said I went to circle hooks and hook up alot more fish. Just my opinion.


    RIVER-RAT New Member

    MO / MT
    Mr. T, I usually use 3-4in shad with a 7/0 catmaxx bait hook. What works well for me is putting the hook through the mouth and having it exit through the spine right behind the head. Doing this helps keep the bait on the hook alot longer, especially the shad because it is a more delicate fish. After that I tend to cut the tail off as to start the "blood trail" so to speak. With the hook in the middle of the fish and the tail gone, even if the fish are biting at the bait and not taking it and running, I can usually hook'em when they're toying with it.

    Give it a try and see if it works!
  4. bluehunter

    bluehunter New Member

    Los Angele
    Make sure you have enough of the hook exposed. Usually below the barb or more. Also try letting the fish run a little bit if they are finicky. You can even result to circles. Sometimes you have to try an method that works depending on their feeding and striking mood. There been times that circles solved the problem tight lined, or just letting the run a bit with my regular J's and then seeting the hook.
  5. crazy

    crazy New Member

    Kansas CIty, MO
    Make sure the point of the hook is free of scales. This will also cause the hook not to hook up with the fish. When fishing with shad i like to hook them in the eyes.
  6. fastfrank

    fastfrank New Member

    Elgin, Alabama
    It may be the possibility that it wasn't cats hitting your bait, but gars. Gars have a tendency to leave just a piece of the bait left, as they seem to be hard to hook on the larger hooks
  7. bigpapa15206

    bigpapa15206 New Member

    this happens to me all the time. When this starts happening i start using half of a 3-4" shad. Try less freespool tension and let them run with it a bit more.
  8. bigcatkev

    bigcatkev Member

    when there hitting that way I use a method called stitching. Take the circle hook or j hook and take it through the eye and pull out some line then keep doing the same thing all the way down the fish untill you get to the back and make sure that the hook is sticking out plenty. When you get done it looks like you've sewed the line all the way down the top of the fish. Works great!
  9. spoonfish

    spoonfish New Member

    Warsaw, Mo.
    If you had two shad on a 6/0 hook it may not of had enough hook exposed to get a good hook set. Try useing just 1 shad or try useing the gamakatsu octopus circle hooks in a 7/0 or 8/0. If they are still biteing short cut the shad down and try useing just the middle section.
  10. photocat

    photocat New Member

    HOCO, Maryland
    sounds like its smaller fish slaming your bait... i would start off by using a slightly smaller hook like a 3/0... even though a small fish CAN get a 6/0 in its mouth its more likely to get caught on a smaller hook...
  11. TeamCatHazzard

    TeamCatHazzard New Member

    Another thing that you can do that helps out quite a bit is to tie on a stinger hook if they are short striking you. Snell on your main hook and then tie a little treble hook on to your line so your main hook goes into the front of the bait and then bury one hook off your treble into the bait at the bait where 2 are still exposed. i have caught many fish this way when they are short striking or when little ones are just playing with the bait.
  12. NCCatter

    NCCatter Member

    North Carolina
    What I think would work best is take your bait (assuming you're using it whole) and cut off the tail to prevent your bait from spinning in the water. Then open the bait's mouth and stick the hook in and come out of that same side, say right behind the gills. Pull the hook through along with about 5 or 6" of line. Then starting in the fish's side, thread it through his skin and come right back out of that same side. Pull some line through and start with the same hole the hook came out of the first time. Repeat this process until you get to the end of the fish. This creates a blood/oil trail plus makes the dead bait look alive if you are drifting. If the cats hit the back end of the bait, guess what...
    I call this method sewing the bait on, find it works much better with a J hook than a circle hook. Hope the explanation wasn't too confusing.
  13. goose1

    goose1 New Member

    sounds like what we call a channel bit 9 out of 10 times is seems to a channel try cutting your shad just behind the head.
  14. Baitkiller

    Baitkiller New Member

    Akron, Ohio
    Try a treble also for it can be placed where its easier to get the barb into the cats mouth. ;) It helps me on the big Flatheads when they are in like mode.
  15. griz

    griz Well-Known Member

    Murray Ky.
    When using small shad like that I use a 7/0 or bigger khale hook and thread the shad on it. Start the hook in the shads eye and bring it out the tail, make sure to push the shad far enough up the hook that the point is exposed clear to the first bend.
  16. Itch2Scratch

    Itch2Scratch New Member

    Ivy Bend on LOZ, Missouri
    I agree with TeamCatHazard on the stinger hook but rather than a treble I would put a second but smaller Octopus hook behind the main hook. Place the smaller one through the tail section there is still plenty of hook exposed. Also you might want to slow your drift speed some.:)
  17. jtrew

    jtrew New Member

    Little Rock, AR
    While I do like a stinger hook for larger shad or skipjack, I wouldn't try to use one on a 3"-4" shad. Run the hook through the eyes...completely through, so that the shad is just threaded on the line. Now run the point and barb completely through the back of the shad between the dorsal fin and the tail. Pull the line tight so that the point & barb part of the hook is laying alongside the shad, but not dug into it. Of course, you want to make sure there isn't a scale stuck on the point, too.
  18. copycat

    copycat New Member

    New Jersey
    This does work good for short strikes.
  19. catmankev

    catmankev New Member

    Valmeyer, Illinois
    I have to agree with those who suggest a "stinger" hook.
  20. slabmaster

    slabmaster New Member

    try this get you a peice of wire " i use 1/16 ss tig wire " but even bailing wire will work. maake a needle just like a sewing needle out of the wire wire shoud be about 8 inches long.ssnell sometreble hooks.cut off the tail of your shad and starting at the tail end thread the shadwith the needle"snell loop" comeing out the mouth.the trebles will be out side the shads tail but the shank of the hook will be buried in the shad.your going to be surprised at your how your hook up ratio will improve. hope this helps. oh by the way match hook size with bait size and fish size.