Every spring, the shad population is abundant in the coastal rivers in the U.S., providing plenty of opportunities to take home a fresh catch. This is the point where they spawn in freshwater, although, they typically live in the ocean the rest of the year. It may not be as popular as other game fish, like trout and bass, but it is an equally great fishing target.
One of the most challenging parts of shad fishing is finding its exact location. The baits and the lures, fishing rod and reel, and fishing lines are other important items that should be included in your fishing trip checklist. Plus, knowledge of the proper techniques will help increase the chances of success.
If you want to know the fundamentals of how to catch a shad, keep on reading and we’ll let you know how to do it. Even as a novice angler, you won’t have a hard time reeling in a catch.
To increase the likelihood that your fishing cooler will not end up empty, it is important to go to the right places. During the lifespan of shad, they spend their time in the ocean and river. If you want to fish for shad, your target location should be coastal rivers.
Speaking of locating shad, it is also important to note that they vary in location at different times of the year. As noted above, spring is the best time for shad fishing. You can find them at the back of creeks and coves, most of which will easily show up when the sun is out.
In the summer, it becomes more difficult to catch shad. It is best to catch the fish before daylight this time of the year, which you can find in the edges of coves and creeks. It is also a good practice to hang lights on the boat’s side.
During fall and winter, fishing shad becomes more challenging as they move back to deeper water, but this does not mean that it will end up being a futile exercise. They spend most of the time in the ocean.
When looking for shad, another important thing to remember is to fish where there is a strong current. Fish in a position facing the upstream current, which will allow you to catch shad as it swims. They are also frequently beneath islands and rocks where the water transitions from fast to slow motion.
The depth of the water is another important consideration as you learn how to catch shad. It should be anywhere from four to ten feet. Also, for the distance, it is best to be at least 30 feet from the bank.
To make things easier, invest in the best portable fish finders to easily locate shad or other fish you intend to catch.
Invest in the Right Gear
Now that you know where specifically you need to go, the next important consideration is the gear to use. For the fishing rod, go for something lightweight. Shad isn’t a big fish, so you won’t need heavy rods. Lightweight spinning rods are great. It is also advisable that you use the lightest type of fishing line that is available.
You can also use fly fishing rods that keep the weight at a minimum. This is best to be combined with a 6-pound fishing line. It is effective in allowing you to cast at a significant distance, especially when you complement it with a lightweight lure.
Choose a hook that goes along with the set-up. Expert anglers recommend using barbless hooks. Read this fishing hook size guide to help you make the right decision.
Find the Best Lures and Baits
As you learn how to catch shad, another thing that you need to know is the selection of the right lures and baits. It is tempting to choose just anything available, but this should not be the case.
To be safe, start by using live baits, including minnows and worms. Nonetheless, if you are looking for a more economical alternative without compromising effectiveness, you will also do good when you use artificial lures. The setup can be as simple as a hook with up to three beads.
A shad dart, which is a small jig, is also a popular option for an artificial lure. It has a lightweight head and feather tails. They are especially effective if you are fishing in water that is cooler and deeper.
If you are fishing in water with medium depth, spoons are effective. From the shore, spinners are great.
Catching a Shad with a Net
Aside from the traditional use of rods and reels for shad fishing, you can also use cast nets. One of the most important is to consider the size of the mesh. If the mesh has large holes, this means that smaller shads will be able to easily pass through. The typical net that you can use when fishing for shad has a circumference of 7 feet, a weight of .5 pounds, and .5-inch mesh.
Aside from having the right net, it is also crucial that you learn how to cast it the right way, similar to how you should know how to cast a spinning rod. Start by holding the net the right way. Make sure that you are holding the hand loop properly. The other hand must grip the horn of the net. You don’t have to throw it with too much force but with the right technique. Do not force open the net as it will open by itself once you throw it.
Keeping the Shad Alive
Aside from learning how to catch shad, it is also crucial to pay attention to how to keep it alive. Whether you plan to eat the fish or use it as bait, you need to make sure that it survives.
Especially if you are using the shad as bait for your next fishing trip, you need to have a bait tank. The tank should hold at least 25 gallons of water, although, this will depend on how many shads you plan to catch. Aeration, circulation, filtration, and temperature are other important things that you need to take into account to help in keeping the shad alive during your fishing trip.
Tips and Tricks for Shad Fishing
Patience is a virtue, even when catching shad. You need to cast in the same location more than once. After catching a single shad, do not move. Chances are, you will be able to catch more.
Speaking of staying in the same position, you also need to look for the line. Rather than traveling as a big herd, they are often in a single line. If you miss finding the line, you will most likely go home without a catch.
You should also learn the patterns of shad. They are in warmer parts of the river during the evenings. In the mornings, on the other hand, they are around the areas with light.
Globo Surf Overview
As discussed above, shad fishing is not as complicated as what you might have initially thought. Start by picking the right location and bringing proper gears. Be sure to time the fishing trip perfectly to catch shad. Whether you are using a traditional rod and reel or a cast net, knowing the right techniques will make it likelier that you will go home with a fresh catch.