Can I catch live shad myself? How?

I’m sick of buying live shad to use as bait for catfish. Is there an easy way to catch them myself?

Sure, you can. The only way you’re going to catch enough shad to use for bait is to use a cast net. You have to know when and where the shad are in the water, and you also have to know how to throw a cast net to catch them. In most parts of the country, the best time to catch shad is during the spring and summer. When the weather is warmer, they’ll be hanging around the shallower waters. When it gets cold, they go down deeper and are harder to catch. You can get cast nets with all different sizes, mesh sizes and weights. These factors are partly a matter of personal preference, and party a matter of where you are fishing. You might ask at the shop when you’re buying your cast net for the clerk’s recommendation. What you’ll do is throw your net over an area of water, and pull on the lead line. This will in turn pull the outer lines of the net, and it will close up with all the shad you need inside. Finding shad is not hard to do most places. Shad like to hang out in the mouths of creeks, little back pockets, areas below dams, and shallows around major river tributaries. You can usually see shad in the water. They are recognizable by their “flipping.” When you see this, you’ll know that you’ve got a school of shad, and that’s a good place to throw your net. Once you’ve caught the shad, you have to keep them alive. For this, it’s best to use a circular bait tank. If the shad aren’t alive and frisky, catfish won’t go for them.

Dan Eggertsen is a fellow catfish fishing enthusiast to the point of obsession. :) He's been providing solid advice on catfish fishing since 2004.

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