Where to find Shad?

Hi, I am new to this forum and have renewed love for LM bass fishing. I have been using plastic worms and lures mostly and have had good luck but I keep wanting to try live bait instead. I figured I would use brim or bluegill but was told these need to be over 12 inches to 'keep' so instead of trying to skirt the law with a potential to receive a ticket on the chance of running into a FWC I am thinking of buying a cast net and air box for keeping shad alive. I was taught how to fish, but only using artificial baits and never received the knowledge of where shad would or typically do hangout aside from seeing them in medium to large schools, my question for you guys and gals is, what should I be looking for when searching for Shad and can the water be 'chummed' for better shad attraction. Am I wasting my time trying to use live bait (I only fish from shore as I have no boat) or is it worth the trouble and smelly hands to use shad?

Replies

  • RiffRaffRiffRaff Posts: 42 Greenhorn
    All you need is a 5 to 7 foot cast net. No chum needed. If there are shad present you will see them on top of the water and especially just at daybreak. If they are present, usually one cast is all that is needed and you will end up throwing a lot of them back. Catching them is easy, but keeping them alive is the hard part. You have to have a round or oval tank or they will die within a half hour. Also you should plum the livewell so that it has water current circulating along the side of your livewell. If you only need to keep them alive for a couple hours, plumming the livewell is not necessary but you will need a good aerator with or without the plumming. When fishing them, set up - upstream of a point and drift them in on the smallest cork you can find. The cork should be just barley big enough to hold them up.
  • BassaholicBassaholic Posts: 21 Greenhorn
    RiffRaff wrote: »
    All you need is a 5 to 7 foot cast net. No chum needed. If there are shad present you will see them on top of the water and especially just at daybreak. If they are present, usually one cast is all that is needed and you will end up throwing a lot of them back. Catching them is easy, but keeping them alive is the hard part. You have to have a round or oval tank or they will die within a half hour. Also you should plum the livewell so that it has water current circulating along the side of your livewell. If you only need to keep them alive for a couple hours, plumming the livewell is not necessary but you will need a good aerator with or without the plumming. When fishing them, set up - upstream of a point and drift them in on the smallest cork you can find. The cork should be just barley big enough to hold them up.

    Sorry I forgot to mention I am in mid Palm beach county (Wellington, West palm beach, Loxahatatche area. I fish mostly the canals and lakes surrounding me but have yet to actually see any anywhere I've gone no matter what time of day. I guess I will have to keep searching. Thanks for the information RiffRaff. I do however have a question, what do you mean by.'plum'
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,823 Moderator
    You can use any size bream as long as it is caught with a hook and line. That being said and based on where you are you may catch lots of small tilapia,golded shiners and other exotics.
    Gold shiners (the best bait) can be chummed with bread , hog pellets or fish food.
    Use them, but bream have to be released if caught in a net.
    "You'll get your weather"
  • BassaholicBassaholic Posts: 21 Greenhorn
    Ah thank you Louie, I was told about shiners but never seem to catch em when I bait my daughter's pole with bread only see them in bait stores and I'd rather catch free bait if I can. Is there anything specific as far as keeping them alive? Are they as fragile as shad?
  • RiffRaffRiffRaff Posts: 42 Greenhorn
    I could be totally wrong but I don't think there are shad in the canals where you are at. Like Cpt louie says, you can use brim if caught on line and shiners can be caught either way. All you need is a bucket and aerator to keep them alive.

    By 'pluming' I mean that its common to help keep shad alive by rigging a very small bilge pump that is attached to the inside of your tank and has a small pvc outlet/jet just above the water line. It will add both oxygen and create a small circulating current in your livewell that keeps your shad swimming in circles rather than crashing head first into the side of the tank. Shad tend to have this nasty habit of committing suicide by repeatedly swimming head first into the walls of the tank. Caveat to the pump is that you may want to have ice nearby to help keep the water cool as the pump can heat up the water after a while. Youtube has a lot of examples of shad livewells. One last thing, if ever you do fish with shad, you will need a saltwater license to possess them as so to avoid any fines by the manatee police.
  • BassaholicBassaholic Posts: 21 Greenhorn
    Very good info guys thanks for the heads up, guess, I will try my luck with brim and shiners.. Didn't know the saltwater permit for shad, my wallet is glad you informed me.
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,823 Moderator
    Bassaholic wrote: »
    Aw thank you Louie, I was told about shiners but never seem to catch em when I bait my daughter's pole with bread only see them in bait stores and I'd rather catch free bait if I can. Is there anything specific as far as keeping them alive? Are they as fragile as shad?

    Shiners are pretty hardy but not as much as bream. The shad you are speaking of are threadfin and sometimes gizzard shad. They are the preferred forage of bass if available.
    They live in freshwater and you don't need a saltwater license to possess them. They are tough to catch and keep alive. Stick with hook caught bream and shiners.
    Good luck and post a report of that big bass when you catch it!
    "You'll get your weather"
  • RiffRaffRiffRaff Posts: 42 Greenhorn
    Maybe it depends if what you are fishing ends up sharing coincident geometry with the ocean, but I would not risk it.

    2012-2013 regs
    "fishing for and possessing largemouth bass in brackish water need a freshwater license; anglers fishing for saltwater species in fresh water (e.g., spotted sea trout, red drum, snook, or American shad) need a saltwater license to possess these species.
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,823 Moderator
    RiffRaff wrote: »
    Maybe it depends if what you are fishing ends up sharing coincident geometry with the ocean, but I would not risk it.

    2012-2013 regs
    "fishing for and possessing largemouth bass in brackish water need a freshwater license; anglers fishing for saltwater species in fresh water (e.g., spotted sea trout, red drum, snook, or American shad) need a saltwater license to possess these species.

    American shad are only in the St.Johns river during their spawning run. The other species mentioned are fine to use and can be posessed with a freshwater license.
    "You'll get your weather"
  • bmoodybmoody Posts: 972 Officer
    In general when bass anglers speak of shad they mean threadfin or gizzard shad -- Capt Louie has covered American shad above. There are threadfin and gizzard shad in the E-4 Canal system and connected lakes, and likely the C-51 Canal. Shad are less common, but possible, in other Palm Beach County canals. I suggest you review the regulations (http://www.myfwc.com/fishing/freshwater/regulations/), including the regulations pertaining to use of fish as bait and collecting bait; at least two of the statements above are inaccurate/misleading: exotics may not be used as bait (two exceptions are commonly sold as crappie minnows, but tilapia may not be used); other than lake specific regulations, there is no size limit on bluegill.
  • hossmosshossmoss Posts: 1,218 Officer
    And if you happen to get into a mess of 12 inch bluegill, have a dang fishfry. Those are some bigguns!

    CHEAP BAIT! Try our NE FL Bait Co-op: http://www.neflbaitco-op.com/

    2012 Cape Horn 31T with twin Yamaha F300s

  • BassaholicBassaholic Posts: 21 Greenhorn
    People eat bluegill? Learn something new everyday! I thought they were trash fish or bait.. Do you fillet them or just fry them whole? How do they taste? I guess I figure them trash fish because I see them thriving in very nasty looking water. How do you tell if the fish is good to eat or not? Are there any tell tale signs of disease or a steer clear non-edible lake. My daughter catches tons of them and they look meaty, even the bass I catch and release, but did eat bass out of the same canal system when my dad brought home nice sized bass when I was younger.
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,823 Moderator
    Bassaholic wrote: »
    People eat bluegill? Learn something new everyday! I thought they were trash fish or bait.. Do you fillet them or just fry them whole? How do they taste? I guess I figure them trash fish because I see them thriving in very nasty looking water. How do you tell if the fish is good to eat or not? Are there any tell tale signs of disease or a steer clear non-edible lake. My daughter catches tons of them and they look meaty, even the bass I catch and release, but did eat bass out of the same canal system when my dad brought home nice sized bass when I was younger.

    Bluegill are very tasty. May be the fish the South was founded on before anyone knew how to catch bass.
    A freshwater fish staple for a LOT of folks due to abundance and distribution along with a willingness to bite.
    Bluegill and the other sunfishes (including the basses) are true American fish . :USA
    "You'll get your weather"
  • Fly HookerFly Hooker Posts: 4,199 Captain
    We are not seeing any shad on the St. Johns chain right now. They seem to be gone!
  • capt louiecapt louie citrus countyPosts: 9,823 Moderator
    Fly Hooker wrote: »
    We are not seeing any shad on the St. Johns chain right now. They seem to be gone!


    Best as I could tell (from reports) the run wasn't very good this year.
    "You'll get your weather"
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