Shad is a popular and effective bait for catching blue catfish and there are several different ways you can use shad for bait. Thread fin shad or "thread fins" are generally smaller and mature fish rarely get more than five to six inches long so they are very commonly used whole, threaded on a hook.
Gizzard shad however get much larger and while some anglers choose to use them whole many prefer to use them fished in sections or chunks called "cut bait". If you're going to fish with cut bait you need to know how to cut shad for bait to assure you are getting the most impact from using it to catch cats.
First and foremost you need to remember to use fresh bait, preferably caught within 24 hours of the time you are fishing. This is proven to be most successful as frozen or older fish are generally less effective.
How To Cut Shad For Bait
There are a couple of different ways of cutting these fish up.
One popular technique to cut shad for bait is to take them and cut them in large chunks. Cutting at an angler you can go just behind the head and make a diagonal slice across the fish from the top to the bottom. Once this initial piece is removed you then go further back down the body, a few inches from the tail and make another slice from top to bottom. Some fishermen use the tails for bait but many choose to discard them.
Another popular method is to take the fish and fillet it like you would any other fish, removing the meat portions on boat sides of the shad and discarding the rest. The fillets are them threaded onto a hook for fishing.
There is no "right" way to do this but cutting into sections is certainly the most popular and what most cat fishermen will tell you is productive. Experiment with both methods and see what works best for you. Just make sure you hold onto your fishing rod because baiting a hook with this stuff has been known to produce some monster cats!
Learn more about how to cut shad and get more great cat fishing tips through the learn to catch catfish website.
Chad Ferguson is a professional catfish guide who operates guided cat fishing trips on Lake Lewisville, Lake Worth and Eagle Mountain Lake in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. In addition to being a successful catfish guide Chad also manufactures a popular catfish bait called Redneck's Catfish Bait Soap, catfish jug lines called Redneck's Jug lines for Jug Fishing as well as other fishing products.
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