How To Catch Shad Without A Cast Net – Expert Tips and Techniques

how to catch shad without a cast net

Have you ever wanted to know how to catch shad without a cast net?

If you have been looking for ways to boost your catch, then you have come to the right place.

Catching shad is usually much easier with a cast net. But if you are one of those people who would rather take a different approach, it’s absolutely possible to catch this fish species still.

Have a look at these ways on how to have an amazing catch through these tips from the experts. Let’s get fishing!

Know the Basics on How to Catch Shad

First of all, shad is a favorite catch of many anglers. Why?

For the most part, it’s a great bait that you can use all year round. It’s also quite easy to catch once you know exactly what you’re doing. And of course, you have to be at the right place and at the right time.

Shad comes in different types such as the Threadfin and Gizzard. The larger of the two is the Gizzard Shad, which grows up to 18 inches. On the other hand, Threadfin barely reaches 6 inches or so.

You can find both types of shad in river pools, natural lakes, as well as backwaters. It is not impossible to spot them in muddy or clear waters. However, they are most common in fertile waters where there are an abundance of microscopic marine creatures.

Threadfins may be smaller, yet they are more preferable as bait. With their bite-sized bodies, game fish can easily munch them unlike with the larger Gizzard Shad.

With all these things in mind, let us discuss what you need to do to get yourself some Shad as bait.

Can You Catch Shad Without a Cast Net?

If you are an avid angler trying to catch sportfish, you need to know where to find a school of shad.

After all, this is a great bait that larger fish cannot resist such as the white bass, hybrid stripers, and stripers. When you see these fish in the water, it means that there are plenty of shad not too far away.

An excellent way to boost your gamefish catch is by using shad. Unfortunately, they are not easily found at bait shops. In fact, you will have to catch them since it is tough to keep them alive. So, it only makes sense why bait shops don’t always sell shad.

A highly effective way to catch shad is by using a cast net. Hence, it is good to catch it yourself.

Ideally, you need to use a cast net as it is the most effective and efficient method. By simply tossing the net into the water or near the shore, you can expect to pull it back in with a good amount of shad in it.

But what if you prefer not to catch shad with a cast net?

Fortunately, there are different ways to successfully catch shad without a cast net. As an example, you can use sabiki rigs, or pre-tied rigs with a main line used to attach various dropper lines.

These dropper lines have a lure at the end, as well as a small hook. Once you put the rig in a school of shad, the fish will immediately strike the small lures. When this happens, you should be able to pull up a couple of shad or even more.

Steps on How to Catch Shad without a Cast Net

If you are eager to learn how to catch shad without a cast net, we’re here to help you out. These expert tips include using the right tools that work just as well as a cast net. Let’s get started!

1. Time your fishing trip.

Shad is easier to find in the summer and spring. The best times of the year are in April and May, although early June should still be fine.

Shad can be found in coastal rivers including Connecticut River in the East Coast, Sacramento and Colombia in the West, and the rivers of Florida in the south.

The stronger the current, the better. You need to make sure that you are facing the current, which gives you better access of fish swimming upstream. Shad often moves onto the shore as there is much less drag coming from the current.

It is also worth noting that shad gathers below islands and rocks. The ideal water depth for catching shad is about 4 to as much as 10 feet deep.

2. Get your tools ready.

The best thing about catching shad is that you don’t need a heavy rod.

You can stick with a reliable line and a lightweight rod. We highly recommend a fiberglass fly rod or a lightweight spinning rod.

The lighter the line, the better. This is an ideal type of line that works perfectly well when trying to catch shad no matter which region you may be in.

Barbless hooks are also essential when catching shad. These allow you to quickly release fish that you accidentally caught and not really intending to keep. A hook we recommend is either the size 1 or size 2, whether silver or gold in color.

3. Your bait matters.

When attempting to catch shad without a cast net, you should consider using the right type of lure or bait.

If you wish to catch a heavier and larger shad, then you should use either the yellow or white fly, as well as red heads.

When fishing in colder water, beads are ideal to use. They entice shad in deeper waters but make sure that you put ample weight to make sure the beads bounce right off and onto the surface.

However, you might want to use darts when the water is much cooler and deeper. These tend to sink faster and much deeper as compared to flies.

In the case of mid-level water depths, your best bet is with spoons. You can also use spoons when you fish for shad from a boat. Then, reel them in at a moderate speed.

Read More: Where Can You Fish Without A License In California? Pro Tips for Anglers

Additional Tips On How to Catch Shad Without a Cast Net

Catching shad can be tricky for first-timers. There are water conditions and weather patterns to take note of, which may seem rather technical for those who are just starting out.

But the key thing to remember is that it is best to catch shad in the early evening or at dawn during summer and spring.

With the right bait, lure, and fishing tools, you should be able to quickly master the ways on how to catch shad without a cast net. So, head out there and have a great fishing adventure!

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