Knowing how to keep shad alive is an important thing to learn when you’re an avid angler.
Everyone knows that shad is an excellent bait fish. You can use it to catch a number of game fish, which is why it is worth having shad in your tackle box.
Unfortunately, they don’t seem to last too long. Their lifespan is simply not that great, and it is one reason why you don’t easily find shad in bait shops.
But don’t you worry – we can help you keep that shad alive longer up until it is ready to use! Here are tips and tricks to help you catch this fish successfully… And fast!
Catching Shad – Getting Started
Before we discuss how to keep shad alive, let’s first try to learn more about its patterns.
The art of catching shad is not any different from trying to catch any other type of fish. They still follow the same patterns that other fish have.
But then again, it is a matter of knowing how to locate shad.
When and Where to Find Shad
Generally, shad is available at any time of the year. However, they are more abundant in number in the early spring. Catching them is also easier when the days are nice and warm.
As for their preferred location, it is usually in warm creeks or the backs of the cove.
If you want to have a great catch, then by all means do it during the most ideal time of the day, which is at daylight and in stained water. These are optimal times and locations to catch gizzards and threadfins.
When it comes to threadfin, catching them during the spawning season proves to offer promising results. They tend to spawn on literally several things including boats, docks, and rocks with moss growing right on it.
In the summer, however, things get a little tougher in terms of catching shad. But if you can time it right before daylight and pick a spot right in the mouth of coves or creeks, then you are in luck.
The worst times to catch shad is in the fall and winter. As we’ve mentioned earlier, shad prefers the warm waters. So, when the cooler months kick in, they end up burrowing deeper into the water.
Furthermore, shad does not live well during the cold. It may be fine for gizzards but it’s not the same case with threadfin. They are unlikely to last long, which can be a problem since threadfins are better to use as bait compared with gizzards.
Expert Tips on How to Keep Shad Alive
Now that you know where and when to catch shad, the next step is knowing how to keep them alive.
These fish don’t live too long but you can extend their lifespan, as long as you know exactly what you are doing.
Here are some things you can do to keep shad alive.
1. Get a good-quality bait tank.
This is very important since it is where you will place the shad you have caught.
For this purpose, we recommend a minimum of 25 gallons, which should cost you around $400 to $600 for a really good one.
In addition to a tank, you need a reliable pump, which you will use for filling and draining. It would help if your tank comes with a drain, so it will be more efficient to get the water out.
Also, invest in a wash tub, preferably plastic that’s durable for long-term use. You will need a tub to curl and count your bait when you move them into the tank.
Furthermore, it is not advisable to put the gizzards straight into the tank. You need to place them into the tub initially where you can wash off the excess slime. This is why a wash tub can come in handy for this purpose.
2. Fill the tank with water.
Once you have your tank ready, you need to fill it up with water.
Be sure to fill it up at least half-way to the top. The water should remain clean, and it needs some stock salt, as well. About a handful of salt is ideal per 10 gallons.
In case the water temperature rises to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, you will need to add some ice to maintain a desirable temperature. But then again, do not add to much ice. The last thing you want is to shock the bait with very cool water!
Thus, you should keep it at an optimal temperature of under 75 degrees, and it should be all good.
The key here is to achieve the right water temperature while making sure it is free from chlorine. This is why we advise that you use a special treatment to clear the tank off of any chemicals that will harm the shad.
3. Never put too many shad in the tank at once.
Now, another concern that many people have is on the number of shad to place in the tank.
How many is too many?
Ideally, we do not recommend to go overboard with it. There are also many factors to consider but 300 baits that are about 3 to 4 inches long are too much for a 50-gallon tank.
This is why you should put just a decent amount without overcrowding them inside,
Final Words on How To Keep Shad Alive
Keeping shad alive can be a difficult ordeal for those who are just getting their feet wet in catching this type of bait fish.
However, with these tips, you can keep shad alive up to the time you need it.
So, get your tank ready, have all the tools you need, and you can be sure to extend the lifespan of your shad and use them as you will. Happy fishing!