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SHAD - Edible or Bait fish?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Went to one of my favorite north shore sites to try my luck at bass and blues last evening. Currently 0 for 10 on my trips, don't know whats up. Encountered quite a bit of top water action, thought it may be blues, not a chance, a local youngster I met tells me they were shad. Are they edible or bait fish? How do you catch them? Tried everything in my bag to no success. The guy I met was using a homemade very small white bucktail, but wasn't doing to well either. Told me you had to use the smallest thing you had.

post #2 of 13
Small jigs called "shad darts" are usually the ticket. But I've caught them on teaser flys while plug fishing too...

They are both food and bait, If you smoke them they are very, very, tasty...And big bass love em too...

You can "chunk" them or "live line" them, I think most guys here would live line them when ever they got the chance.
post #3 of 13
hey spinfisher!! as far as the shad goes they are excellent eating jsut a little messy to prepare. as far as bait, if you have a boat they are great live lined, and if on shore a small chunk on a circle hook maybe 7/0 just cant be beat. this time of year all i use is shad for bait as everyone else uses bunker. to catch them crash was right on with the shad darts. i prefer the red and white ones. also crappie jigs work wonderfully. just keep in mind im not sure of te regs in ny but in ct you can only keep 6 a day. but they are great fun on a light tackle setup.
post #4 of 13
Hickory Shad is pretty tasty, as is the roe.

It's just a little bony. Tastes good breaded and fried.

Killer live and chunk bait.
post #5 of 13
We used to use 3 bare hooks about 1' apart rigged on a leader with a weight at the end.This worked during the day only and during a run.This was from a deep water wharf area.
I used to love to see the face of a tourist when I answered the usuall question "What'cha usin fer bait?" "Uh,nuthin"
We would sometimes paint the hooks black or silver if they wernt available.I suspect that it resembled local baitfish and it might not work everwheres.We called it jigging but most were hooked in the mouth.
BTW, this has been 15 years ago and we all wonder where they went to.How far north do you see them now?
post #6 of 13
I have caught them pretty big on the north shore, in the western sound no less.

What works for me is a teaser rig with a shad dart as the teaser and a kastmaster or hopkins on the end, they're fun on light spinning gear.

True they are good bait, never ate one.
post #7 of 13
shad are part of the herring family along with menhaden. guys catch them on shad darts on medlight rods and light line when they run up rivers to spawn in the spring the CT river is popular for shad fishing. they are not a eating fish like herring so mostly catch and release some guys keep them and flash freeze them for chunk bait later in the season. catching them on the beach should work the same.

heres some more info on new england shad runs it work the same every where to catch them
post #8 of 13
Their chum...grind 'em, freeze 'em and soak 'em and let them call in a shark or a yellowfin.

Some folks rave about them, but then some folks eat bluefish.
post #9 of 13
oh 1 thing i forgot to add is i think most tackle shops will sell sabiki rigs and these are supposed to work well no personal experience.
post #10 of 13
Shad is one of the "founding" fish. Ever hear of "planked shad". Prepared in 18th century kitchens by lacing the fish to a board or "plank" and then leaning it over the fire.

Be careful where you catch and keep shad and which variety. American and Hickory shad are closed in MD. We do get C&R during the spring runs

From the MD DNR website:
From the late 1800s to mid-1900s, American shad were the most economically valuable food fish harvested from Chesapeake Bay. The American shad commercial fishery in the Chesapeake Bay steadily increased throughout the 1800s and by 1890, had peaked at approximately 7.1 million pounds. However, landings declined dramatically throughout the early 1900s to roughly 411,000 pounds in 1937. By 1980, American shad populations in Chesapeake Bay were so severely depleted that a complete moratorium on their capture and sale was initiated and still remains in place today.
post #11 of 13
Caught lots of big ones on my last trip.
Caught most fly fishing with a white clouser.
I've also caught them on a small white spinner,
and rubber minnows. Good fighting fish on light tackle. Most jumped several times before being landed. I toss em back after a photo.
post #12 of 13
I remember my amazement at the always quiet river by the negro farmstead in Harlow. For the very first time, that day, despite the mist and gray skies, silver bolts of light flashed and boiled in the brown water. The entire length and width of my favorite pool was teeming and shimmering with the chrome bright glimmering of shad, sea bright and sparkling!

"Shad is a FOOD fish!"

"No, shad is a BAIT fish!"

"Hey! OUR shad is two fish in one!"

We had no problem deciding what they were back then! Shad were a food fish. Dad would always make a big deal about having the roe sacks battered and fried for the first course. Then he would either bake them or fry them. The young Marine would also have his fair share of beverages in a brown bottle (beer). I got to crack 'em open so that's probably why I like being a bartender so much.

Now that I am a grandfather and have had the time to experience more of life, I can reflect on a time when shad were a bait fish! Yuppers! They sure was! We stuck a big hook in their tails and flipped their squirmin' little selves into a boiling cauldron of feeding bass and blues. Or chunked 'em up and spent the dropping tide at the inlet. Oh, yeah, bait fish. My vote is for bait fish again.

big jim (AKA JimiDaBeachBumm)
"Life's a beach!"

P.S. Planked, smoked or deep fried! Just food/bait/food for us poor folks.
post #13 of 13
The "Poor Man's Tarpon"

I love catching them in the inlets/bays around here in the Spring
When the stripers are too hard to catch, the shad will jump and fly and put up quite a fight on UL

Release! (Its the only legal thing to do here )
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