Shad are baitfish that swim throughout lakes rivers, and reservoirs in North America. The term ‘Shad’ actually includes a ton of different subspecies, but in bass fishing, shad usually refers to gizzard or threadfin shad.
Shad are snack-sized and full of nutrients making them a favorite meal for hungry bass.
Shad Spawning Habits
Shad spawn each spring/summer when the water temperatures reach above 70 degrees. Instead of creating spawning nests or ‘beds’ like bass and bluegill, Shad spawn by swimming around and dumping their eggs in shallow water. The thing is, Shad need their eggs to stick to something hard to improve chances or survival – docks, rocks, trees, and hard bottom shorelines are areas where a shad might spawn.
Bass Fishing The Shad Spawn
Feeding bass cruise the waters adjacent to where the shad will be spawning looking for an easy meal. Once the spawning chaos begins, bass will attack with epic shoreline strikes.
You can take advantage of this incredible bite window by getting up early, scouting spawning grounds, and fishing lures that represent shad.
Here are four KILLER baits for fishing the shad spawn.
1) Swim Jig
Use swimjigs when fishing shallow water areas with grass. The slender head and weedless profile allow swimjigs slide in and out of cover with ease. This means you can target those hard to reach areas where you know the bass are feeding. Add bulk and action to your swimbait by threading a swimbait to the back of your swimjig.
2) Squarebill Crankbait
The square bill crankbait is one of most effective baits for targeting the shad spawn. A squarebill crankbait looks like a shad scurrying around in the shallows. Use squarebill crankbaits to cover water and target active fish during the shad spawn. Cast parallel to the bank along rocky or wooded shorelines.
3) Lipless Crankbait
The size and shape of lipless crankbaits match closely to the shad that bass are feeding on at this time. Try using lipless crankbaits in moderate depths with grass. Bass will hide in the shallow grass looking for an easy meal, coax these active bass into biting by ripping your lipless crankbait through the shallow grass.
4) Medium Diving Crankbait
If you’re a little late to the party, and the shad activity along the shallow shoreline has ended, one of the best baits to pick up is a medium-diving crankbait.
Shad push out to deeper water after the early morning and often sit in 8-12 feet of water just off the shoreline. Use the medium diving crankbaits along the banks where you have seen shad spawning, these are the areas the shad will be resting and also the places bass will be feeding!
That’s it! Hopefully, this little breakdown on fishing the shad spawn will help you lean into a few more fish this season. Tight lines!
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